Some of you have asked about the story of the homeless man at the TSO Christmas show. Let me clarify--it turns out he wasn't homeless but part of the show. His name is Bart Shatto and he takes his role seriously. By starting before the show opens, he adds to his performance and makes it convincing.
HOMELESSNESS: HIS CHANGE AND MINE
As I watched him transition the role, I noticed that my reaction transitioned too. I've thought about this quite a bit.
When he seemed to be a real homeless man, I observed his actions and watched him carefully. First I thought, what is he doing here? Catching myself I consciously decided to be glad for him and came up with possible scenarios to make sense of the apparent disconnect (how could a homeless man be at the TSO show?).
Then as I chose to be happy for him I became concerned for him--but still from a distance. I wanted to help but did not really want to be inconvenienced. I really wanted someone else to take action on his behalf. My guilt would be assuaged. (By the way, assuage is one of my favorite words.)
I felt bad after he disappeared--partly because I hadn't acted. I did what I do when I can't "fix" things: I prayed for him.
When he appeared on stage I felt silly for having made such a fuss about it (in my head and in conversation with Tamara). I was also glad he was OK and not kicked out.
Then I noticed another reaction. I felt differently toward him. I relaxed and listened to him. His song was convicting and moving. His message: The homeless are hungry and in need every day. Why can't it be Christmas every day?
AM I A HYPOCRITE?
Still I was left with my reactions and the apparent hypocrisy. Why did I feel differently toward him as an actor? I thought about this as the show continued. After all people are born as cute and lovable babies. Things may go wrong along the way but underneath the appearance, they are still the same--valuable human beings.
WHAT ABOUT YOU?
So, how would you have reacted? What are your thoughts about the situation? About my reaction? What would you have done? What's Jesus' view of the situation?