DAVIDSON, N.C. (RNS) In a small college town 20 miles north of Charlotte, N.C., “Homeless Jesus” is provoking more conversation than a month of Sunday sermons.

Canadian sculptor Timothy Schmalz notes the ironies in his latest creation, "Jesus the Homeless," a bronze sculpture depicting the Christian savior huddled beneath a blanket on an actual-size park bench. Only the feet are visible, and their gaping nail wounds reveal the subject.  Photo courtesy Timothy Schmalz

Canadian sculptor Timothy Schmalz notes the ironies in his creation “Homeless Jesus,” a bronze sculpture depicting the Christian savior huddled beneath a blanket on a park bench. The gaping nail wounds on the feet protruding from the blanket reveal the figure’s identity. Photo courtesy of Timothy Schmalz


This image is available for Web and print publication. For questions, contact Sally Morrow.

The life-size sculpture depicting a figure asleep under a blanket on a park bench lies outside St. Alban’s Episcopal Church. The nail-scarred feet peeking out from under the blanket are the only indication that Canadian sculptor Timothy Schmalz is making a religious statement about Jesus.

The hollow, bronze piece bolted to the park bench is a $22,000 gift from a church member intended to support public art.

That’s a small price to pay to get people thinking about what it means to be a Christian — and what it means for “Homeless Jesus” to take up residence in a community of 270 townhomes and single-family homes, said the Rev. David Buck, the rector of St. Alban’s.

“You love it, you hate it, it makes you think,” said Buck, who has been happily overwhelmed by the thousands of responses he’s personally received or read online. “It’s gone viral!”

St. Alban’s neighbor John Chesser, who walked past “Homeless Jesus” on the way to pick up his mail one sunny Sunday morning, had another response: “It’s a little creepy.”

It makes sense that “Homeless Jesus,” a copy of Schmalz’s original work, found a home outside St. Alban’s. Buck says the congregation of 800 members fills a “liberal, high-church niche,” is gay-friendly and embraces the arts and sciences. The church draws a number of faculty, staff and students from Davidson College a mile or so down the road.

Buck, 64, led a Southern Baptist church outside Charlotte until the Southern Baptist Convention grew too conservative for his liking. He switched denominations and says he never dreamed he’d have the chance to serve a church like St. Alban’s.

The saga of “Homeless Jesus” has stirred Buck’s juices more than he could ever have hoped.

With the church in the middle of an upscale community, the congregation agreed that it’s the perfect place to display a piece of public art.

Peter Larisey seated alongside the Jesus sculpture. Canadian sculptor Timothy Schmalz notes the ironies in his latest creation, "Jesus the Homeless," a bronze sculpture depicting the Christian savior huddled beneath a blanket on an actual-size park bench. Only the feet are visible, and their gaping nail wounds reveal the subject. Photo courtesy Timothy Schmalz

Peter Larisey sits alongside the Jesus sculpture. Photo courtesy of Timothy Schmalz


This image is available for Web and print publication. For questions, contact Sally Morrow.

“Homeless Jesus” was bolted down in February, beside a bronze plaque with the familiar words from Matthew 25:40 — “Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me.”

The news stories started coming almost immediately: The Charlotte (N.C.) Observer, The Christian Post, The Huffington Post.

Public reaction quickly followed on both sides.

Buck said someone attached a note to the sculpture saying this isn’t the way to remember Jesus. A reader posted a somewhat sarcastic response to The Christian Post story: “The Episcopal Church, huh? Shocking.”

Chesser, the neighbor walking to get his mail, calls the piece “dark” and “macabre” — so dark and macabre, it never occurred to him to think about whether it belongs in a community like his. Neighbor Jerry Dawson wrote a letter to the editor at the online davidsonnews.net saying it doesn’t belong.

“My complaint is not about the art-worthiness or the meaning behind the sculpture. It is about people driving into our beautiful, reasonably upscale neighborhood and seeing an ugly homeless person sleeping on a park bench.”

Bob Cameron, president of the St. Alban’s Square Neighborhood Association, said he invited Dawson to air his concerns at a board meeting. Meanwhile, the association has not taken a position on “Homeless Jesus,” and neither has he.

