Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Alive with possibility

Jeremy has come with a visua artist/vidographer who has done some intriguing work with the body and images. They are working on an installation with music for Sunday’s first service with Jane.
The Daily News arrives three days late. They will of course miss our people in action but the photographer wants to do portrait shots. We go to the balcony and then the main floor. Lots of shots. 
Mim and Sarah and Danielle and Jane and I are all meeting with Lisa to continue development of our boiler fund raising strategy. I can feel it coming together. I feel also the excitement of the arrival of Jane's community into our space. It feels like a logjam has broken, water beginning to flow freely.
A TV productions guy who has  come to the Tenant wants to get  a closer look at the space and discuss us a sa possible home for a new show, the Failure Club, folks wanting one last chance to make a dream come true, how failure first can lead to making the dream become real. There at least two spaces that look like they could work.  I explain as well, that we are more than raw space, that he just described our raison d’aitre. How I’d said to the Woodshed actors, if you have a dream you want to make come true,this is a place to do that. I take him outside, show him the banner, Dream. Real. Hard. 
Marty is on the steps.
The last two days were like June. 
They were beautiful.
Tell me , Reverend, while you’re walking around, are you working on your sermon?
All the time.
My father always did that. 
What was his name?
Noah. Rabbi Noah Kaplan. He wrote many books. Do you read Hebrew? Anyways he wrote in Yiddish. Famous rabbis wrote forwards in his books. How many baseball caps do you have? I have  a book at home, How to Make Money in the Stock Market Without a Broker. 
So Marty, you’re gonna get into day trading?
No, no, that’s gambling, Reverend. The Bible is against gambling, It’s no good. I found out the hard way. You know what I’m doing here?
Looking for tips?
No. It’s too hot over there, the sun’s too hot. 
Listen, I have to go inside, you take care, ok?
He touches his finger to his forehead, nods. And I go inside. 
Boxer Mike is hard at work, reorganizing the narthex, sweeping. His Ipod shuffle playing Dylan. Danielle is talking with some flamenceros who’d like not hold some classes here. 
Jeremy is practicing. He tells me he told Jane not to use his nose story in a sermon. She tells him to wait before introuducing headbanging to the liturgy. And we talk about the marine from Queens who went one one on one with the police over treatment of protestors. How some people questioned hs legitimacy. And how it turns out he was at Fallujah. 
(There’s no homor in what you are doing, Why are you in riot gear? Masks and shields and clubs? Why? They have no weapons, no guns. They are unarmed. They are citizens. I fought to protect these people. My whole family did. You want hurt people? Go to Afghanistan. Go to Iraq. Join the miitary. )
We talk about how soldiers are in and out, police careerists. Putting on the blue puts a barrier between them and others, a barrier like their steel barricades.  Even though they too are part of the 99%. I tell him of a young man who grew up in the church, now on the NYPD. In repsonse to one of my posts, he replied, Stay safe, pastor.
Someone has come in. That I was expecting more like $20 guy. Tells me he’s just out of the hospital. Tells me about overcoming cocaine. Becoming a Christian. That SPSA threw him out when he told the student pastor he was against same sex marriage. That it was against the Bible. Wrong. (Well, I know it was more complicated than that.) I look in my pocket, I’ve only got $5 which I give. He looks annoyed. He wants a job. It’s hard I tell him that’s why people are occupyign Wall Street. And he says, So that’s it. And I say Yes, that and more. 
Tell him that ifhe really wants to get it together, he can take an Interfaith Assembly employment readiness class. Give him the number. 
Emily from Woodshed has arrived with a four person crew and is ready to get to work. Garbage is being bagged and dragged out. B ottles gathered for recycling. Floors swept.
I feel exhausted, bu tthere’s the equivalent of a work day left before I’m done. I’m off to meet Chloe Breyer of the Interfaith Center. 
Back at the church, there's a  warm glow in the sanctuary. There's a table up front, a group gathered around in soft light deeply engaged in a conversation on Forgiveness facilitated by Eleanor. It's a good table, Jane, a divorce attorney, a psychologist, a strategic advisor to CEO's, some local congregation members and of course filmmaker Helen Whitney. And me. Sarah's up front. It's clear that a safe space had been created. Long standing hurts were beign explored. Given that acknowledgement is so critical, how do you forgive someone who doesn't realize what they've done? How do we forgive someone who has died? How do you let go of the past? What is lost by letting go? Gained? Is all suffering the same?, ie, is the suffering if one who has lost half a million a year from amillion plus income the same as someone who can't find s job? The hurt of the gay person excluded from ministry the same as the person for whom their presence causes pain? Even at the end, people aren't ready to stop. This conversation, in this place, is sacred, holy. This study, this conversation is worship.  It is exactly what we are here for.

What we want the Center  to be, it already is. It's happening. Now about money...
Emily and her crew are still hard at work as I leave. 
Outside, Edward and Paul are sleep on the sidewalk. Alseep while waiting for our doors to close. 
I walk Jane home. it's been a good day. A good night. Alive with the real sense of possibility.

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