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Saturday, August 18, 2012

Yeshua comes for a visit


8/17
We’re getting ready for a critical meeting with our proposed partner. Teddy brings me outside. There’s an 83 year old man, Antonio, beside the steps with two large dogs. I try talking to him. He’s got a long convoluted story that involves an SRO, a landlord, a catholic church....I can’t put it together. When I come back later, there’s a young attractive Latina with designer sunglasses talking to him.
She looks up at me. He brought those dogs with him from Puerto Rico, she says. I tell her I’ve tried to get his story. And can’t. You’re not going to, she says, he’s not stable. He’s been on the streets in this neighborhood a long time. I explain that I’ve got to go to a meeting. He stares at me with eyes that pierce and burn like coals. 
All our important people have gathered. All their important people have gathered. They’ve got their real estate rep. We’ve got Jamie. We’re out of time. Can we come to agreement and create a term sheet? Jamie has written clearly all our bottom lines. Makes clear these are not for negotiation. Their guy whispers it’s a fair deal. We agree that Jamie and their guy will meet later this afternoon to try and get it done. It is so close. If we pull this off, we can just barely make it.... can begin to turn our attention to building and growing....if....
Zeljko joins me from Serbia via Skype. He’s finishing work on his documentary about the Serbia anti-aircraft gunner who shout down an American stealth bomber and the pilot who got shot down. He’ll be coming to New York in October an would like to show his film to bet money to finish it. He could bring his other documentaries too. 
And....we’ve got another project. He was taken by Sarah’s slogan for the Center: Dream. Real. Hard. And in our conversation  I had spoken with him  about how what makes New York City special is that everyone who comes here comes with a dream. From immigrant food service workers to artists to run aways to people who couldn’t  survive in their homes or their towns, entreprenuers, occupiers, ....All of us, dreamers. And he would like to  do a documentary about those dreams in October. At West-Park. We’re working on this together. 
Today Nate has joined his brother Daniel working with Martin. It’s great having them both working here. 
Steve has developed an impressive proposal to upgrade West-Park’s stalled Social Media presence. Glen joins us for part of that conversation then we have our own conversation reviewing Dem Dahk Days...He lost a lot financially. But learned a lot too. The next play should be better, but it looks like the Disappeared may need some more work. The playwright's  got another project ready to roll, however....and Glen is determined to see his Little Theater project through. 
Jeremy G comes in to wrap up details for his production in late October. 
OK. The name tag was enough to put me on guard. My next visitor is dressed in a black suit with a fedora like Men in Black. White shirt, no tie.A hipster goatee.  And a name tag that says Yeshua. The caution flags are waving. 
His smile is too intense. Hi, they told me the pastor was in... 
I am.
He points to his name tag. What is this? he asks, it’s a name my grandmother used to call me. 
Doubt that, I say to myself, then to him, It’s the Hebrew for Jesus...
Well how did it get to Jesus from this? still tapping himself on his chest. 
It starts with Yeshua, becomes Iesus in Greek, Jesus in English...like Moishe becomes Moses, Eliahu -Elijah...like  that...
And God’s first name was Jehovah, right?
Well, not exactly. It’ a long story. It’s YHWH, we say Yahweh. Jehovah is a misreading of the Hebrew...
Write that down for me, I have to remember that. And he unpins his name tag and hands it to me...
So if Jesus came back today, how would you know? Would anyone believe him if he said, I’m Jesus? 
I’m preparing myself....Happens all the time. And it’s not about what anyone says. It’s what they do...we’ll know....
Well what about the Book of Revelations? Doesn’t it say....
First of all, it’s Revelation...no s...and it wasn’t written to be a spooky prediction book...it was an outcry from a people experiencing horrific persecution. It felt apocalyptic...written in  code to comfort those living through it...like 666, you know? It’s not spooky. Seven was the number of perfection. It says sometimes evil can be so close to good you can barely tell the difference...John wrote..
John the Baptist?
No, John the apostle, John of Patmos...
I think if Jesus come back he’d be with the poor, the lonely, the addicted...
And I agree...
Are you angry?
Sometimes.
Well I’m fucking angry. Fucking angry.  It’s a beautiful world. And people fuck it up. we hurt each other...I’m fucking angry...and his eyes have that intense look.
I don’t understand a  lot of it. There’s mystery...

Did you know, when i want God to talk to me, I look n the mirror, right into my own eyes. Staring into my own eyes, when o speak, it s the voice of God speaking to me...Look. Another question. I’m a gay man. What if Jesus were gay? Had sex with men? And people knew it and didn’t like it could that be why they killed him? 
Well, no and yes. Crucifixion was for political insurgents. But then there was all that in John about  the disciple who Jesus loved....But it doesn’t matter. Nothing spooky. Nothing complicated. Jesus says God is love and those who love abide in God and God abides in them...that's it
That is so beautiful...tears are streaming down his face...thank you, thank you, you have helped me so much....He touches my arm. Picks up his walking stick. Heads to the door. Turns back, looks at me....tears....says, Did you know, if you look into a mirror and look directly int your own eyes, you will hear the voice of God...and then out the door....
I feel exhausted. I go in to see Danielle. Her last day before heading home to Iowa for a week. Mental illness...I say....wears me out....what is it...this month...I listen. I go into their worlds...look at things through their eyes....sometimes it’s hard to get back...Jesus gave his disicples the power to cast out demons in his name.If only I could do that...in the name of Jesus, come out!!!...there are things to wrap up before she goes.
I’m heading home. See Edward heading this way and pretend I don’t. 
Stop by to visit with the Saigon Grill pickets. Want to have another meeting at West-Park next Friday. Concerned about building awareness of the Domino's boycott. Teddy has a lot of ideas. Get the t-shirt operation up and running again. Get the Columbia students wearing  t-shirts and talking abut it...OK. We’ll meet. We’ll talk. 

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