Supporters have spoken up as well, in and out of St. Alban’s.

“It makes us all more aware of homelessness, that there are others who are not as fortunate as we are,” said church member Alice Mietz, who lives about 20 yards from the piece.

As Buck was seated on a bench outside the church, making the case for the sculpture, Mike Schaefer of Roanoke, Va., stopped his car in front of “Homeless Jesus” and jumped out to snap a picture before heading home.

“As Christians, we need to be more aware of the homeless among us,” he said.

“Attaboy!” Buck exclaimed in response. “Quote him!”

Such is the brouhaha that the Rev. John Kuykendall, who lives a mile or so from church, drove over one day to see what all the fuss is about.

The retired president of Davidson College and a Presbyterian preacher, Kuykendall believes St. Alban’s is prophetic for welcoming Jesus in the guise of a homeless man asleep on a park bench. There are more references in the gospels to Jesus’ relationship with the poor than anything else, Kuykendall says. “Where it says the Son of Man has nowhere to lay his head, that means he’s homeless.”

Before heading home for Sunday lunch, Buck had one more point to make: There’s a good reason why the artist left room for one person on the bench next to “Homeless Jesus.” Perhaps people will take a seat beside Jesus and pray.

YS/MG END GARFIELD

65 Comments

  1. $22,000 spent to bully others into being more ‘aware’ of homelessness?
    Nonsense. How about just helping the homeless?

    Or better yet, write directly to your Holy Roller Christian congressman on his recent vote against millions of dollars in food stamps.

    • Curious as to why Atheist Max, with his obvious disdain for religion, would come to “Religion News” to comment, other than to stir a pot from which he won’t be eating. That’s trolling. I’m sure the 10 or so minutes it took him to comment might have been used actively helping others less fortunate than he.

      • @IndyBeckiH,
        I would love to leave you religious people alone.

        But every day religious people claim it is their right to STICK JESUS on my public green, sidewalk, public policy and airwaves. Enough!

        From Arizona to Tennessee nonsense of Creationism is taking over Science classes. Women’s rights and Gay rights are being shut down and religion is ALL OVER MY PUBLIC POLICY!

        Everytime you see Sarah Palin or Michele Bachmann supporting religious legislation – 100,000 Atheists are created – and some of us are outraged at the flouting of American law.

        Religion is deplorable like a cancer. To me, RNS is tracking this terrible illness as it spreads and changes.
        And, I have a right to that opinion.
        You got it now?

        • LeeAnna Fitzgerel

          You got it backwards. This has always been a Christian nation, now with atheism creeping all over MY CHRISTIAN POLICIES. My ancestries fought for religious freedom, not for freedom FROM religion, but freedom OF religion, that your satanic ilk are trying to destroy! No one is going on your atheistic sites to bash you. Go home! You aren’t welcome here.

          • That is the most ridiculous thing people repeat constantly on an ignorant fashion.

            What do you mean by “Christian Nation”? You are saying is that the nation only respects Christianity under our laws and culture. That is a load of crap. Christians are no more entitled to the power and protection of our nation than any other religious group.

            Freedom of religion to you only means that Christianity is recognized at the expense of other faiths. In other words, not freedom of religion at all. The founders knew all about your kind and what kind of mess would be made if given unbridled control of the government.

          • “No one is going on your atheistic sites to bash you. Go home! You aren’t welcome here.”

            What makes you think this site is only for religious believers? As far as I know, there are no rules prohibiting atheists, agnostics, secular humanists, etc, from commenting on this site. I think there are many unbelievers who read this site and some comment. Who made you the gate-keeper here who gets decide who is welcome or not, and who is allowed to read or coment?

            By the way, you are completely wrong if you think that the concept of the right to religious freedom does not include the right to be free from religion. You yourself enjoy the right to be free from religions you do not believe in, why would you deny that same right to others?

            If you can’t handle the heat, stay out of the kitchen. This site delivers some meaty stuff.

