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Thursday, October 17, 2013

Apparently there was a shooting



10/15

Apparently there was a shooting. Sometime after the bad couple, shots rang out on the street between 87th and 88th. Just like the old  days. Reports have a  middle aged white male in critical condition. Despite all the gentrification, Tiamat, the sea monster of chaos, never too far below the surface.

Sean is still  lying against the wall on 86th Street. Only semi-responsive.

Everyone is gone except mean Ben. Stephen asks him to leave. When we look back, he’s simply moved to to the narrow space between us and Barney Greengrass.  Stephen tells him, no that doesn’t work. He moves on. Considers 86th Street. Stephen says, No. He nods his head in the direction of  Sean. Different. He throws down his cardboard. Sets a record for short time fuck yous and continues on down 86th.

Henry and Naomi are here to talk about presbytery and strategy. We have to cover every complaint. Every misunderstanding. All the false narrative. And figure  out how to move  forward. The way begins to emerge.

Critical  to this discussion is  an understanding of our transformational model of church  growth. I talk about a discussion with Ray Jones, the PCUSA’s evangelism staff person last April with the the Presbyterian Mission Agency Board.  The essence is this:
In the past, affiliation began with a belief.  Based on that,people learned to behave in certain ways. Then, after passing all the tests, they would join and become members, belong.

Today’s model is different. It begins with an invitation to behave, to act in a certain way.To join in an activity that could change the world or change the person. To become part of the community, belong.  And then, at the end, maybe, belief. 

At the same meeting, a young person was asked what they wanted. And what  he said was, it’s not about music or style of worship or anything like that. What we want to see is radical discipleship. When asked to define that he said, we know it when we see it. (In the words  of St. Francis of Assisi, preach often, use words when necessary.)

The crux of this is that West-Park needs to create activities to invite people to participate in. Then work at connecting them to the community. Maybe after that  can come belief We need to define what those activities are. And what the demands of membership, radical discipleship, means for us. 

That's how we see our model. What we have  been doing but freed of the  constant struggle for survival, finally  able to flourish.

Henry and Naomi have believed in us and worked with us from the start, seeking to facilitate  our mission, not act like gatekeepers. 

Before we started, the Con Ed green man was looking for Danielle. when she didn't arrive, he  left. Then green man 2 showed up, looking  for his partner .Only having just lost his phone. He asks to borrow one of ours so he can  call his partner.  He will reappear several more times before the morning is over. 

Karen has come and gone leaving  behind some fresh  cleaning supplies. 

There is something  very reassuring about  life watching Danielle work with Daisy. Helping her master the mystery of English. The subject doesn't matter in the end. Watching them together, there is a sense of supposed to be.



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