I was ‘homeless’ in Atlanta today… I went out with a group of guys from the Open Door Community early this morning to stand in solidarity with the some 10,000 homeless people. We took no money, no food… and headed off to walk the streets of downtown Atlanta all day going to places where the homeless hang out. Our first stop was a downtown park in the shadows of sparkling high rise office buildings. Here I observed a number of homeless people being rousted for sleeping on the grass. Other homeless shuffled about trying to stay awake after, for many, a few (if any) hours of sleep under some church ground bushes, or makeshift tent camps below underpasses, or… For lunch we went to Our Lady of Lourdes Soup Kitchen where I got in a conversation with one of the fellow Open Door group members. We discussed college degrees. I had a degree in journalism. He got a Fulbright Scholarship to study philosophy in France and is a professor at a university in Ohio. Across the table from us was an African American homeless man with a mental problem. He spoke to himself in what could be described as gibberish throughout the meal. As the professor and I talked, I would periodically glance over at the other man thinking to myself what a tremendous social disparity (read: injustice) between our side of the table and his. Some might even refer to it in what could best be described (in Biblical terms) as a “chasm.” In the afternoon we walked about a rather rough area of the city, homeless people dotted the street corners. In mid-afternoon, we went to a worship service at the Common Ground drop-in center, an Episcopal Church outreach in the city. Today was Holy Thursday and there was the traditional washing of the feet. In this particular “church,” you couldn’t help but notice the tremendously dirty feet, gnarled toes, callouses… from all the walking and standing the homeless do each day. Part of Psalm 22 was read during the service. One line was “the poor will be satisfied.” I couldn’t help but think that the poor in Atlanta won’t be satisfied until us folks on this side of the “chasm” start sacrificing tremendously and using the money to set up solid, multi-tiered programs to not only get the homeless off the street, but into adequate housing, into quality mental health and job counseling, and into eduction programs to help them develop their God given talents… Anything other than this is a band aid approach to something that needs major surgery.