PULSE PULSE by sofiaie


									        The Heifer                              Project                           PULSE                                             MARCH 2004

                                                                                  S   O U T H     C   H U R C H   C   O U R I E R

                                                                                  O n t h e Ve r g e o f S p r i n g …
                                                                                  RE N E WA L & R E J U V E N AT I O N
                                                                                  The Hottest Pair
                                                                                                     page 9
                                                                                  The Happiest Girl
                                                                                                 page 3
                                                                                  The Finest Hospitality
                                                                                                page 12
                                                                                  The Meanest Streets
                                                                                                 page 4
                                                                                  The Highest Jump
                                                                                                page 10
                                                                                  The Greatest Book
Next Pulse:                                                                                     page 14
Expect it around June 1.
Topics:                                                                           The Biggest Profile
It’ll be close to summertime.                                                                    page 16
So send us something sunny or summery, a favorite reflection of a past vacation
perhaps, some delicious beach poetry that may have come to you like a breeze.         and a few of our
Or something mundane and deep at the same time:                                        youngest voices.
Recreation as Re-Creation
Or, since we’re a free-spirited bunch, anything goes.

                                                                                                                                     Photo: Cris Kossow
                                                 You may want to check the South
                                               Church website, www.southpres.org           THE HAPPIEST GIRL IN THE WORLD
                                               where we’ll post past Pulses.               by Emily Herring (16)
                                                 Please remember, this little periodical
                                               will work best, if it’s a community
                                                                                           JUST ANOTHER STORY of an ordinary                                      pants had all of their
                                               effort. We’ll be delighted to get your
            New pix to                                                                     girl who, for a moment in time, was                                     monstrous beauty
                                               input, your contributions, poems,
            come                                                                           the happiest girl in the world                                           kits that overflowed
                                               photos from South activities, self-made
                                                                                                The moment I walked through                                          with little red and
                                               reproducible artwork etc. Call or e-mail
                                                                                           the door, my beating heart and                                              brown lipsticks,
                                               or drop things off in the Pulse slot at
                                                                                           short breaths became a constant                                             eye-shadows for
                                               church and they’ll be treated lovingly.
                                                                                           reminder of what I was about                                             every color of the
                                                                                           to do. I was cold. I didn't                              rainbow, and more hairpins than
                                                                                           even have enough makeup                                I could count in a year, sprawled
                                                                                           on. My outfit was plain.                             across the length of the room. So I
PULSE is slated to be issued 4 to 5            TABLE OF CONTENTS                                I don't want to be here,                     made a little square for my water bottle
times per year. This time around we are        Stories & Essays                            I thought. They are all better                    and mini-makeup bag.
grateful to the following contributors:                                                    than me, and I don't care. I want to be                I thought they would all be mean
                                                 The Happiest Girl                  3
Donna Thompson        Dana Lichty                                                          in the background because this frightens          – how judgmental of me. But when
                                                 Oh Dear, What Could The Matter Be
Anne Day              Nancy A. Benson                                                      me today. I'm young and pathetic and              this beautiful blonde-haired, cat-eyed,
                                                 (The Midnight Run at 20)           4
Alexandra Conroy      Joseph Gilmore                                                       scared and I'm NOT having fun. Then               bright-smiled girl made sure that I had
Ray Bagnuolo          John Xenakis               Reflections on Shoes               9
                                                                                           came the voice inside of my head: Oh              enough space for my little items, I realized
Emily Herring         Michael Xenakis            New Again                         10
                                                                                           shut up, Emily, you're just nervous.              – of course they aren't all mean. And
Dale Williams                                    Radical Hospitality               12                                                        later I realized that they were all so nice.
                                                                                           Why? Who knows. I've been on stage
                                                 An Invitation Attached                    billions of times – why was this different?       Intimidating because of their probably
Again, special thanks to Susan De George
                                                 To a Memoir                       14                                                        amazing talent, but very nice. I mean,
for her help in securing needed support,                                                   Just the label of it: competition. That
