DAVIDSON, N.C., April 14 (UPI) -- A new statue depicting Jesus as a homeless man sleeping on a bench outside a church in Davidson, N.C., has residents talking -- for better and worse.
The $22,000 statue, installed at St. Alban's Episcopal Church, features Jesus huddled under a blanket with his face and hands obscured. Viewers can tell it's him based on the crucifixion wounds on his feet.
Some residents felt the statue was offensive and insulting; some even believed it was an actual homeless person on a bench.
The Rev. David Buck, the rector of the church, said he appreciates the discussion the statue has prompted.
"It gives authenticity to our church," he said. "This is a relatively affluent church, to be honest, and we need to be reminded ourselves that our faith expresses itself in active concern for the marginalized of society."
"We believe that that's the kind of life Jesus had," Buck added. "He was, in essence, a homeless person."
The statue was purchased as a memorial for parishioner Kate McIntyre.