January 31, 2015

Homeless Jesus sleeping on a bench statue to be installed where homeless aren't allowed to sleep on benches

First Presbyterian Church of Orlando is about equidistant between Orlando Public Library and Dr. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts. A few blocks north, the homeless pass the library with their bedrolls, backpacks and shopping carts. A few blocks to the south, patrons of the arts congregate in their high heels, tuxedos and tickets to Broadway plays.On the corner of Jackson Street and Rosalind Avenue, where those two groups intersect at First Presbyterian, is the future site of "Homeless Jesus" — a life-size sculpture of a Jesus as a homeless man sleeping on a park bench.

The bronze sculpture, by Canadian artist Timothy P. Schmalz, has sparked outrage and praise in the nine cities throughout the world where it has been installed. Churches in Toronto rejected it. Pope Francis blessed it.

To some, the sculpture is blasphemous — Jesus was the Son of God, not a homeless man. To others, including First Presbyterian Pastor David Swanson, it perfectly represents Jesus as a man of the marginalized.

"Jesus identified with the suffering and the circumstances of the homeless," Swanson said. "To me, it says everyone has dignity and worth, and it's a reminder to everyone that when you do it to the least of these, we're doing it to him."

The depiction of Jesus is subtle. The face of the man on the bench is covered by a blanket. Only his feet protrude from beneath the blanket with the telltale scars of the nail holes from his crucifixion.

"It's very striking. It just looks like someone in a shroud or a blanket. You don't see a face, but when you look at it closely, you see the scars on the feet, and you realize it's Jesus," Swanson said.

Orlando was selected not because it has an inordinate amount of homeless people, but because the ambition of the sculptor is to have one in every major American city.

"It wasn't your specific homeless situation, but there is a specific homeless situation in every major city," said Tony Frey, Schmalz's business partner and the person responsible for scouting locations for the sculpture.

Frey, who is familiar with Orlando because his mother-in-law lives in Winter Park, said Swanson was the first to respond to a query he sent four downtown Orlando churches. Swanson said he had read about the sculpture in other cities and felt his church was the perfect place for Homeless Jesus in Orlando.

First Presbyterian feeds breakfast to an estimated 200 homeless people every Sunday and donates $150,000 annually to homeless organizations, and Swanson serves on the board of the Commission on Homelessness in Orlando. But the church also has the affluence within its congregation to find a donor to contribute the $40,000 the sculpture costs to create, transport and install.

"For me, the $40,000 will remind people that Jesus is still with us and wants us to see the least and the lost," Swanson said.

Swanson expects Homeless Jesus will be in place in April, when it will join those already in place in Knoxville, Tenn.; Chicago; Phoenix; Charleston, W.Va.; and Davidson, N.C. Other American cities that have ordered the sculpture include Austin, Texas; Washington, D.C.; Buffalo, N.Y.; Cincinnati; Oklahoma City; and Montgomery, Ala.



  1. Hey, you know what counts in the modern United States?

    Seeing people suffering and not giving a shit.

    Just like Jesus...

  2. What is hypocrisy if not this?

  3. The word, "amen" has nothing to do with Caligula or Amun Ra. It's a jewish word of agreement used thousands of years before Caligula was even born.

    The word "testament" also had nothing to do with Amun Ra. It's a Latin word meaning "witness".

    Have you considered doing any actual research on your own?

  4. "On the corner of Jackson Street and Rosalind Avenue"

    knowing the area quite well, [having spent 49 years in the area] that's a street avoided by most as it's quite narrow, and difficult to transverse in a car. In other words, cars [and people by default] don't go down that street and pedestrian traffic is negligent.

    Now had that been placed on Park Avenue in front of the Catholic Church in Winter Park where Frey's MIL lives ....

    OH HELL NO........ NIMBY rules

  5. Mysterio! BOOGAH BOOGAHFebruary 2, 2015 at 12:05 PM

    And furthermore, you silly zog disinfo douche...

    In Egyptian mythology Isis is considered Saturn’s eldest daughter:

    “I am Isis, Queen of this country. I was instructed by Mercury. No one can destroy the laws which I have established. I am the eldest daughter of Saturn, most ancient of the Gods”

    Saturn in Semitic Civilizations

    Semitic civilizations referred to the god Saturn as “El”. The supreme deity was represented by a black cube. We can find instances of the cube across the world.

    So when you take ISIS-RA-EL it pretty much ties it all together. Go get a bagel and shut yer pathetic yap.

  6. Mysterio! BOOGAH BOOGAHFebruary 2, 2015 at 12:27 PM

    Jewish. Uh no.

    Amen comes from ancient Habiru. The predecessors to ... dah JEWS.

    If you would've done ten seconds worth of research you would see that HEBREW comes from HABIRU. The habiru people used interchangeable vowels in the grammar structures.

    TEN MORE SECONDS of research would take you to Egypts main homepage for TOUREGYPT where its says, and I quote... "Amen and Amen-Ra, Egyptian God" ADDING "Among the gods who were known to the Egyptians in very early times were Amen.." ADDING "The word or root amen, certainly means "what is hidden," "what is not seen," "what cannot be seen," and the like, and this fact is proved by scores of examples which may be collected from texts of all periods. In hymns to Amen we often read that he is "hidden to his children, "and "hidden to gods and men," and it has been stated that these expressions only refer to the "hiding," i.e., "setting" of the sun each evening, and that they are only to be understood in a physical sense, and to mean nothing more than the disappearance of the god Amen from the sight of men at the close of day. Now, not only is the god himself said to be "hidden," but his name also is "hidden," and his form, or similitude, is said to be "unknown;" these statements show that "hidden," when applied to Amen, the great god, has reference to something more than the "sun which has disappeared below the horizon," and that it indicates the god who cannot be seen with the mortal eyes, and who is invisible, as well as inscrutable, to gods as well as men."

    You sit there stunned because WE SEE YOU!!! Take some of that in your eye horus! Whats the matter? Not so hidden anymore?? Awwww. Is your eye going to cry a tear? Wah Wah people can read me am stunned!