I worship with some drunken homeless folks. That is not an edgy or cool thing (that kind of thinking is just Christian masturbation). I am not involved in 'street' ministry. I show up on Sunday at the same place they do and we worship together. I try to greet them, learn their names, and listen to them.
Not all of them are drunk or high all the time nor is any one person falling over drunk or high every week. There are seasons to their abuse; but that is no different than the rest of us. They are not there for a handout; but they do take a shower so that they can feel human and drink the same coffee and eat the same donuts the rest of us do. Some of them do not take a shower, ever, and they still drink the same coffee and eat the same donuts as the rest of us.
Some of them live criminally. That is not a metaphor. They can be dangerous. One who worshipped with us is now facing up to 30 years in prison; another significant jail time. Yet they are part of Christ's body (judge not, lest you be judged our Lord once said). They are the prisoner, the alien, the widow, and the orphan in our midst. They are broken and hurting members; but members none-the-less. Some of them are very racist and can't help lying every other breath. Some of them love and forgive unconditionally. Are they that different than anyone else?
Some of them need a warm place to be. Some of them really love Jesus, even though they can't walk a straight line. Some like to talk about football, or baseball. Some of them work. They have families they love. They have pets they love. Quite a few of them are military veterans who served their country. They like fried chicken and barbecue. They make bad decisions. They are victims of physical and sexual abuse. Some of them are going to die soon because they've made poor health choices. How different are we?
Some of them know the Bible better than the average Christian. Turns out being homeless gives you quite a bit of free time to read. Sometimes they interrupt our services because they are trying to give out hugs to everyone in the front row and dance while too drunk to stand. Sometimes they start shouting at the preacher while trying to shoot out some Jedi force-lighting from their finger tips because the human mind is a fragile thing and they aren't coping well that day.
Many would give you whatever, or everything they had, if you asked and needed it. A lot of weeks they minister to me.
I am not a better Christian, and our church is not a better church because they are with us and we seek to see them as human. We are simply a church seeking to love who we have been asked to love and serve those we have been asked to serve. We don't do it perfectly and in fact a lot of weeks we probably suck at it. Still, I'd rather not be anywhere else right now, shoulder to shoulder with my drunken homeless friends, because in them I see the light of Christ at work in the world.