Thursday, May 23, 2013

Good News


Gregory stops in. He’s one of the guys that Teddy met on the steps and helped get hooked up with a place to live and a job. He’s still got both, but needs some help to pay his bills. (Me too.) So I give him what I have. Knowing the cost.

Jen from next door stops by with her baby, checking out the space in planning her upcoming alumni party. And the conversation about planning something next year for the 50th anniversary of the Goodman, Cheney, Schwerner murders continues. 

Stephen is finishing up details for the Red Bull concert coming up. Martin continues to be concerned about numbers, so work will continue.  

RL has brought in a young man from England, Ross, who cones to  the Gate when he’s in  town to visit his Upper West Side girl friend. I decide to take a break, join them on the balcony and do my quick socio-architectural tour of West-Park. He’s especially interested in the social history. 

RL pulls back a piece of cardboard covering a hole in the wall. We discover a treasure trove of video tapes, clothes, pieces of sound equipment. RL holds up his hands, shrugs his shoulders. And we both know what this means. It’s an issue I’ve got to deal with, uncomfortable as it is.

They go off to move somethings for RL. Later in the day, Poet Tim drops in after trying to repair RL’s pesky Internet. They’ll be off to the Gate soon. The day is almost over. 


A short day because a lengthy Presbytery (church governing body) meeting looms in the farthest north corner of the Bronx. It will take awhile to get there. 

Stephen alerts me that two men from another church are here to inquire about space for worship.

They are a young Filipino named Mikey and his equally young Korean pastor. We sit and talk. They are excited by the tour given them by Brother Stephen. They have been met with rejection everywhere else they have visited. Been told they needed an appointment to meet the pastor. No appointment needed here. 

When they tell me they are from the Good News Church, I knew what that means. Pretty much knew when I met them. The young pastor is earnest, eager, passionate. Raised a Presbyterian in Korea. (There are over 100 Korean Presbyterian denominations, continuing to split and divide almost daily over fine  points of theology. Somehow the strict side of Calvinism found a good connection with the Confucian Korean culture and took root....) He tells me how he was dirty until he found Jesus.

Goes on to tell me about his missionary work in Mexico, saving a 13 year old mother, an angry man with SIDA (Spanish for AIDS)....all saved by giving their life to Jesus. I can feel the evangelical  zeal burning  in his heart.

I explain that we’ve already got two services here on Sundays. And I wonder if he’s seen the rainbow flag. I give him a brochure about our history. He’ll figure it out. Tell him he can begin by writing a proposal, knowing that it’s not going to work.

Sometimes I wish I could go there. The certainty. The security. The peace of having every question answered. All you have to to do is....But I can’t. Too much remains mysterious. As God should be. The path I’ve chosen has to be one of inclusion, welcome, acceptance. What my mentor Dan Allen back in Tulsa called unqualified acceptance. It’s more about choosing to follow Jesus than believe in a convoluted sacrificial scheme where God sets up an impossible situation then sends His son to die for what he set up in the first place. Can’t go there. 

The message of love, of standing with the least of these, seems so simple and clear. Living it out, well, that’s harder. Good News.

Off to the Bronx.

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