          • LeeAnna –
            You need an education, my dear. Atheism is just the lack of belief.
            As A-Max pointed out in another post, the United States has a godless constitution. It only mentions ‘creator’ and then drops it entirely.
            In a very real way, you are enjoying the fruits of your freedom because of an Atheistic Constitutution. So how about being at least thankful for that?

          • LeeAnna – “You aren’t welcome here”? Not a very Christ-like response. That is why I am leery of so many Christians. Christ would shake his head at the hatred I’ve witnessed “in the name of God”.

            Freedom of religion also means freedom to not be religious. I do not understand how you can call someone satanic because they disagree with you. Wasn’t the point of the sculpture to reinforce, “Whatsoever you do to the least of my brothers, that you do unto me”?

            I don’t have a problem with this statue if it is on church property, but I agree that money could have been better spent.

            I was raised Catholic but I prefer to call myself spiritual rather than Christian because I find so many Christians cast stones at those of other faiths. If there is a God, I imagine he/she/it would wish to reach as many people as possible in the spirit of peace, and perhaps that is why there are so many religions. If organized religion is all about love and peace, why are there so many arguments about it? I find the most “religious” people are often the least open-minded.

            As for religious art, I wonder how many people who defend this sculpture (because of religion) have taken a look at religious art through the ages. I visited the Louvre a few years back and was really shocked at 1) the incredible violence depicted in “religious” paintings and 2) the sheer number of bare nipples displayed in said paintings. Wow. I wonder how many Bible-thumpers would like to see THOSE paintings in Church. Fantastic art, but lots of graphic shots. Think of that next time someone defends art with religion.

          • Sheilah Blanco

            Actually some do. Some will attempt to convert Lucifer. But I agree with you. I don’t think those who wish to serve GOD need to be on the Antichrist sites any more than the Antichrists need to be on the sites of believers….but let your light shine LeeAnn, and forgive them, pray for them and perhaps they won’t fight redemption some day.

        • You mean like Nancy Pelosi? https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=71NT42QtD64 Or Jimmy “I’m a born again Christian,” Who tried to convert an Egyptian diplomat while he was here to represent Egypt.

          Maybe you mean Bill Clinton who said in one of his radio programs while prez that we needed to accept Jesus as our personal saviour or go to hell or maybe his wife who said she would use the office of the presidency to bring people to Christ.

          And finally, BO https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M6reueoBzfw around 6:30 alluding to, but not openly saying that he would use his position needs to help the poor because of his faith inJesus.

          I’ll bet none of this offends you, because of their political opinions and that you voted for them.

          What is amazing about their position was that everywhere Jesus talked about the poor and in Genesis it was always personal never collective. In otherwords have the government steal from your neighbor to give to you or someone else.

          I am my brother’s keeper, not someone else. Now if the rich person was guilty of stealing than by all means take him to court and try them. If the court was found to be corrupt then remove the corrupt.

        • Nope – Those of us who support the separation of church and state dodged a bullet thanks to our VERY LOUD PROTESTS and to a wise Governor.

          Religion is on the march to shove itself in everyone’s face – even more than usual.

          • It (Christianity) is not ‘on the march to shove anything into everyone’s face’.
            It is trying to protect the rights of what is real and that of that which it (Constitution) was is intended. The fact that you can express your opinion may not be such an option in another country… even yours (opinion). You are free to choose what you believe, of course. But, please, do not force your own opinion into our face. Things were just fine here in the good ole’ USA until people started complaining. Well, look back into history and just see what happened when people complained. –Some somber stuff…don’t take my word for it. Search for Truth.

          • Sheilah Blanco

            No. The religious are merely holding their ground. You’re just being overwhelmed by it because those who love GOD outnumber you overwhelmingly.

        • @Bridget,
          “Christianity is not ‘on the march to shove anything in anyone’s face..”

          Not true. Christians ARE on the march to shove their positions on the rest of us.

          To seize the levers of government to push their ideas on “all Americans, even non-believers” (Truth Ministries) and to promote church doctrine across American law.

