Saturday, June 15, 2013

Ghost walking into the nght


Approaching the church, I’m upset. The steps are still full. Come on you guys, you know the rules. It’s almost 11, you need to go. A sketchy young white guy looks at me. I say, Why are you looking at me? The rules are the rules. I have  to open the doors. People need to  go in and out. You have  to go. He finally seems to get it. This is not good.

The attractive young Asian couple exits their cab, ready to meet with me. I can’t bring them in the front door, I bring them the side, which is covered with garbage. I’m seriously depressed. No way to start our conversation.

We sit in the sanctuary and talk. He’s a Malay Chinese now working in Hong Kong. She’s a Korean. They met here. Both now live in Hong Kong. Parents began as Buddhist, traditional or secular. But now one parent on each side has had an evangelical conversion experience. After we talk, and talk, I’m winning their confidence. Maybe I’ll get to do their wedding after all...

Gary is still in the south doorway. Gary, you can’t be here...
I’m not sleeping
I know but you can’t hang out here all day.
Something must be wrong between he and Anthony again. I'll wind up contending with Gary all day long. 

Mid afternoon, the Sergeant comes by. Apparently Anna’s been showing him the blog stories online. And he agrees.He has issues with the current people on the steps.  He effectively and quickly cleans everything in front of the church. Danielle helps drag out the hose from the basement and we clean up the steps like it hasn’t been in weeks. I can tell, Keith really wants to change his life. Has made a serious commitment to....and is beginning to find ...sobriety....Now he needs a place to live.

I  take off for my Rockefeller Center wedding rehearsal and then back here.  I need to get to the Dos Pueblos Nicaragua solidarity event soon.

I get back in time for Jeremy and his Sanctuary choir spring concert.  It’s a great evening of music. I love how Jeremy gives each person their own moment to shine. I’m  still struggling to figure out what happens to Gospel when you take Jesus out. Though I have to admit, that sensibility has worked  itself even into the most non-religious of secular rock and roll..It can feel hollow, but also full...How do I relate personally to something called Spirit?

Dan comes to meet me and we go to Brother Jimmy’s for barbecue and continue our exploration of the demographics here right now. Any given night, the stretch between 78th and 86th is teeming with young adults. Not like Wiliamsburg in Brooklyn. These seem a bit older. Less trust fund connected. Less au courant boho...or hipster as it may be. But where do they live ? What draws them here? It’s an important question for us as a church to consider.  

On the street, I say goodnight to Jane and thank her for what was a  good night. Inside, Jeremy and his father and a singer are working  to create a new song. Part of the work of the song writing group he's in. Building on the line, Ghost walking....what they're   working  on has a Paul Simon like vibe, verses floating over, riding a  flowing rhythm, images floating in a stream of consciousness as well. They'll continue to work long after midnight. 

I tell the crowd on the steps they have to quiet down, This is a residential neighborhood, people will get on me. Reachout has been working with them but finding resistance. They remind me that they're found two more people housing. Our 80% steps to housing rate continuies. I have to tell these guys to work with Reachout or else. 

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