Friday, July 22, 2011

You sir, have broken your word

Hope and I meet at the church following our meeting at Councilmember Brewer’s office. Mim has gone on to save us a table at Popovers where we’ll meet next in this day of 90+ degree heat. There were representatives of the Landmarks Conservancy, Friends of West-Park, Landmark West!, the Belnord and a professiona fundraiser. We left feeling that for the first time we had the chance at a comprehensive, community based long term strategic committee that could build a long term future. I look to see where Hiope is in these moments. And she, too, feels encouraged. 

We stressed that our priorities were boiler, elevator, pigeons, sustaining funds....then exterior. 
We stop to pick up Danielle then into the air conditioning of Popovers.   Ted and Katherine are there, too. Before getting back together with Marc and Sarah, we need to clarify where we are. To distinguish between producing, presenting and just renting.  What criteria do we have for events that we will produce? Looking for the intersection of beauty and justice, ethics and esthetics.  Talk again about going beyond  socially didactic art. Mim agrees that the artistic expression itself can be a form of activism. Lot of talk around spirituality. A word that’s positive, negative, empty? The difference between transformation and material based activism. Arts and culture, intergenerational education, social and sprirtual engagement pathways to transformation.  All towards the end of building a more just, humane and sustainable world. Katherine’s going to work with these words.  

Katherine tells me there are two Jehovah's Witnesses outside under the scaffolding handing out tracks. Do I want people to think that's what we're about? she asks. Of course not, I say, why don't you move them along? I'm semi-reasing her. She goes over to  speak to  them. At first they protest that it's a public sidewalk, but Katherine  points to our scaffolding overhead.  By the time I get there, they're down to shaking ands and wishing us a good day. 
Hajee is wating for us when we return. He’s regaling Sarah with stories of Kashmir. When he sees me, he comes and says in that brit subcon accent, Where is my money?
I explain that yesterday I had it. He had said that he would come back in the afternoon and didn’t. 
Oh but I was very north of here. I had no phone. 
And I have no money with me. I talked about Goddard-Riverside, where he might find real help.
 As he goes to the door he says, All we have in this world is the word, then looking at me with his intense charcoal eyes he goes on, and you sir, have broken your word.  And he turns and goes. 
Seems like the contract and pr blurb issues are resolved for now. Sarah, Danielle and I plan the next meeting with the session, talk about film series, other programming. Dream. Real. Hard. 

Jeremy, Jane and I talking about a new Wednesday night worship possibilty using Jeremy’s music. Bible study. Serious teaching. That part’s easy. The content, the how, is harder. Not always clear that Jane really hears where I’m coming from here. Thinking about the differing needs of our two congregations. I’m looking for intersections. How to build at that intersection.
Jeremy says If we could get people of means and people of little means to share a sacred space, a song, a moment, that would be enough.  And I agree. That’s what I want, need. Maybe Genesis is the place to begin.  The conversation will continue. 

Our neighbor Elles is passing by. With some extra oxygen because if the heat. Says worries about air quality keep her fro coming inside. Lots of breathing issues.
The prophet has been sitting outside. Stripped to the waist again. Wrapped in cloth. Straw hat again. There is a wet path down the steps and onto the sidewalk, the strong smell of beer. I say, gentle as I can, Excuse me sir, what happened here? Hoping I’m not implying anything. He looks at me, looks down, puts his head on his knees. I say, Look, if you ever need to go, just come inside. We’ve got bathrooms. I hope I didn’t hurt him. Wasn’t the idea . I go inside. When I come back, he’s gone. 

Ready to leave. I notice that someone has left a bag with canned fruit cups and spoons. Consider throwing it away.  Decide to leave it.

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