          “America stands at a defining moment,” said Lou Sheldon in 2003, founder of the Traditional Values Coalition. “The only comparison is our battle for American Independence”

          Right-wing Evangelical ministries like Truth In Action Ministries, bring millions of dollars a year to causes like these:

          Mandatory Trans-vaginal probes – Virginia Legislature
          Obstruction of prescriptions – Illinois, Washington
          Discrimination as religious choice -Arizona (SB-1062)
          Anti-Gay laws – Texas
          Anti-women’s rights laws – Texas, Louisina
          Creationism to replace all Science Education in all public schools: Tennessee, Virginia, Louisiana, Texas, Oklahoma, Alabama, Georgia, South Carolina, North Carolina

          Preserving our Atheistic Constitution is increasingly difficult simply because Religious people do not understand the separation of Church and State. They don’t understand how and why that separation preserves their own religious freedom.

          • There is no separation of church and state. Although most of our founders were deists and freemasons and like Thomas Paine, the one who penned the revolution, loathed Christianity and wanted to destroy it.

            All but one of the 13 original colonies had their own state religion and would never sign a contract ending ti. The only reason why it was signed was their fear that the newly conceived government would have its own religion and would supercede theirs.

            So the 1st amendment was to curtail the federal goverment from usurping what the states believed was their rights. Obviously you’ve never read the Federalist papers.

            Mandatory Transvaginal Probes were opposed vehemently by us believers.

            Creationism should be taught as a model. The only reason you oppose this is that evolution would be laughed out of the classroom. So show me the law that says creationism to supercede evolution. All my life, I’m 57, I was taught in school, family and church evolution. So why don’t I believe? Most churches teach evolution. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I37wUKtX810

            Evolution comes directly from mythology. I know of no creationists who believes in bigfoot, lochness, lizard people, or a myriad of other goofy mythologies. But I know a bunch of evolutionists who do both personally and on radio and TV. Just watch the Animal Planet and Coast to Coast with George Noory. I laugh myself silly with the evolutionary atheists who spue out fairy tales.

    • Why assume that the benefactor who donated the sculpture hasn’t donated to or helped the poor and homeless? As for being out in public, just saw a video about this and while it is facing the public, it is on the Church property, not in front of City Hall or on a public sidewalk. Don’t like the message, don’t look. Don’t like religion or Christianity? Stay away from sites like these. Simple.

      • MarilynB, you make the same mistake LeeAnna Fitzgerel does in a comment above. This site is not only for religious believers. Anyone, whether believer or not, who has in interest in understanding how our world became a “demon-haunted” one, to cite Sagan, and why it remains stuck in superstition, is free to read and comment on this site. If you don’t like us here, maybe it is you who should stay away. Simple.

        • Sheilah Blanco

          So on the same token and premise you use it should be perfectly reasonable that Christians and others invade the sites and support groups for Atheists?

      • I check out Religious News Service every day to see what is up with Religion
        for the same reason that a Medical Researcher watches a Cancerous tumor growing.
        I want to know more about this disease, its confounding spread and what are the safest ways to lessen the damage that it does.

        • Sheilah Blanco

          Interesting. I’m observing something that opposes what you’ve stated. Seeing that Faith is more the norm and Atheism is in comparison Abnormal, you come here not to observe a cancer, but to be the cancer: hoping to convert those with Faith to your hopeless state of absolute faith in nothing. Or maybe even to have your cancer of hopelessness cured regardless of your protestations. I mean coming to a religious site isn’t really well adjusted for one who simply doesn’t believe in GOD is it? Seems you’d utilize your oh so precious and limited time doing things more to your liking. Unless you just love battle and contention.

    • Sheilah Blanco

      How about you stop bullying Christianity and assert your freedom of “god” on some like minded site? It is you who chose to come here to religionnews; religionnews isn’t shoving anything down your craw. You have your right to ignore religion faith and GOD all you want to. But you’ll never be really free till you accept that others differ and rise above the urge to retaliate before anyone has tried to convince you of anything because you have been inhabited with the spirit of the Antichrist it seems. You want to reject the teachings Yet you bitterly protest the faith of others in your own crusade to cram your version of morality down our throats. That is just as bad or worse than all the ills you’ve found against religion. Face Facts and accept that 90% of all cultures are deists. You are free here to go your way…allow others that same courtesy.

