A ‘homeless Jesus’ offends the faithful

John Burnett/NPR

The prosperity theology theorizes that God blesses those he favors most with material wealth. It’s the heart (and soul) of many a televangelist.

“The gospel of prosperity turns Christianity into a vapid bless-me club, with a doctrine that amounts to little more than spiritual magical thinking: If you pray the right way, God will make you rich,” the Washington Post’s Cathleen Falsani wrote in declaring it one of the worst ideas of the decade.

Not everyone openly subscribes to the prosperity theology, but it’s more common than many mainstream Christians want to admit. How else do we explain NPR’s story today about the statue of a homeless Jesus on a park bench in North Carolina and the lack of more traditional, sympathetic Christian values reacting to it?

  1. Listen ‘Homeless Jesus’ statue offends

    April 13, 2014

“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.

“Another neighbor, who lives a couple of doors down from the church, wrote us a letter to the editor saying it creeps him out,” Boraks added.

Some neighbors felt it was an insulting depiction of the Son of God, and what appears to be a hobo curled up on a bench demeans the neighborhood.

It was purchased as a memorial to a parishioner.

“It gives authenticity to our church,” Rev. David Buck says. “This is a relatively affluent church, to be honest, and we need to be reminded ourselves that our faith expresses itself in active concern for the marginalized of society.”

Easy to say. Harder to do, Monday through Saturday.

Typically of the Internet and our current culture, the comments section is attempting to define Jesus by the political party he likely favored.

Related: Prosperity theology is 'false' and a 'parody of the grace of God', says Lausanne (Christian Today).

Sculptor's 'Jesus the Homeless' Challenges Christians to Follow Gospel of Matthew (Christian Post).