Posts Tagged ‘homeless’

Coexist For a Good Cause

I work at a Christian-based non-profit organization called Mobile Loaves & Fishes, which feeds and houses the homeless in six cities across the U.S.  It was originally founded as a ministry of the St. John Neumann Catholic Church in Austin, Texas.  I applied to work here because I wanted to go home at the end of the day and feel like I’d made a positive contribution to the world.

The person who interviewed me is member of the Catholic clergy.   As my affiliations with Muslim organizations are very prominent on my resume, it was amusing to watch him choose his words delicately.  With great effort to avoid breaking employment laws, he attempted to find out how comfortable I would be working in a Christian environment.  I assured him as best I could that it would not be a problem for me.

Read the rest of this entry →

Share

16

07 2011

Islam and Consumerism I: Empathy Overtook Apathy?

In this first installment of a series of articles on consumerism, I share a personal story that illustrates my experience with a society that neglects its poor and downtrodden and prefers material wealth and consumer goods over a holistic, felicitous society. While a short narrative might seem a strange way to open up a topic like consumerism, I think it humanizes the concept well.

It was a cold, gray day in downtown Detroit. We sat in the Pontiac sedan, surrounded by brown paper sacks full of sandwiches and snacks. We searched for the less fortunate living on the frozen concrete. Block after block…no luck.

And there she was. I asked her if she was hungry and approached her with a sack lunch. Her watery eyes squinted and her forehead squeezed as she pleaded for a ride to the local church shelter. Her voice, roughened by age and shrill with desperation, cut through this heart.
Read the rest of this entry →

Share

08

08 2010

Authentic Moments

There was a homeless man smoking on the train today. No, this is not your usual socio-political commentary. He appeared like a character out of a Baldwin novel and had a look on him that said “F— you world.” The kind that rebuked every one of his critics on that ride and demanded they walk a day in his shoes. Even more entertaining to watch were the reactions his act of defiance provoked. One particular woman sitting to the side and perpendicular to him looked on with disgust. There was a strong confidence in her condemnation and yet there was no doubt in my mind that had he locked eyes with her, she would have put her mask right back on and turned away. My expression must have given away my amusement because the man sitting directly across from me glanced over with this knowing look, as if to say “The man’s got chutzpah…and I know you think so too.”

And then there was everyone else, most of whom were attempting the peripheral vision trick. You know, when you look but you’re really not looking because you were taught that it’s improper to stare. Apparently there’s more dignity in backhandedly devouring our subject with our assumptions. I imagined he could feel the arrows as they came shooting out of our eyes, but could care less. He remained poise, calmly puffing his cigarette every few minutes.
Read the rest of this entry →

Share

01

08 2010