DAVIDSON: 'Homeless Jesus' sculpture sparks controversy - WSPA.com

'Homeless Jesus' sculpture sparks controversy

Posted: Updated:
© WCNC/NBC Charlotte © WCNC/NBC Charlotte
DAVIDSON, N.C. -

A sculpture of a "Homeless Jesus" outside a church in Davidson has resulted in neighbors and church leaders debating its message and appropriateness, according to WCNC in Charlotte.

The sculptor, Timothy Schmalz, claims on his website that the sculpture outside St. Alban's Episcopal Church was rejected by cathedrals in Canada and New  York. Articles on his site also claim that Pope Francis blessed and accepted the sculpture into Vatican City.

One issue people in Davidson have is that from a distance, especially in the evening, the sculpture looks like a real-life homeless person sleeping on a bench outside the church.

Some have even called the police.

"I was concerned for the safety of the neighborhood," Cindy Castano Swannack told WCNC.

Only upon closer look do people realize it's not a real person.

The only identifying feature on the sculpture itself is the crucifixion marks in the feet. A plaque next to it shows the "Homeless Jesus" title and that the inspiration came from a passage in Matthew 25.

"It's Jesus representing the most marginalized of society," said Rev. Doctor David E. Buck, the rector at St. Alban's.

Buck says the sculpture combines beauty, art and religion.

"We're reminded of what our ultimate calling is as Christians, as people of faith, to do what we can individually and systematically to eliminate homelessness," Buck said, "Part of a faith commitment is to care or the needy."

In order to make the piece interactive, there is room to sit on the bench next to it.

It brings church members like Chuck Dillman that much closer to God.

"If you've been through what I've been through... somehow I got lost about religion," Dillman said while sitting on the bench.

"It brings me right up here with Him, yeah," said neighbor Ellen Donaldson, "It gives me an overwhelming sense of peace and comfort."

"I can't understand why anyone wouldn't want this" said Buck.

Not all the church members approve of the sculpture.

Swannack says it's an inappropriate message and wrong for the neighborhood. She says she wishes it showed Jesus standing over a homeless person and protecting them.

"Jesus is not a vagrant, Jesus is not a helpless person who needs our help," she said, "We need someone who is capable of meeting our needs, not someone who is also needy."

The work ended up at the church because a member set aside money years ago to honor a friend and fellow church member who died of cancer in 2007. They finally decided upon a piece of art they liked and gave it to the church.

  • Trending StoriesTrending StoriesMore>>

  • Parts of Durham once again flood as business owner looks for relief

    Parts of Durham once again flood as business owner looks for relief

    Monday, July 21 2014 10:20 PM EDT2014-07-22 02:20:30 GMT
    Several inches of rain created flooding in parts of Durham on Monday.
    Several inches of rain created flooding in parts of Durham on Monday.
  • Largest companies by revenue in each state

    Largest companies by revenue in each state

    Thursday, July 10 2014 8:01 PM EDT2014-07-11 00:01:10 GMT
    Broadview Networks recently decided to find out the biggest -- by revenue -- company in each state in the US.The company used the Fortune 500 list to start with, but needed data by state, so it turned to Hoover's.With data from that company, they were able to search through each state's list of companies and then find the largest -- by revenue.Just flip through the list above and see who is the biggest in each state, what town they are based and their revenue.
    Broadview Networks recently decided to find out the biggest -- by revenue -- company in each state in the US.The company used the Fortune 500 list to start with, but needed data by state, so it turned to Hoover's.With data from that company, they were able to search through each state's list of companies and then find the largest -- by revenue.Just flip through the list above and see who is the biggest in each state, what town they are based and their revenue.
  • Take Me To The King: A Book By Joel Wiggins

    Take Me To The King: A Book By Joel Wiggins

    Monday, July 21 2014 1:10 PM EDT2014-07-21 17:10:46 GMT
    Valonda Calloway and Joel WigginsValonda Calloway and Joel Wiggins
    Prepare to have the very core of what you’ve believed to be your foundational truths challenged. Get comfortable being uncomfortable in your thinking about traditional religion. And be okay with self-examination on a whole new level. Unlike the award-winning gospel smash, this Take Me To The King is NOT for entertainment purposes only and is definitely intended for spiritually mature audiences. Journey with author and successful entrepreneur, Joel Wiggins, as he explores the current state of ...
    Prepare to have the very core of what you’ve believed to be your foundational truths challenged. Get comfortable being uncomfortable in your thinking about traditional religion. And be okay with self-examination on a whole new level. Unlike the award-winning gospel smash, this Take Me To The King is NOT for entertainment purposes only and is definitely intended for spiritually mature audiences. Journey with author and successful entrepreneur, Joel Wiggins, as he explores the current state of ...
Powered by WorldNow

250 International Dr.
Spartanburg, S.C. 29303

Telephone: 864.576.7777
Fax: 864.587.5430
Email: webmaster@wspa.com

Can't find something?
Powered by WorldNow
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 Media General Communications Holdings, LLC. A Media General Company.