Sunday, June 15, 2014

....and I hope they stay dead.

It is Sunday morning, and I am standing in line in the basement of Travis Park Methodist church. The basement walls are unsmoothed stone, the original foundation of the building dating back to the 1800's. It is here that for the past 15 years a hot breakfast has been served to the homeless. Pancakes, eggs, fruit, hot coffee and cold milk, it is one of the best meals of the week for my fellow brothers and sisters of the street.

The line is long and wraps around the outer walls of the basement. As always it is packed, around 200 homeless have come. The mood is upbeat and pleasent, as it normally is. For the most part folk are polite and patient, the opposite of what one would expect considering how haggard (and sometimes smelly) many of the attendees are. Here a schizophrenic woman, normally barely capable of a regular conversation, plucks away at a piano and improvises a haunting yet beautiful melody. There a group of 8 or so individuals sits at a long row of tables painting, their artwork over the years adorning the otherwise bare walls in a truly unique art gallery. Here sits a group of teenagers chatting loudly about pokemon, there sits a lone veteran savoring his first cup of coffee.

As I stand in the slow moving line I pull out the book tucked under my arm and begin to read. Just before I enter the cafeteria one of the Pastors of the church waits with a friendly handshake a list of prayer requests. Graying hair and neatly trimmed beard, he is affable, his handshake firm and his concern for his fellow man genuine. Spotting my book he asks "Good book?" I close the book and show him the title. THE DEATH OF CONSERVATISM. He grins ear to ear.

"Good" he says in his gentle baritone, and with a look of supreme satisfaction continues "And I hope it stays that way."

This has often been my experience with the majority of Christians whom work with the poor and homeless in San Antonio. A complete rejection of modern conservatism and its approach to otherizing the poor. I had never believed that there were truly people whom actually did follow the teachings of Jesus until I came here. Time and again, my cynicism has given way as an outstretched hand, a warm smile, and a plate of hot food were offered by the most genuine people I have ever personally met.

No matter what the Paul Ryan's and David Brat's of the world might believe, and no matter how delusional the Tea Party might be in its modern version of "right thinking", Christians whom truly serve the poor and whom truly believe in the teachings of a man named Jesus do exist. And here in San Antonio at least, they are a growing majority.

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