    • Yes he is welcome! Jesus said whatever you do to the poor to the weak to your enemies you do to Jesus. He is expressing an opinion. You may not agree with him but that is no excuse to attack and hate him. Listen to him. Love and respect him as God told you to. Don’t attack him. While your at it really listen to Jesus. God is love.

  2. Umm, how is this particular piece of art “bullying”? How is it harming anybody?

    (PS: Atheism is NO earthly good whatsoever. That’s off-topic, but I’ve wanted to say it for years.)

    • Yup – In your face, Jesus.

      Holy Roller Republicans in North Carolina
      are trying to eliminate the voting rights of Welfare Recipients.

      That is what Jesus does to politics and that is what Jesus means to North Carolina. And I’m not kidding.

      Wherever religion is strong, rights vanish, freedom is in danger, the rich get richer and the poor get poorer. Time to jettison this nonsense.

      http://nationalreport.net/north-carolina-general-assembly-hopes-revoke-voting-rights-welfare-recipients/

      • Carl Diederichs

        Blame it on Jesus. Do you think for one moment that Jesus the Forgiving Victim would want his followers to hurt anyone? The Jesus sleeping on a park bench is a reminder of how much he cared for the poor and powerless and just how off the mark many of us Christians are when we forget the person we are named after.

        • “..bring to me those enemies of mine, and Execute them in front of me.” – Jesus (luke 19:27)

          Compassion is only given lip service by North Carolinians. Like the Walrus who cries as he eats all the oysters in ‘Alice in Wonderland’

          While North Carolina’s representatives USE JESUS as a reason for Welfare cuts.

          The sad irony of Christians is they THINK their beliefs are about compassion – and they are 30% of the time.

          But Jesus HIMSELF commands that you do UN-COMPASSIONATE THINGS. 70% of Christianity is an instruction manual on how to make life miserable for everyone.

          http://nationalreport.net/north-carolina-general-assembly-hopes-revoke-voting-rights-welfare-recipients/

          • Christians have long tainted the name and mission of Christ. However, it seems that you’ve misappropriated Luke 19:27. That verse, when read in context, is a part of a parable that Jesus is telling. It is not Jesus, therefore, that orders his enemies to be executed, but the fictional master from the parable. It has been suggested by many biblical scholars that parables are not always necessarily prescriptive–not telling their readers how life ought to be, but rather, should be read as descriptive–describing life as it is. This particular parable in Luke 19 is about a nobleman who traveled for the explicit purpose of gaining power. Jesus was neither noble nor a seeker of power. Luke 19:26 says that “to all those that have, more will be given; but from those who have nothing, even what they have will be taken away.” Sounds mighty descriptive, at least to me.

            As a North Carolinian and a Christian, I believe I’m called to feed the poor, fight for the rights of ALL people, and love others–even and especially those who do not love me.

            Coincidentally, I also think the $22,000 spent on this sculpture might have been better spent on physically and practically aiding the homeless population. The sculpture is thought-provoking though!

          • Yes a lot of religious people vote to starve the working Man and are greedy,then a lot of non religious people vote to kill them before they are born,and to take away our rights. so I do not like what any of them are doing.

          • mynameis_dylan

            Atheist Max… i respect you as a person and fellow human. But I must say that you definitely took that verse out of context.

            that verse is a part of a parable. that quote
            (“..bring to me those enemies of mine, and Execute them in front of me.” – Jesus (luke 19:27)
            is a part of a story that Jesus is telling and not something He actually told people to do.

            Like i said i do respect you, but when you’re dealing with the text, try to take stuff like that in context of what its actually saying

          • Sheilah Blanco

            You’re purposely being ignorant.
            If you had bothered to read the chapter you’d know that verse is part of a parable. That’s a story. Jesus taught with stories…because mankind are children in comparison to GOD. Go back and read Luke 19. the whole of it and you will discover this was not our Christ instructing the slaying of anyone, but the disgust of a Nobleman which the parable is about. There is a correlation to the LORD in this though. The entities that entice mankind to sin and those sins are the enemies of mankind and our LORD who holds authority over us. We are able to destroy our sins by repentance, and assist in the war against “good and evil”. So though Christ will redeem the man, HE never will abide by the tormentor or the sin.

