Thursday, May 29, 2014

Easter 39: Don said, "Enough"


Everyone's beneath the trees
Feeding pigeons on a limb
But when Quinn the Eskimo gets here, 
All the pigeons gonna run to him.
                  Bob Dylan

                                     * * * *

There’s Sergeant Keith walking up Amsterdam in his red marine t-shirt arm in arm with his new old lady, as he would (accurately) say. He looks up, nods, continues on his way.

The Session is getting  ready to meet. A young man comes in. Tells us it’s his second day on the street. Just got robbed. Steven S just put away all our recent clothing donations and we’re not sure where they are, but Leila locates a bag and we come up with  warm sweatshirt and some shirts. He’s very thankful.

The older man who likes to play the piano comes in. I ask what he might need. And he says, no, would you like some coffee? And I say yes. And soon hot coffee is on its way. At this hour of the day, it's what I need.

It is a long meeting. Much is on the agenda. Construction bids to consider. The ongoing discussion of Noche’s long term status. The interesting prospect of reGroup’s interest in doing their season here. But nothing is really as important as clarifying our mission and moving beyond survival to revival, revitalization. We’re looking for the snappy catch phrase but we know that it has to do with being change agents. For persons and the world around us. And that we want to help each person discover and use their own unique gift for the greater good, the good of the community. And that everything we do needs to make clear who it is we are and what we stand for.

We know we need to create activities and invite people to participate in them. And that we need to create solid initiatives in four areas: social justice, worship and the arts, fellowship and education. Exploring the intersections between beauty and justice, spirit and action.

Don is very contemplative. Finally he says, would it be too much to expect the church to do something about gun violence? Really? Enough is enough…

And we begin to explore this . Some recall how for years we had an anti-death penalty witness. Since we had no church bells, we would gather on our steps any day there was to be an execution anywhere in the US. With fliers with the name of the executed and ring hand bells until all fliers were gone. Several homeless people who stayed on our steps, especially the (in)famous Arthur Cafiero ( faithfully joined us in this witness organized by Kate B. (Who creates the amazing home cooked meals once a month for our night at the SPSA homeless shelter.) 

I mention that our friend Mark K at the UN helped to produce a video called Trigger on the issue. Speakers are named. Don thinks about how we could use the scaffolding or our someday to be painted walls. Marsha suggests an Industrial Areas Foundation (IAF) assembly. A plan is beginning to take shape. Enough, Don said.

Someone recalls the Facebook posting that says one man puts a bomb in has shoe and now millions of people have to take off their shoes before getting on a plane. So many innocent children have been gunned down and …..nothing. Nothing.

As we’re wrapping up, someone asks Don about his shirt that says, Believe. It’s from his work at Sea World. With the whales. How the shows in different parts of the country reflected  that place. In San Diego, a kind of surfer dude attitude.Riding the animals like riding waves.  In Texas, that cowboy/horse type relationship with the whales. And in Orlando, an evangelical inspired relationship with the whales. But in every place, that was the key, relationship. Two species sharing an intersection of space and spirit. Until the tragedy that cost a trainer her life. And now a wall of separation has ended the relationships in the name of liability. Of course Don’s story was longer. More emotional. But the point was there. Marsha says, there’s a metaphor there…

We leave with a sense of hope. When everyone is gone, I go up to visit RL. Catch an episode of Leverage.... Sometimes bad guys are the best good guys…and then an old Twilight Zone from over 50 years ago that I still vividly remember. What if we  really could  hear each other’s thoughts?

Another day is done.

Don said, enough.

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