Friday, April 6, 2012

Thirty-fifth day of lent: Thin lines

The day begins with a meeting of the Center Executive committee to analyze the formidable   array of cahllenges now facing us. It seems unsurmountable,but there is no alternative to digging in with courage and creativity.
Next is a  meeting with Mary and Jessica, social workers with #ows. They want to review the situation with our coop. Nothing I didn’t expect. We’ve got a lot of folks with a lot of needs. Lots of folks recovering from a wide variety of traumas. Some military. Others closer to home. Or home itself,  to be exact. One or  two who need special attention. Several who have grown incredibly and shouldered responsibility and taken care of others.  And that some who are higher functioning have become frustrated and need to be more realsitic as to what can be acomplished. 
Need to get contact info for everyone. Perhaps they’d be open to some leadership development, or better, team building. An orientation to everything available from medical would also be helpful. Our clinic has a lot to offer. 
We also do some more review of the M17/18 actions. The internal wrangling of #ows over strategy, tactics, commitments. Remembering what Sekou said about how in the US in 2012, only the non-violent approach can capture the American imagination. We need to continue to build with those ready to make that commitment. If even small steps at a time. But then back to our coop.
At first, I feel I have to stretch to find the political content. I recall what Max Bean had said about his being drawn to the possibilitites of a social movement. And thinking about it, that social project  itself does have politcal content. Perhaps even radical content.
Hope and I are talking about this when Anna approaches with her little dog, Puppy. The early part is solid, about Dan. What he left at her apartment. The paintings from Berik. But it continues. And continues. Hope goes back inside. I remain.
Later in the day, Hope, Danielle and I meet with the Coop. Time to talk about an  exit strategy, the need to set a goal, progressively moves towards it. There’s a lot of frustration on one side, silence on the other. Interpesonal issues arise. I rewind. Go back to how much they’ve accomplished, grown since they’ve been here. How much they’ve added to our community.How much they are appreciated. Then get back to the agenda for movement that we began with. (Truth is, I don’t look forward to their leaving, they’ve brought life and community into the building.)
Later, as Hope and I are talking, we reflect on what is happening. Even normal people (whatever normal means) would get frayed under their current living situation. Their dysfunction only a matter of degree from what we experience in our own Session. And lets not even talk about Presbytery and its endless acrimony filled meetings with acting out through ecclesaustical polity games. We’re talking thin lines here. 
Tonight’s Bible Study focuses on the Seven Last Words of Jesus as drama and story.
1.Father forgive them, for they know not what they do (Luke 23:34)
2. Truly, I say to you, today you will be with me in paradise (Luke 23:43)
3. Woman, behold your son: behold your mother (John 19:26-27).
4. My God, My God, why have you forsaken me, (Matthew 27:46 and Mark 15:34).
5. I thirst (John 19:28)
6. It is finished (John 19:30)
7. Father, into your hands I commit my spirit (Luke 23:46). 
I see Anna and Puppy coming in and immediately get anxious. Her question before  we begin with a quasi-scientific medical theory about the resurrection doesn’t help. But when we begin, she’s on target like a laser. She quckly notices that the first two and last two are inner directed and the middle three inner directed. We talk about what if these were the only words we had? What plot line could we discover?
And of course, much discussion focuses on My God, my God why hast thou forsaken me? Which leads to a a close reading of Psalm 22. Tracing its arc, we find the basic plot line of the crucifixion story with its beginning with personal abandoment and anguish, excruciating physical agony. Then personal redemption. Then cosmic signifcance. Then we looked at each Gospel writer, their own selection of words. Finding pieces of Psalm 22 in the other gospels.
Was it just masterful literary craftwork? Did God make it happen that way? Or is there something deeply archetypal about this? Or maybe all three....
I think of Anna. My prejudices. The lesson she taught me. Outside, Wesley and Antonia are settling in for the night. In the midst of it all, all the chaos and craziness, I see he truly loves her and that there is tenderness there. 
Thin lines,thin lines....

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