And then doubting David came unto Saint Nick the exegete, directing his attention to the text:
In your column you stated: “After all, once upon a time, a homeless couple came to Bethlehem, looking for shelter.” That’s incorrect. Mary and Joseph were not “homeless.” They were traveling FROM their home to Bethlehem to enroll for the census and couldn’t find a hotel room. That’s not exactly “homeless,” is it? Nice try though.
Thus saith Saint Nick the exegete, in the spirit of the season:
They didn’t know where they would or could stay. That’s homeless. But I guess you’re real point is that Jesus Christ wouldn’t identify with the homeless? Maybe you ought to consider becoming a Christian.
Then doubting David dared respond to Saint Nick:
So if I went to the Super Bowl city the day before the game, couldn’t find a room and didn’t know where I “would or could stay,” then I’m homeless?? That’s quite a definition. and I don’t think Jesus WOULD identify with it. Maybe you ought to consider becoming logical.
Gravely saith Saint Nick the exegete:
It wasn’t one night, was it, pal? It wasn’t exactly the super Bowl either. Like to see you sleep in a barn some time. And how about the flight into Egypt? Homeless, on the run, in danger. Be careful: God might want you to try sleeping in a ditch some day. Might want to teach you humility.
Doubting David, his incredulity mounting, tested Saint Nick:
The flight into Egypt was because King Herod wanted Jesus dead. It had nothing to do with their economic status as you tried to imply in your column. I’m not a basher of the homeless. In fact I feel it IS a problem that should be addressed. I also thought most of your column was fine. Except, I just object to your characterization of Mary, Joseph and Jesus as “homeless” in Bethlehem. It just wasn’t true. Thanks for taking the time to respond. This one-on-one exchange has been very eye-opening, pal.
Saint Nick the exegete waxed wroth, instructing doubting David:
Herod had those other thousands of children killed…I guess they weren’t homeless. Just dead. If you knew ANYTHING about the homeless, you’d know that many families of EVERY economic status have members who live without homes…And Jesus, in case you forgot…was poor.
Then doubting David gibed:
Huh? You’re careening all over the road. What does Herod killing children have to do with homelessness? And yes, Jesus was poor, but not homeless, which was the entire point I was trying to make in my initial letter.
But the voice of Saint Nick the exegete would not be stilled:
He and his family were homeless when they were fleeing for their lives. You should find a phone book, look up a church and make an appointment with a kindly pastor. You need religion.
Doubting David responded at last:
Your column didn’t say that Jesus and his family were homeless when they were fleeing for their lives. You said “a homeless couple came to Bethlehem.” I’m sorry you feel the need to continually question my religious beliefs. All I did was point out an error in your column. If this is how you react to such a simple correction, maybe it’s you that has a problem.
Thus saith Saint Nick the exegete to doubting David:
Maybe when you post your little thing on all the blogs you can — totally missing the point — maybe it’s your problem, brother.
Saint Nick here gave surcease to his exegesis. And his faithful scribe wished peace to all.
HINDROCKET adds: A reader emailed this morning, wondering whether lefists like Bill Moyers, Garrison Keillor, Helen Thomas, Walter Cronkite, etc., were always nuts, or have just recently been driven around the bend. I think we can add poor Nick Coleman to that list.
I’m not sure this exchange is worth extending, but I can’t resist adding a couple of additional points. First, it is of course true that Jesus and his family were “poor” in an absolute sense, by our standards, as were most people of his time. But they were gainfully employed, hard-working, respected, educated people who would in today’s lexicon be viewed as middle class, unlike those whom Jesus himself referred to as “the poor.” To categorize them with today’s homeless population is ridiculous.
This ties in, I think, with Coleman’s inexplicable statement that “many families of EVERY economic status have members who live without homes.” What on earth is he talking about? Unless he is referring to family members who live in college dorms or apartments–in which case, what’s the point?–his statement is patently untrue.
It reminds me, though, of the liberal mantra of a few years ago that everyone is at risk of getting AIDS. The liberals’ refusal to acknowledge that AIDS is spread by certain specific mechanisms, and that virtually all of the risk of contracting AIDS results from engaging in certain specific practices, caused thousands of people to die needlessly. Here, too, the liberals’ pretense, against all logic and experience, that homeless people are a random cross-section of the populace, who just happen to find themselves wandering the streets, is an obstacle to identifying and dealing with the actual causes of homelessness, pre-eminent among which are drugs, alcoholism and mental illness.