Sunday, September 12, 2010

Hugging Men In Underwear

My friend and fellow tweep from Twitter @ChristieSays took this photo while she was at First United Methodist Church in Port Orange, FL. Her photo was the inspiration behind this post.

Hugging people we know is easy. It's easy to hug people that agree with us, look like us and act like us.

In church it's easy to hug the person you see every Sunday. It's safe. It's comfortable. But what about the single mother in the back row who has lost hope and can't pay the bills? What about the man who lost everything and came to church as a last resort? What about the drunk who came to seek comfort from people instead of his bottle? What about the man who is crying and considering suicide? Are you going to hug him? What about the man sitting in the corner by himself? Last night his wife discovered pornography on their computer. Are you going to hug him?

I love it when the church moves outside the walls to hug people that don't come to church on Sunday or any other day of the week. These amazing soldiers of God don't burn books or yell at strippers. Instead they take their hugs to the hurting, the lonely, the marginalized and the poor.

For the second year, various churches and ministries dropped any and all differences and brought hugs to Holly Hill, Florida. It warmed my heart to see the church doing what Jesus has asked us to do. These nutty Christ followers washed feet, cut hair, served food, gave away backpacks, passed out clothes and hugs.


One of my she-roes is Susan Kelley. She was at yesterday's event in Holly Hill. Susan hugs homeless, lost, dirty, stinky, drunk and depressed people everyday at the Daytona Outreach Center. It's easy to go to a homeless shelter and pass out food or free gifts during the holiday season. Susan and her husband Ray actually live with and love the homeless everyday. One of the men that live with them called Susan "mom" yesterday. Susan hugs me all of the time. She does hug like a "mom". In the photo below you'll see Susan doing what she does best: hugging messy people.

Susan and Eugenia

Yesterday while I was hanging out with Ray and Susan one of my homeless friends walked up to me. He looked me in the eye and softly said, "Mike, Jesus loves you and so do I." Then he hugged me. He smelled like urine, body odor and alcohol. It's strange. His hug made the smell go away.

The few, the proud and the brave are courageous enough to take hugs to the most controversial of places. Recently a group of Christ followers went to a Gay Pride parade. One of those zany Christ followers hugged a man in his underwear. See the photo below.

I looked for a quote to close this post. I thought this quote from Princess Diana was perfect.

“HIV does not make people dangerous to know, so you can shake their hands and give them a hug : Heaven knows they need it.”


  1. Many Christians feel the need to apologize for fellow Christians' actions. I think it's far better to let our own actions speak for us. Very nice, Mike.

  2. Jesus with skin on. Love it. Lord help us be faithful to love as He does. Thank you Mike.

  3. You're beautiful brother (and Susan and Ray). I am so glad that you are free enough to really share your love with those that need it most. I heard about the 'indwelling' but didn't know what it was until I saw it in the paper. It was loving the community. Philip

  4. This is awesomely refreshing man. I love it. There's nothing like just loving people for the sake of doing it. Not with an agenda to "convert" them, just to love like Jesus did.

    Thanks for this, it brightened my otherwise hugless day.

  5. "I love it when the church moves outside the walls to hug people that don't come to church on Sunday or any other day of the week."

    Me too - and I desire that we do more of it.

  6. I love that you're always encouraging people to be their best with others. People like you, Mike, change the world!

  7. We are truly called to love and not judge... It is time to leave the judging to God and focus on the loving.

  8. Mike, Such true words you write my dear man. Thank you for helping all of us to open aour eyes and our hearts more fully! Christ conciousness is being open enough to look past what the mind thinks it sees and see more clearly the truth that is true in each of us! Thank you for sending us all hugs! And yes I am in my underwear!

    Jeff Allen

  9. Amen Brother Mike! Great post...always reminds me of what Jesus says in Mathew 25, "If you've done it to the least of these my brethren, you've done it unto Me"....Love in action!

  10. I miss hugging you Mike Ellis!

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