Monday, September 23, 2013

Fog lifted. Smoke cleared. Mist gone.


Shannon in our circle

The fog has lifted. Smoke cleared. Mist gone.
One of the first people I see is Jeffrey. Looking a bit anxious. Yes, it’s OK.

A distinguished African-American gentleman in a suit and tie waits for the service to begin. A couple waits too and then leaves. Our folks need to learn that when we get serious about expanding the circle, we’ve got to cover those 11 o’clock bases.

Special guest for the day in Shannon Beck, the PC(USA) reconciliation specialist. Once again a blessing to see Rachel here. Today I sing Jesus calls us o’er the tumult..had it give it a try. After the strangest of gospel readings, Luke 16: 1-13. I still don’t get the dishonest steward bit. We’d dig into that but...

My real agenda is to get folks to meet Shannon. Learn about her work. Hers is a new model for the church that is coming into being. Not a national program per se, not a top down implementation, but work rooted in listening. Trying to see what’s going on at the grass roots level and connecting people to people. (My mentor Philip always used to say that If God wants something to happen in this world, it’s already going on. Our job is to find it, call it forth, support it. That’s how he found me all those years ago in Tulsa. And what he did for me...).

She talks about the current focus on domestic violence and a nerve is touched. She has recently called together the folks in Louisville to see who’s doing what, including my community the Presbyterian Health, Education and Welfare Association (PHEWA), especially the  Presbyterians Against Domestic Violence Network (PADVN).

Yes,a nerve. I have a friend....And personal memories of abuse within the family. And stories of cries unheeded. Sounds we hope will stop. And cries answered only to have the violence turn outward. One of us was held at knife point for two hours last night. Had a computer,  lifeline to the outside world stolen. Can PDVN get me new computer?,she wants to know. Shannon gets that in this circle, domestic violence is not an issue, it is life lived. What connections can be made. 

After our dialogue, Shannon plays the same song she played for RL last night. Once she’s been on our circle, she’ll remain a part. Our prayers will go with her. 

Session meets after worship to review our various negotiations. How to keep all our family in the house. And how to manage all the work that needs to be finished before we can complete the deal. It’s hard. But the transition is beginning to be felt. 

It’s a bright,cool and beautiful first day of autumn.Fog lifted, smoke cleared, mist gone.

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