Looks like Jesus the Homeless is coming to Chicago. Erica Demarest reports that the local Catholic Charities office plans to put up one of Timothy Schmalz's sculptures—which depict an unkempt Jesus, with stigmata, sleeping on a park bench—this spring.
Weekend Edition did a segment Sunday on the sculpture at St. Alban's Episcopal in Davidson, North Carolina. Apparently some locals aren't fans.
Growing up, I watched Saturday morning television cartoons in which a character was making a decision. On one shoulder an angel hovered, saying, "Do the right thing!" But on the other shoulder perched a devil urging the character to do the wrong thing. You already know what happened: as the angel looked increasingly anxious, the cartoon character chose to do the wrong thing.
Paul's Galatians didn't watch TV cartoons, but they probably had a similar model of decision making.
“I have decided to follow Jesus.” These words begin a well-known hymn, but for me they will always be about Gordon and Mary Cosby, cofounders of the Church of the Saviour in Washington, D.C. Gordon’s death on March 20, 2013, was not unexpected. He was 95 and had become frail. Knowing that he was dying, Gordon used the time to comfort coworkers, friends and neighbors.
In an era when homeless people can be seen sleeping on city sidewalks and park benches, Canadian artist Timothy Schmalz wanted to convey the idea that Jesus too was homeless. It was said of him: “The Son of Man has nowhere to lay his head.” Schmalz didn’t anticipate that his sculpture would be controversial. St. Michael’s Cathedral in Toronto and St. Patrick’s Cathedral in New York expressed interest in displaying the work but were overruled by diocesan officials. Schmalz said he was told that the image was not “appropriate.” Schmalz is negotiating with another church in New York City for a permanent home.