St. Alban's Episcopal Church, in Davidson, N.C., has installed a most unusual statue of Jesus. There Jesus is, in the middle of a well-to-do neighborhood, sleeping on a park bench; his face is covered but his wounded feet stick out from beneath the blanket.
It's Homeless Jesus.
NPR reports that neighbors immediately reacted with surprise and, for many, displeasure:
"One woman from the neighborhood actually called police the first time she drove by," says David Boraks, editor of DavidsonNews.net. "She thought it was an actual homeless person."
That's right. Somebody called the cops on Jesus.
The mere sight of a vagrant warranted a call to police? I hope it was because the neighbor feared for Jesus' safety on an unusually cold night. (The statue was installed in late winter.)
More concerning, though, is that the statue has sparked "controversy." Why? Because it belittles Jesus—a dubious proposition—or because it's uncomfortable for well-off Christians to think about Jesus' call to the Church? Or maybe it is just a media tendancy to frame news as controversy.
Regardless, more of the Jesus the Homeless statues are to follow. NPR reports that Catholic Charities of Chicago and the Archdiocese of Washington, D.C. plan to install versions of the statue, which was created by Canadian scultop Timothy Schmalz.