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The Magazine of The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America

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Transformative project

Literally feed, clothe, care for poor

In January, I spent a month at a Protestant Catholic Worker House in Atlanta called the Open Door Community. The experience transformed how I think about civic engagement.

The partners at Open Door Community hold to an inheritance from the prophetic tradition, and they read Matthew 25 as literal injunctions. They had heard too many sermons about how Jesus didn't literally mean for Christians to feed the hungry.

Feeding the hungry meant opening up our dining room to 150 homeless people several times a week. Clothing the naked meant providing showers, clothes and shoes to our friends from the street. Welcoming the stranger meant supporting undocumented immigrants. Caring for the sick meant visiting ill friends at the hospital. Visiting the imprisoned meant prison justice demonstrations and death row advocacy.


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