          • Athiest Max, while I respect your right to be an athiest, as well as have disdain to those who Publican-like distort religious conviction for their own pitiful gain, as well as have my own questions about some Biblical teachings while I am in frequent Bible Study, nevertheless I do think that even athiests should be careful how they quote Biblical references. You state this as a remark from Jesus instead of as a quotation from a ruler in a parable that Jesus quoted. Yes, even many Christians like myself may wonder at the creditable teachings from this parable, it still is not a direct quote from Jesus, and even athiests should not quote it as such.

    • Athists are good people
      a remember hearing something along the lines of
      “If you need religion to be a good person than you are not a good person”
      It doesnt take religion to put the thoughts and feelings of others in high regard and to love and respect other people.
      as many people of religion cannot hold onto that subject as yourself just judged all athiests as bad people while many people who call themselves christian do terrible things and yet you want the rest of us to say that “not all christians are bad people” if you cant do to others what you want done to yourself than expect from others the same disdane and thinking little of you as you do of them.

      • Sheilah Blanco

        Even the most heinous criminals have the ability to be good persons….and except for their evil they’re good people. IE: Alaska’s Robert Hansen is a model citizen under lock and key…which he must always be due to the nature of his illness.

        But even the best of us all would go to Church not so much to learn how to be a better person, as to confirm they’re on the right track. GOD is everywhere. But the Church is designed to serve mankind….or so is the intent. The Church is supposed to feed us body and soul, and supply the nurturing and strengthening of our communities…to give a sense of belonging. Mankind is a communal creature. There is strength in numbers. And numbers of mankind need direction and organization to be at their most functional. THAT is the intent of the church. To organize communal support. Whether a church does this functionally is debatable from church to church. But over all the church is normally of great assistance to the majority of their members.

  3. DOC,
    Yes, sticking a Jesus statement on my sidewalk would be a bullying tactic in my neighborhood. Absolutely.
    (PS: The morality of the Atheist is at least honest. God beliefs are a run-away train of forced nonsense, including the hideous idea that God would want nails in “His son’s” feet.)

    • Sheilah Blanco

      It ‘ain’t’ your sidewalk. It is on Church Property. Read the article. Just because the church won’t have you arrested or even object to you walking on its sidewalk doesn’t make it “YOUR SIDEWALK”. You obviously don’t own any property do you?

  4. Kudos for getting people talking about a real issue! People need to be shaken out of their complacency at times and I do applaud the intentions, even if I feel the concept of a homeless Jesus is a bit misleading. No doubt as a travelling rabbi, he would have depended on the hospitality of others in that context which let people stay in their homes. This was frequent and expected in first century Palestine. How we define and practice (or don’t practice) hospitality in our culture would be a good conversation indeed.

    • Whether or not Jesus himself was actually “homeless” is actually beside the point. Jesus himself taught, in Matthew 25:34-45, that he IS every homeless person. And every hungry person, And every thirsty person. And every naked person. And every stranger, every sick person, and every prisoner.

      So to depict him as homeless, or hungry, or thirsty, or sick, or any of the rest of those ways, is necessarily accurate and apt.

  5. Susan Humphreys

    Some folks always see ART as a waste of money. Personally I think that is because they don’t understand ART and the power that it has to shift people’s perspectives. I think the comments that the pastor has received are showing that this piece of ART is having the desired effect, attracting attention to an idea that many refuse to even consider. Some I suspect simply don’t like being reminded of the descrepancy between their wealth and comfort and that of others. Someone once said that IF Jesus returned he would be tarred and feathered. I think this shows so clearly that in today’s world he would be kicked to the curb, left to get by as best he could. ART can open doors and dialogue in ways that advertisements can’t. ART can get through to some people in the way that mere words can’t. I am all for public art in public spaces.

  6. I find it odd that a mere statue of a homeless person on a park bench in an upscale neighborhood should provoke so much protest and concern when the actual presence of homeless people on park benches throughout our cities causes us to grimace and turn away.

