The Christian movement, in the beginning, was characterized through a radical communal commitment of solidarity. The most economically vulnerable, the widows and orphans, were cared for from out of the common purse and contributions of the faithful. Can you imagine such solidarity today? For example, what would happen in your congregation if an elderly single woman were to be evicted from her low-income apartment as it's transformed into a condo? In our time, the congregation might fret and worry, mumble about the awful situation, but then move on because in capitalist America, Christian solidarity is an unknown practice.
In the early Christian movement, many were imprisoned, some because of debt, others because of political dissent. Local congregations would redeem the debts of their members, and would care for the financial needs of the imprisoned and their families. If a member was unemployed, the congregation would help him find a job, providing for his needs in the meantime. It could not be otherwise. Baptism, a water ritual, signified that the baptized was now a member of Christ's literal body, risen from death. Being a member of a new communal body meant that when one rejoiced, all rejoiced; when one suffered, all suffered. Baptismal solidarity was definitive of the early Christian movement.
When we compare the solidarity of the early Christian movement to the individualism of today's typical Christian, it must cause red-faced, shamed embarrassment in Heaven. Jesus must roll over, face down in the grave, saturated with bitter tears. It has to be hard for a pastor to baptize a child in the midst of a congregation knowing that, in truth, the congregation will not help raise the child, nor care for the child if trouble arises. Indeed, for proof of this one need look no further than the treatment of the homeless.
Many of the homeless were baptized in a church. Many of the homeless are Christian in worldview and affirmation. It seems to me that the homeless have a claim on the local congregation. As a child of the Church, they have a debt in need of redemption. And the Church, to be true to its baptismal solidarity with the crucified yet risen Christ, has an obligation to offer concrete, practical redemption.
Or, in other words, although a local congregation cannot do all things, it can do some things, and one thing it can do is to live in solidarity with the homeless: contemporary orphans abandoned by individualistic capitalism. A local congregation could reaffirm its baptism, practicing solidarity, offering the basics of shelter, storage, and networking so that those who want to move from homelessness to housing may do so. Such expression of faith would truly stun the nation, and people would again say of such solidarity, "My, how they love one another."