“The characteristic place to find Christians is among their enemies. The first place to look for Christ is in Hell.” – William Stringfellow (1928–1985), author, My People Is the Enemy.
These aren’t just words. After Harvard Law School, Constitutional attorney Bill Stringfellow moved into an East Harlem tenement apartment on the block the New York Times then called the “worst” in the city, turning down lucrative NYC corporate law firm job offers. The first of his many books, My People Is the Enemy – a theological reflection on racism and poverty in America- opens with an unusual sentence:
“The stairway smelled of piss.”
All these years later, Stringfellow’s words sound strange to many Christians and non-Christians alike who see the Christian life as the search for moral purity and the climb into a Hell-free afterlife. You want to meet Christ? According to the author of An Ethic for Christians and Other Aliens in a Strange Land, Christ will meet you from among your enemies and in the Hell of human suffering racism and wealth create.
- Gordon C. Stewart, Chaska, MN, January 27, 2016