  7. Paul Gregory Leroux

    I think the work qualifies both as fine art (beautifully sculpted) and good theology. Homeless Jesus is not sleeping under a blanket, but rather wrapped in a shroud, like Jesus after His crucifixion (and before His resurrection). Didn’t Jesus say, “The foxes have their dens, and the birds of the air have their nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay His head”? What better reflection of that statement than Homeless Jesus?

  8. I understand that it is dark and creepy
    but that is life, I know you might want to cover up the facts of life and pretend the homelss do not exist that the people jesus was talking about do not exist and live in your happy little world. But you need an eye opener, that the sadness and people who do need help exist and that the real reason you are uncomfortable is that you are doing very little for the least of the people. you are not doing what jesus asked and are not even giving an effort and the statue is reminding you of that and you dont like it, you want to go back to not thinking about it but just because you want that statue that brings that reminder to go away doesnt mean that the issues will go away, that these poor people that you do not help are still out there and will always be poor and need your help.

  9. Some interesting background: ChristianWeek’s 2012 interview with sculptor Timothy Schmalz and a more recent story on Homeless Jesus.
    http://www.christianweek.org/artist-sculpts-the-gospels/
    http://www.christianweek.org/st-jacobs-sculptor-statue-blessed-pope/

  10. I think the sculpture is beautiful and it is a wonderful reminder that the Lord wants us to follow Him in taking care of the poor and needy. Those who would be angry by that sentiment only because it is tied to Jesus are just sad, angry, empty people.
    For all of you who wasted your time with the angry atheist who is threatened by the sight, or sound or thought of Jesus, you would have been better off taking the time that you used responding to him and offering up a prayer for him instead.
    Faith is a gift and it comes to each of us at different times of our life and some are blessed to hear the voice of God and others are not. Usually it is our own sin and pride and selfishness that drowns out the voice of the Lord. He is constantly calling each one of us. Angry atheists love to pull words out of context from the bible. They aren’t even aware of how ignorant they sound. They have no faith or knowledge or relationship with God so they are only words for them to twist. They cannot comprehend their meaning without the Holy Spirit. Feel sorry for them. Ask God to open their hearts.
    I used to be one of them. Praise God for His appearing in my life in a very powerful way. I pray that I never forget who I was before HIM. Just as sad and pathetic as those who do not know Him today. It isn’t just atheists, most Christians do not know Him either.

    • Please stop ragging on Atheists. I don’t know why you give the republican legislature a free ride since they are the ones cutting welfare in Jesus’ name.

      • Sheilah Blanco

        This Christian isn’t giving the GOP a free ride. I fight their nonsense and divisive and polarizing rhetoric and constant campaigning with all I have. BECAUSE I love JESUS! The Christians are divided like the rest of the nation politically. But I have faith in who we are supposed to follow, so very soon they will recognize only those who’s actions line up with the Will of GOD, not lip service, politics, or religion.

    • While I respect your point of view and commend you for it, I would also like to suggest there may be a place for “righteous indignation” in the sequence of life. Even Jesus experienced this reaction when he drove the “money changers” from the temple. And for those of you who can pray for athiests, I commend you. As for myself I can pray that they do no real harm, but as for their conversion, I can’t waste my time with that. There are so many other positive change, Christian-justified matters I feel the need to turn my attention upon. To each his own. So “God bless you all” is the best I can do.

