At its October 16, 2014, meeting, the Hollywood Property Owners Alliance approved a creepy little number known as the 2014-15-WORK-PLAN-FINAL-VERSION1-1. We’ll have a lot more to say about this unfortunately-not-remarkable document in the future. Today we discuss some of its theological implications.
You see, in the Work Plan, the HPOA announces as goal III.B: “Continue to work in collaboration with organizations and agencies involved in ending chronic homelessness to reduce visible homelessness in Hollywood.” We’ll refrain from commenting on the weirdly uncharacteristic lapse in hypocrisy evinced by their setting a goal to “end visible homelessness.” Now, when Jesus began his ministry, word got back to John the Baptist, who was in prison courtesy of the local and temporal equivalent of the HPOA, and he sent two of his disciples to ask Jesus “Art thou he that should come, or do we look for another?”1
And Jesus, a quick man with a comeback at all times but not afraid to ask people to think for themselves, told them: “Go and shew John again those things which ye do hear and see: The blind receive their sight, and the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed, and the deaf hear, the dead are raised up, and the poor have the gospel preached to them.”2 You see, according to the Messiah himself, the way that one can tell that the Messiah has arrived is because he’s out there working miracles for the sake of wounded and damaged people.
The HPOA claims that it wants to help the homeless, but it doesn’t. It wants to arrest them. Look at what III.B is a part of: “It is the goal for the Board of Directors to restore civility to the public sidewalks in the Hollywood Entertainment District through the enforcement of laws which govern sidewalk behavior, pedestrian access, vending and tour solicitations.” Here’s a translation from HPOA-speak into English: Arrest everyone on the sidewalk who’s not walking to or from an act of spending money. What’s Jesus going to think of that? How’s he going to return and convince everyone that he’s the Messiah if the HPOA can’t keep its sticky fingers off the homeless of Hollywood?
Feed them? Sure. House them? Sure, if that’s what they want. Arrest them so they stay invisible? Not if you want to see Jesus return. Not if you want to see him happy when he does.3
- Matt. 11:2-3
- Matt. 11:4-5
- We realize that it’s plausibly a flaw in our theological analysis that Jesus seems to require the existence of the poor and damaged in order to establish his Messianic character. Jesus, never one to chase after a foolish consistency, noted this problem his own self in Matt. 26:11. Really, we mostly wanted something to fill space under this post’s title, of which we’re inordinately proud. If you want professional theology, don’t be a cheapskate; hire a theologian. Here you get about what you pay for, and you’re welcome!
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