Thursday, April 26, 2012

Lost between the first and twenty first centuries


National Nurses Union Scrubs

Sunday leftovers....yesterday was Arcadia’s birthday...Jennifer, the young woman from West Virginia with a dream of musical theatre was back...Marieve, a violinist from Quebec was town for a concert. We talk about Le Domain Forget,  90 miles north of Quebec on the St. Lawrence River where my son Micah went several years for a summer music festival... And roadside artery clogging poutin stands...
The retired FDNY man who works for our broker has come in for an inspection. Teddy had taken him around for the whole tour, sharing stories of an FDNY uncle. Our inspector has a good spirit. Feels like he’s on our side. What we need to do is doable, Teddy’s ready to help. We meet with Steve to figure out our plan, who can do what. When I step outside, I see Anna with Puppy. She eyes me, conspirationally. You have an inspector in there, she says. I eye her back, I know. 
Rafael takes me aside for a conversation. Tells me why he’ll be moving out. Makes me sad. He’s been a big help. Part of our congregation. Saved me more than once. I hope he’ll be back.
The social workers, Rev.Mary, Suzy and Jessica have all come to meet with me to talk about plans for our coop. Making individual plans for every member. Sadly, they won’t be able to stay together. Makes me really sad. And we need to find a way to lift up, celebrate what has happened here over these months. Time is uncertain, but running short.
Leo and Paula, old friends from the 29th Street Rep are in with an idea for a benefit performance for a friend of Paula’s. They’ve got a good idea for a two part  evening. I always loved the edgy quality of 29th Street productions. Paula a brave actor, Leo an incisive director. It will be good to have them here, even for a night. 
Anna has said that some of our night visitors gather an smoke crack. I know her witness is often, well,  creative. But Teddy takes me to the steps, reaches up on a ledge and shows me stem stuffers, used to compact the rock. Damn. 
RL comes by just to say that Harvey’s upcoming birthday party will be postponed. He wants to wait until Luba, the one in that Dvorak family, will be back. 
The National Nurses Union medical staff drops by. They’ve got scrubs for us. With their own agenda clearly printed. The have been great. I feel honored. 

The NNU agenda

Tonight begins the Bible Study Sekou and I will lead on the Gospel according to Mark. We start out asking people what their relationship to the Bible is. Answers vary from the very personal to the intellectual. But there is this sense of wanting comfort, to feel connectd beyond oneself and a desire to live better.

Then we ask about relationship to Occupy. For us, any scripture has a particularity, comes from a particular time and place. With particular socio-econmic-political context informing the text. The question will be what was that context. The point being to help us better connect with our context, our particularity. 
Sekou is going for an anti-imperial reading with Mark’s author subverting Roman Empire literary conventions, from Gospel to Son of God. John H reads those same texts as pro-Roman. They’ve got good back and forth around those concerns, based in the same literature. Sunday morning John pulls us back to the present. 
John H has done almost as much Biblical research as he has Shakepseare. And has serious concerns about the anti-Jewish polemic use of these texts and the genocidal effect of that propaganda throughout history. Sekou takes the traditional Markan primacy position, John H argues for Matthew.  And Sekou witnesses to the authority that comes from lived faith, from his grandparents. Their prayers, sermons, songs. The three level content of those songs, telling the Biblical story, critiquing the slave society and giving secret messages about escape. 
It’s a good night. We keep having to come back to so what. We go later than I expected, lost somewhere between the first and twentyfirst centuries. 


On a cold and rainy Tuesday, Steve, Chris, Teddy organizing tasks to get our place ready. A day of hard work. The St. Agnes work crew joins in.

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