A friend once said that there are at least two kinds of social movements in the world: the kind you sit down and start from scratch, and the kind that comes like a river to sweep you away. I found myself advocating for Nashville’s homeless community as a 20-year-old college student not because I possessed any sort of unique virtue, but because, faced with the reality of thousands of people spending night after night without shelter in my own backyard—people who, as I was beginning to understand, bore the very image of God in the lines of their faces—I had no other option.
Part willing, part eager and perhaps part foolish, I let the river guide me, and before I could think twice, I was standing with more than 100 other students and faculty before our city’s seat of power trying, as best I knew how at the time, to proclaim some fragment of good news to those who bear the burden of homelessness in our city.
Four years later I am still trying to echo, as concretely as possible, the words that Jesus of Nazareth proclaimed to the crowd in his inaugural sermon: good news to the poor, release to the captives, recovery of sight to the blind, and freedom for the oppressed. Indeed, I will only ever be trying to echo and embody this proclamation. I am, as I have come to understand it, a laborer in a vineyard not my own. Grand outcomes and solutions are good and fine, but they’ll only ever matter if I’m willing to get my hands dirty.
Tuesday, October 11, 2011
Read: Andrew Krinks on Social Movements, Vulnerability, and Solidarity with the Marginalized
My friend Andrew Krinks, a second-year MTS student at Vanderbilt and all-around superman writer-cum-activist in Nashville, has written a wonderful piece for Vanderbilt Magazine. In it he tells the story of his journey over the last few years with injustice, institutional power, homelessness, and vulnerable solidarity, as only a poet-theologian can. Here's a snippet, but go read the full thing: