Someone has recently taken up permanent residence on a park bench outside St. Alban's Episcopal Church in Davidson, N.C.
It's "Homeless Jesus," a bronze sculpture by Timothy Schmalz installed in February, which depicts Jesus lying on a park bench under a blanket. His face and hands are covered. His feet, wounded from the crucifixion, are exposed.
"It makes people think about their faith commitment and the plight of the homeless in this country," the Rev. David Buck, St. Alban's minister, told USA TODAY Network.
It's "life-size, interactive, and in keeping with our church's commitment to social justice," he said, noting that the church considers art to be connected to spiritual growth.
The community, which Buck describes as "affluent," has mostly expressed positive reactions to the piece, he says, adding that everyone from atheists to conservative Christians have expressed admiration.
Not everyone has appreciated the statue's life-like appearance, though.
"It's a rather intimidating sight, especially at dusk when it looks like a real person," Buck said, saying he has received a few complaints. The park bench is on church property, but it faces a public road and is near an entrance to a neighborhood.
One woman even called the police when she drove by it , WCNC in Charlotte reports in a February story, saying she was "concerned for the safety of the neighborhood."
The woman, Cindy Castano Swannack, also told the station she disagrees with the message of the sculpture, saying Jesus was "not a vagrant" and not someone "who needs our help," according to WCNC.
Buck says he respects those who do not like the sculpture, but disagrees.
"We wanted to remind ourselves that our faith expresses itself not in beautiful buildings only, but mainly in care for those less fortunate, the marginalized," he said.
A church member gave the statue as a gift in memory of Kate MacIntyre, a former member who died of cancer in 2007. MacIntyre loved public art and helped start art initiatives in the Davidson community, Buck said.
"Homeless Jesus" cost $22,000, but the church did not foot any of the bill, according to Buck.
Follow @lagrisham on Twitter