The story of the day – perhaps the story of many days if they can resist taking shots at Trump, is the furniture store owner who made his two stores shelters for displaced Houstonians. “Mattress Mack” McIngvale (don’t you love the guy already?), ever philanthropic, says the city has helped him through tough times and now he will give back.
The generous deed put “poor” Joel Osteen in a bad light, for he was roundly condemned the day before for not opening his mega-church to the homeless - it seats 17,000. One fellow on Twitter declared the score: Publicity Capitalism 1, Prosperity Gospel 0.
This is unfair. Why credit publicity capitalism? That is merely the tool employed. Mattress Mack credits his Catholic faith. “I was raised as a Catholic. I continued my Catholic faith throughout my life, trying to do the right thing,” he says.
A good deed is a good deed. Credit it instantly and unbegrudgingly. It doesn’t mean I’m going Catholic on anyone. It doesn’t mean I think the overall picture favors them. But a good deed is a good deed.
And before slamming Joel too much, one must ask what do Jehovah’s Witnesses do with their meeting places. I’m not worried here. Assembly Halls are invariably put to good use as distribution hubs for relief work, which starts almost immediately – its regular use is suspended for a time. Kingdom Halls are also put to good use, though regular use there is not suspended. Or is it? I don’t really know, having never been in that scenario, but I don’t think so. Witness families, however, are known for taking each other into their homes in a heartbeat.
As for Joel – look, I don’t care for the guy – does he ever wipe that smile off his face? - but neither do I want to take cheap shots. He did eventually come around. Was he shamed into it? Or would he have gotten around to it eventually, once access to his own building was made smoothe. You can’t depend on the media to relay things accurately – they are anti-religious.
Nonetheless, Mattress Mack is the hero of the day. It’s not as though he had two cavernous buildings wide open. He must have had to have move his mattresses somewhere. Go there and buy one – take it off his hands. Or actually no. He would have just flopped his mattresses down and let people sleep on them.
It turns out that Mattress Mack is more generous than I realized. I had assumed he would have to somehow clean out his furniture store to make it a homeless shelter. Instead, he just opened the doors and let them flop down on any couch or bed they could find.
How can anyone not love this guy? He's in the right place and the right time, and he does not squander that opportunity.
And as to Osteem? He reportedly said God sent Harvey so as to test us. I think not. If anything, he sent Osteem to test us, for he is having that effect. God's sends hurricanes? It is 'been there done that' on this blog, and any Jehovah's Witness knows it. He didn't send even one of them.
photo: Times Square Chronicles