Saturday, October 20, 2012

Is E-mail the tool of the devil and other questions


Glen and I have a long conversation about what we learned from the successful screening. Need to think seriously about the Little Theatre project  and what is and isn’t possible. Need to focus in on what is measurable and achievable.

I go to the wrong place at the wrong time which leads to a quiet moment in Riverside Park. A chance to catch my breath. I call P______ to wish her a happy birthday, haven’t seen her in awhile. She is happy to hear from me. Convinced that they are trying to kill her. Won’t tell me where she is. Can’t tell if she’s going to work or not. I wind up singing happy birthday to her.This makes her laugh. Come to think of it, the landlords, the legal system, they are killing her. And I don’t know what to do.

Outside talking with Martin, trying to finalize our deal. I’ve got an attorney. Where’s his attorney? Out of the corner of my eye, I notice the prophet folding his hand in prayer and chanting something in an unidentifiable language. when he’s finished, he sits down, opens a Chinese or Korean newspaper, his lips moving as if reading it aloud. 

Steve finally reappears. Seems he’s been sick for three days. Just coming back to life. 

I meet with Matt from theatre Dzieci. An amazing group with its roots in the Polish Theatre Lab and Jerzy Grotowski and later the holy theatre of Peter Brooks. As we talk we realize how much of the same vision we share.They see their work as a pathway to the holy. We start talking about bringing their Fool’s Mass to West-Park, perhaps establishing a relationship.

The St. Agnes volunteers, Brandon and Solomon, are here and  Danielle and Teddy are not, but Martin has work for them to do, so I assign them to him for the day. 

As the day ends, Alivewire is doing their final rehearsal before tomorrow night’s opening.  I look up to the balcony and can’t help but remember Trelkovski and his leap every night during the Tenant. I can get that they’re doing a stylized version of Arthur Millers’s the Crucible in an overly proclamatory style.Beyond that....

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A few words about email. Our second West-Park rule should be never try to resolve an emotional issue over e-mail. NEVER.. When I first arrived in the city, I was taken by the possibility of pastoral care via e-mail which seemed to be an emerging area of ministerial inquiry. Then time after time over the years I’ve had the scenario repeat where one congregant takes after another with escalating e-mails back and forth until both get angry and leave the church...and each other... without ever having looked each other in the eye or truly having had to deal with the other’s reality.  Beginning to feel that it’s a tool of the devil. It’s OK to relay information..but intense and personal? We need to be  able to see each others’ faces, unspoken reactions. Otherwise, we’re creating an other to engage who is our creation, not their reality. Don’t use e-mail for problem resolution...can’t be can’t douse a fire with gasoline ...I’ve had to work two days to help recover people from an e-mail flame out...


Teddy seems to have been able to resolve the plumbing problem himself. That is a relief.

There’s a steady cold rain falling when I begin my meeting with Luisa. She too lives in a former Section 8 that has gone market rate with pressure on the rent stabilized tenants to leave. By the time we’re finished, the sun is shining.

Damarius has found  a place to live and a job with Verizon. Another victory....

Deacon James is back from burying his wife. Emotions with his son run deep, And his daughter still not located. Though worn, he remains strong and steadfast.

RL stops in just to see how things are going. He’s getting ever closer to having his studio ready. Marc come in to give me tutorial on the recording device so I can record my sermon on Sunday when he’s not there. Martin and I still trying to close. Last minute efforts to get Sunday’ service ready. 

I sometimes wonder about why there are so many ...well, difficult ...people around. Is  there like an energy magnet that draws them near? Does it say something negative about our character? Or is it a special calling? God asking us to response to who nobody else will? I’m going with that....but it’s still hard...

As I’m getting ready to leave, Brooklyn Brewery is  making their delivery to Alivewire. It's opening night.

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