Thursday, June 9, 2011

Forgive us our debts

The shopping cart is finally gone. But the cardboard bed is back. Two in fact. Who’s been sleeping here?
Norm comes in very excited. He’s figured out a way to mount the archival exhibit, easily.  It should be delivered by Thursday and we’ve got a crew to mount it on Saturday.  
Danielle and I planning the week, what can be done to make the concerts happen. Mim comes in, to catch up on recent events, to bring us lunch, cheer us on. It’s clear we need to get a cleaning service, ultimately a janitor. We can’t do it all.  
The days go by way too quickly.
Signs are up announcing auditions for Woodshed’s The Tenant. The front doors are closed, so when I go in the side, the woman there wants to know if I’m there to audition. I tell her that I work here, she smiles. 
Danielle is on the phone with Amanda. Time is running short for concert work. There’s a knot in my stomach that just won’t go away. Too many details left. Danielle is cheered that someone bought six tickets for Andre’s concert and is making them available to anyone who wants.  Then a woman comes in with her bicycle to buy a ticket. She’s with the New Amsterdam Singers. Toured with Andre. Remembers the difficult time when he attempted a comeback after his injury.  We need some more like her.
A young man named Jonas is looking at our brochure. I ask can I help him. He says, Isn’t debt forgiveness important to Presbyterians? And I say Yes, that when we say the Lord’s prayer, we say forgive us our debts as we forgive our debtors instead of forgive us our trespasses. And I don’t really know why. And he explains that what he’s really interested in is international debt forgiveness. And I say, Oh, and yes I’m sure that we have a policy on that. 
I do a quick google and tell him that in 1998, the General Assembly, the denomination’s highest governing body,  endorsed and supported the ‘definitive cancellation of international debt in situations where countries with high levels of human need and environmental distress are unable to meet the needs of their people. . . in a way that benefits ordinary people and facilitates their participation in the processes of. . . debt relief.

He tells me that this was the topic for his master’s work. I give him the url for the whole report and he seems satisfied. There was a striking intensity to his questions, his eyes as he looked at me as I answered. He talks more about countries like Nicaragua, Haiti, more, denying their people the most basic resources in order to pay back debt. In many cases, the principle long since paid back. There's something draconian, if not demonic, about the whole reality.  We shake hands and he goes out the door. 
There are signs to make, e-mails to send....

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