Churches Reject Sculpture of Homeless Jesus

Toronto artist wanted 'marginalized' people to relate

By Neal Colgrass,  Newser Staff

Posted Apr 14, 2013 1:40 PM CDT

(Newser) – A new sculpture of Jesus looks a lot like a homeless person lying on a bench—which, ironically, is why it had trouble finding a home, the Toronto Star reports. Artist Timothy Schmalz carved Jesus huddling under a blanket so that "marginalized" people could relate. Jesus was, after all, portrayed as homeless. But two prominent Catholic churches still passed on his work. "It was very upsetting because the rectors liked it, but when it got to the administration, people thought it might be too controversial or vague," says Schmalz.

The sculpture ultimately found a home in a downtown area outside a Jesuit theological school. The Star quotes a theologian who praises the work for puncturing "the illusion of normalcy," but doesn't report on any locals who oppose the sculpture. There is, however, a mission in Missouri called Jesus Was Homeless that runs into trouble over its name. "People who have issue with it are usually the staunch religious people," says an administrator, "especially those who follow prosperity teaching and doctrine that says if you are homeless or poor you don't have enough faith."

The sculpture of Jesus in artist Timothy Schmalz's studio.
The sculpture of Jesus in artist Timothy Schmalz's studio.   (YouTube)
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