WARNING: I am going to get on my soapbox. I am frustrated. The good news is this will probably be a short post.
I have found myself in a couple of situations lately, fighting for affordable housing, low income housing, and a homeless shelter. What I hear, far too often, in a variety of different ways, is, “I (we) don’t want that in my (our) backyard.” It’s called NIMBY (Not In My BackYard). What troubles me is that most of the people who cry NIMBY also claim to be Christians. The very people God has called to serve the poor and the marginalized are saying, “Don’t you dare put that _____________ (fill in the blank) in my backyard!” And then, come Sunday, they pack their perfect family up and head to church. And then, come summer, they travel around the world caring for other countries’ poor while neglecting the ones in their neighborhoods.
How can you claim to follow Jesus and have such an attitude? Have you not read Jesus’ parable of the sheep and goats in Matthew 25? If you claim to be His disciple and you cite NIMBY, according to Jesus’ parable, you are a goat! We, His followers, should be leading the charge to take care of the poor and the immigrant and the prisoner and the sick and the orphan and the widow that are already in our backyards. Jesus has commanded us to love our neighbors. Through His parable of the Good Samaritan (Luke 10:25-37), He taught us that everyone is our neighbor. How can we say we love our neighbors when we don’t want our neighbors in our backyards?
I can understand not wanting a nuclear waste dump in your backyard, or a fertilizer plant, or oil pipelines. But things that will help people who are the most vulnerable among us? I don’t get that.
Please, someone, anyone, explain this to me in light of what the Jesus says, not in light of your bank account or fear of crime.
I feel better now.
NOTE: I am off Facebook through Easter. So, if you like this post, please share it on your Facebook wall. Thank you.