Explore to Inspire is a new website designed to raise and discuss topical subjects and relate modern-day issues to Christianity while giving spiritual guidance. It is written by Rev. Graham Smallman in liaison with Carol Hatton, both from the Urmston area of Manchester.
Hello ….. lovely to be writing on here and working with Graham to widen my knowlege, and hopefully that of other people, as to how Christianity works in the modern world.
While I’ve been a regular church-attender since 2016, I have still found myself searching for answers to questions which the traditional church doesn’t seem to touch on during their weekly sermons.
In the 2,000 years since Jesus came to earth, massive changes have taken place in every century but my concern is that churches haven’t always moved with the times to address those everyday issues which affect ordinary people directly – leaving something of a gap in knowledge of how Jesus would view life today. It is so hard to know how to be a Christian these days with so much mass and social media pulling us in so many directions, not to mention “fake news” and deliberately contrived lies.
I hope that the questions I put to Graham will give me, and other people, some spiritual guidance on how as Christians we should look at events and stories affecting our world now and show us spiritual leadership.
Let’s hope we can journey together to bridge the gap in our knowledge as well as signposting those people in need to where they may get help when necessary.
WHAT THE MEDIA SAYS – CAROL’S QUESTION
We hear a lot of criticisms in the media about homeless people. People say they should get a job; they only want money for alcohol, cigarettes and drugs; they take advantage of the public’s kindness; they’ve often got the latest mobile phones, trainers, tattoos, etc; not many of them are genuinely homeless; they frequently share a dog between them to gain public sympathy; they regularly refuse food and drink from members of the public as they only want money to buy drugs, etc; they often steal to get what they want.
Additionally, multi-agencies and religious organisations involved with homeless people say not to give money directly to beggars as it results in a culture of dependency but to donate to the organisations themselves to try to assist such people and give them help with health problems, job training, housing, substance reduction assistance, etc.
What would a Christian’s approach be to popular beliefs like this?
Rev. Graham replies:
Thanks Carol for raising this important issue of homelessness. I worked for 13 years in a supported housing scheme with Adullam HA in Bury, Greater Manchester. During that time I realised that there were always reasons behind why people had become homeless that ranged from drug and alcohol abuse, broken relationships, being in prison and coming out of the forces and in some cases people choose to live on the streets because it might seem to be safer!
We may be shocked to hear the words of Jesus in Mark 14: 7 saying to his disciples that I am with you for a short time but you will always have the ‘poor’ but you can help them in my absence. In Matthew 25: 36 Jesus confused many by saying that those who were without food, clothes and homes had been helped. People were puzzled by Jesus’ words but he meant that ‘in his name and in his absence’ we can meet the needs of the ‘poor’ and ‘homeless.’
The church has a great history of supporting all people in distress alongside other agencies such as charities, supermarkets and food banks. Together people sleeping rough can be homed and those in need of extra food can be provided for.
If you have a passion to help the ‘poor and homeless’ in the name of Jesus then below are some signpost agencies that might be a guide for you.
For further related reading check out my blog on Homelessness @ Inspire2Achieve
Shelter – Helpline: 0808 800 4444
Adullam HA 0121 271 0789
The Message, Manchester 0161 946 2300
DePaul UK – 0161 507 3414
The Salvation Army – 0161 236 7537
Emmaus UK – 0300 303 7555
Mayor’s Bed for a Night (Trafford) – 0161 912 2230 or 0800 218 2000 (out of hours)
The Big Issue Foundation – General Enquiries – 020 7526 3200
The Boaz Trust (Asylum Seeker support) 0161 202 1056
Barnabus, Manchester – 0161 237 3223
For further reading check out my site insights from the bible