Saturday, April 12, 2014

Midweek, the last week of Lent


Outside sweeping. I hear my name and look up and it’s Victor, the former security guy at the apartment I used to live in on 93rd Street. He’s now a full fledged union doorman on the Upper Eastside. My oldest son was close enough in age that he’d sometimes go to parties with Victor in the projects. A union job with benefits is a definite step up.

Danielle in but not feeling well.

Off to teach in Newark.


Marc comes in to show me the new Yamaha guitar he’s got a great deal on. His guitars keep coming in and going out as he keeps looking for rarities and good finds.

Pat O comes in to help me review last Sunday’s retreat and prepare for this Sunday’s congregational meeting. Need to be very clear on next steps.

Martin’s mom Luli in the sanctuary making calls.

David S has been serving as, well, sexton pro temps. To make his work more effective, we’ve cleared out the entry way closet where he has created a small workshop. It is a bit eerie sometimes to walk by and hear sounds of a guitar being played in that little room with a closed door.

RL continues to instigate incisive thoughts about getting to the future sooner than later. The conversation continues. And soon enough, I’m persuaded to watch another episode of Leverage. You have to love any show whose tagline is ·  The rich and powerful, they take what they want. We steal it back for you. Sometimes bad guys make the best good guys. We provide leverage.

Not a bad mission statement.


The day begins with my friend TK. He was formerly the head of the Buddhist temple on Riverside but now is working as a freelance monk. He’s also the vice-president of the Interfaith Center of New York City, For many in the community, he has been the visible face of Buddhism. A reality not always appreciated by other Buddhists.

He’s here to discuss bringing the annual Hiroshima-Nagasaki commemoration and peace ceremony to West-Park next August. Since this event has been at Riverside, the Cathedral of St. John and the UN, it’s an honor to be invited to host.  I bring him into the sanctuary and show him the balconies where SANE and FREEZE had their offices and planned the 1982 march against nuclear proliferation that drew over a million people to the city. That happened right here, at West-Park. So there’s a real connection to the event. Aas we go throughout the church, he keeps coming up with more ideas  to enrich the event, perhaps an exhibit, something for children.  It will be fun to work together on this.

As Americans, we have very little awareness of the horror unleashed upon the world in those two bombings. Two whole cities incinerated. We rail against terrorism, the taking of innocent life for political purposes But have never truly reflected on the impact of these bombings. On the innocent. For political purposes.

Justine from Direct Energy comes in. Takes her a while to convince me that she is not from one of those energy providers unleashed upon us by misguided deregulation who make these endless annoying phone calls usually from some outsourced customer service plantation in the third world. She actually works for a sate related entity to check our bills, She finds we’re missing out on our tax exempt status and paying double for gas what we should. Well, that was worth it. She’ll comeback later to review this with Danielle.

My day will end with an executive committee meeting of the Interfaith Assembly on Housing and Homelessness.  The financial problems of the Assembly are so similar to our own that it often depresses me. Still, no other program in the city seeks both to work with individuals to transform their own lives and work for policy change as well. The role of my predecessor Bob Davidson as cofounder challenges me to continue, and a circle of committed people has  kept the Assembly going over 25 years. The answer, of course, has to be in old school organizing, strengthening and expanding the grassroots ties with congregations.

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