Once again, the worlds of art and religion collide. From Yahoo News:
Outside St. Alban’s Episcopal Church in Davidson, North Carolina rests a sculpture, so realistic that from not too far a distance, it appears to be an actual, living homeless man sleeping on a bench. It’s a piece by sculptor Timothy P. Schmalz entitled, “Homeless Jesus.” As WCNC NBC Charlotte reports, it’s getting quite a bit of attention.
I’m not sure I’d agree with that assessment of the work’s level of realism, but that aspect of the sculpture is taking a back seat to its message, which has locals upset. One woman who lives near the church complained that “Jesus is not a vagrant. Jesus is not a helpless person who needs our help.”
What was the artist’s intention? On his website, where he describes the work as a “representation that suggests Christ is with the most marginalized in our society.” Schmalz talks about the sculpture in a YouTube video:
So far, the notices from the world of faith tend to be positive. Reverend David E. Buck, rector of St. Alban’s, said the statue is “beautiful” and that it helps reminds believers that their “ultimate calling is as Christians, as people of faith, [is] to do what we can individually and systematically to eliminate homelessness.” The work also received the blessing of the man shown below. No small feat!