Today I have a rather long piece up at The Other Journal, detailing some of my experience in that bastion of American consumerism–the shopping mall.
It is one of the few pieces I have written since moving here in September that talks about my day-to-day life. I feel like I am constantly learning and growing in my ability to discern what is valuable and truthful, and what just feels good to write in the moment.
In any case, this is a piece that spells out a certain arc in my life–the one that brought me to a place of realizing my own story was irrevocably tied up with the poor.
Here’s an excerpt:
I never used to know the poor, and this was such a comfort to me. I could envision how I had helped them, in so many small ways, just based on what I had bought that day, the kind of grocery store I frequented. I didn’t know their names or heartbreaks or triumphs or dreams or visions. But then I started to read the words of Jesus, and he kept talking about them all the time; David too, and all the prophets many times over. And they all said the same thing, in so many words: blessed, blessed, blessed are the poor.
And conversely, to everyone else, to those with their boots on the necks of the poor, the rich and ruling, to those who wined and dined while suffering and misery was outside their door, those who offered sacrifices to God but did not treat others with mercy or kindness, it was all woe, woe, woe. And there came a point when I couldn’t ignore it away anymore: in the hierarchy of economics, I most certainly was at the top. And scripturally, this wasn’t the safest place to be. I found Jesus telling me to sell everything, give to the poor, devote myself to a king and a kingdom that was not going to come through the normal, powerful channels. And in return he promised me real relationship with God, the blessings of seeing miracles, and the heartaches and joys of community based in mutuality.