  11. To start off, I am a very conservative Christian, meaning that I believe the Bible to be the very word of God, from Genesis to Revelation, all 66 books. I believe that Jesus is the Son of God, He is God in the flesh. I believe that Jesus entered into our work in the clothing of human flesh, being fully human and fully God. Jesus humbled Himself by becoming man, He lived a sinless life that we could not, and died the death that we deserved. On the cross He took on our sin and received the full penalty of our sin and bore God’s wrath in our place, so that all who believe in Him shall not perish but will have everlasting life. Then, He rose from the grave to prove that He was indeed God and He did indeed have the power to raise even us from the dead and to give eternal life. Those who believe in Him now have His righteousness and have a right relationship with God and are given the Holy Spirit to live a life that bears fruit as a Christian to God’s glory. Now, we are all sinners, but if a Christian sins, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ our rigteousness. Regardless of what we’ve done, the blood of Jesus that was shed for us on that cross washes away our sins…all of them. With all that said, what the Bible calls sin, I call sin. What the Bible says to hate, I should hate. But what seems to be lost by my brothers and sisters in Christ, is that we are not to hate people or to show hate for people. All humans are born in the image of God, we are all from Adam and Eve, yes even black, white, asian, and blue, green, and purple people, and any other color of pigments that I left out. As Christians we should never be rude to anyone. If someone tries to take our coats from us, we should give them our shirts also (Jesus said that). If anyone strikes us in the cheek, offer the other one also (Jesus also said that). I am ashamed of reading some of the comments that I read above, the comments written by so called “Christians”. If we hate others, or show hate towards others, then that is a sign that the truth does not dwell within us (Jesus’ brother James said that). You are not God and may not pass judgement on those who are outside of the Church. Their judgement will be given to them by God. Our job is to show compassion and love towards nonbelievers, sharing the Gospel of Jeus on the Cross, to win them over to the faith, so that God can save them from the wrath to come. If you see a fellow believer sinning, we are to approach them and lovingly rebuke them, and be firm, but gentle, not rude or harsh or mean. If at some point it gets ridiculous then you will cast them out, treating them like an unbeliever, and an unbeliever should be treated with love and kindness. That doesn’t mean we have to do what their doing if it conflicts with what the Bible says, but we are there for them when they need help and need to hear the Gospe. And if someone doesn’t want to receive our message, we must move on to someplace else (Jesus says that too). Lashing out in rudeness and harshness, is the characteristics of demons, not saints…I love you my brothers and sisters! I want you all to be fill with the Spirit and with the knowledge of the grace that God has shown us. I want you to be filled with inexpressible joy and amazement of Christ! I dare you, my brothers and sisters, to love those who believe differently than you. If what we believe to be true, then our comfort must be sacrificed, and the last thing that nonbelievers need is our wrath, because God has it stored up for all of those who don’t believe in what Jesus has done for them on the cross. They need your kindness, not your hatred….I also dare you to love one another. We also tend to forget that other believers are our family bought by the same blodd of Christ.

    To God be the Glory!!

  12. Also, this is a very good sculpture, yeah money could have been sent to the poor, but so could the money that was spent on the church building, the electricity, and the internet at that church. If we want to nitpick, then we have to be consistent, get the log out of our own eyes before we take the spec out of others. If you want something to change, then lead by example, not by word (I guess I’ll give Ghandi that one, though he is nice, I don’t think he know the saving truth). The sculpture really does remind us that Jesus was compassionate to those in need and expects us to be as well. And kinda on a side note, Jesus did get harsh at times, but not sinfully, He was just very stern when it came to the legalistic religious (Remember Jesus called a group of religious pharisees a brood of vipers, and He flipped tables and whipped people for cheating the poor?) Definitely don’t go whipping people, Jesus is God, and only God can get away with doing things without sinful motivations.

  13. I call myself a Christian, but with lots of reservation, especially when I experience the so-called Christian politics and read some of these comments. How can we be a Christian nation when we don’t want our upscale neighborhoods “bespoiled” by a piece of art that reminds us of what is real, and that those of us who have much material wealth should be helping the “least of these”. Our nation is so selfish and self-centered, I fear for its future. Why can’t we just let everyone believe or not believe as they wish? That would be true religious freedom! Anyone can have good morals and ethics, you don’t have to proclaim to be a Christian to do the right thing.

    • I just wanted to see the picture of the statue. I love the fact that in this country we can have the freedom to argue like all of you above. Some for and others against what each believes is true. As for me and my house…….

  1. […] In a small college town 20 miles north of Charlotte, N.C., “Homeless Jesus” is provoking more conversation than a month of Sunday sermons. The life-size sculpture depicting a figure asleep under a blanket on a park bench lies outside St. Alban’s Episcopal Church. The nail-scarred feet peeking out from under the blanket are the only indication that Canadian sculptor Timothy Schmalz is making a religious statement about Jesus. [Read more] […]

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