including the out caste
Gandhi -- it is said -- liked Jesus very much but found Christians a bit hard to deal with at times. The Jesus of the synoptic traditions -- Mark and Q -- builds his ragtag army out of the rabble that good clean folks would rather not associate with. He also seems to go out of his way to touch lepers and others that would contaminate him from a cultic perspective. I imagine that's what Gandhi found so endearing about him.
So, how do we, people of faith, cope with this witness today?
A minority of self-identified Christians (of which I am NOT one) have committed themselves to direct contact and interaction with the poorest of the poor. Mother Teresa and Oscar Romero are only two prominent names that most might recognize. But there are thousands of others who do not make the cultural radar including many whose motivations are ideological rather than faith-based, such as the Food Not Bombs networks.
But while these folks are legion they remain a minority. Christianity has become a quiet middle-class church rather than a ratty social movement. We deal with the poor and the sinners with social programs that alleviate the suffering but don't particularly include the out castes into our social circles.
Jesus did not feed the poor. He didn't create social programs, food banks, counselling centres. He hung out with folks, when to street parties, taverns and likely brothels.
When you give food to the hungry, they call you a saint. But when you ask why the hungry have no food, they call you a communist.