It is common in the South and other parts, I’m told, for churches to welcome the homeless not as brothers or sisters but as “honored guests.” Parishioners pick up the needy from the down-and-out parts of town and transport them to their church facilities. Home-cooked meals await them as well as a night on a cot or mattress in fellowship halls.

Volunteers clean up afterward and prepare for the next evening.

To offer a stretch of land for homeless people when you have room for honored guests seems like Christianity light, indeed. The church is certainly offering the least to the “least of these.” This would not seem to be what Jesus had in mind.

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Oh, and the tents and inhabitants are nonobtrusive. I should know, I live right across the street.

Laura Thompson

Corvallis (Aug. 13)

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