to Lydia Aretakis of the church office         Food For Thought                        6   frightening word. It's so threatening.            they had sparkly dresses and their faces
and to all Perspectives responders.                                                             Until I walked in the door – until           were coated with makeup – so of course
Opinions expressed are not necessarily                                                     that single moment – this night was               they were really talented, right? And
                                                 Glances                             31
those of South Presbyterian Church.                                                        what I had been looking forward to for            they were so outgoing; almost to a point
                                                 Time Flies                          21
Graphic design: Cris Kossow                                                                a while. Why? Because my life is boring.          of shock. All these theater people, eek!
                                               Beat Reporters At Large:                    (No, Emily, your life is not boring.              I'm not that outgoing, so I must not be
Sharing Corner: Shavonne Conroy
Editor of this issue: Harry Vetter               Theater Sunday                        8   Why were you really looking forward to            a real theater person. Oh well.
e-mail hartmut@optonline.net                   Profile:                                    it?) Because I love performing. I had                  What happened between my
ph 201-476-1817,                                                                           almost forgotten, which is ridiculous.            entrance to the room and my perform-
                                                 John and Michael Xenakis            16
Fax 201-307-1470                                                                                I was the last one to enter my tiny          ance was a blur of competitive vocal
                                               Perspectives Feedback                 24                                                      warm ups (“I can hit that note, can
Church address:                                                                            dressing room, so there was no space for
                                               Sharing Corner                        31    any of my limited items. Big and small            you?” “Oh, that note? That's low for
South Presbyterian Church
                                               Something Puzzling                    20    girls with sequin-y dresses and skin-tight        ME – can you belt this note?” etc.) and
343 Broadway
                                                                                                                                                                      continued on page 28
Dobbs Ferry, New York 10522
                                           2                                                                                             3
“OH, DEAR, WHAT CAN THE MATTER BE?”                                                           time you must have found the Run in a               my belief that Midnight Run must be
                                                                                              state something like this: a group of syn-          completely ecumenical and free of evan-
The Midnight Run In Its Twentieth Year                                                        agogues, churches and schools, bound by             gelism. I’m still shaped by my experi-
by Joe Gilmore                                                                                a shared commitment to the homeless                 ences on the streets – and the day I am
                                                                                              poor, but chaotically structured, episod-           not, I should resign.
The series of articles about                                                                  ically administered, and almost never                    As far as issues that need to be
Midnight Run continues in this                                                                organized. Under your leadership the                addressed, I think the bigger issues are
edition of PULSE, with a conversa-                                                            commitment to the homeless poor has                 the ones that need to be addressed by
tion about the Run between Joe                                                                deepened, an administrative structure               society at large – why is it that someone
                                                                                              has been built which works exceptional-             can work full-time for minimum wage
Gilmore and Dale Williams. Dale is
                                                                                              lywell, and a funding base has been                 and not be able to afford an apartment?
known on the streets as a thought-                                                            established which takes seriously the
ful, tough, and fair man who has                                                                                                                  But of course Midnight Run constantly
                                                                                              continuing need for the presence of
lived The Life, who has never lost                                                            Midnight Run. What growth have you
his deep connection to those living                                                           seen? What vision has prompted your                 I’m still shaped by my
in the shadows, and whose sense for                                                           skillful and thoughtful leadership, what
                                                                                              issues remain to be addressed by the Run?           experiences on the streets
justice is carried in his bones.
                                                  the full-time administrator left, and I     DW: Well, as far as growth, we’ve gone              – and the day I am not,
JG: How long have you served as                   was offered a full-time job at MR. Now,     from trying to be sure there was a group
Midnight Run's, Executive Director?
                                                  any change is scary, but this was also      out three times a week (Tuesday, Friday,
                                                                                                                                                  I should resign.
DW: I started working for Midnight                quite exhilarating. I had an opportunity    and Saturday) to averaging fifteen to
Run in 1990, and became ED in 1991.               to give back, and a chance to make a        twenty groups per week. We’ve gone                  has to address new (and old) issues.
JG: When you first began to work for              difference. In the space of acouple of      from a cash budget of $9,000 a year to              Recently, we’ve tried to address the age-
Midnight Run, you were still living on            years I went from spending my days          $200,000. But in a real sense nothing               old question of wondering “what hap-
the streets yourself, were you not? It            wondering how to survive, to concen-        has changed – Midnight Run is still just            pened to the homeless guy who slept in
must have been an enormous and com-               trating on how to see to it that            people trying to share a little of our              that doorway – is he sick, dead, arrested,
plicated shift from life as a person              Midnight Run did all it could do to         affluence. It’s a little hard to state a par-       did he just move to a new spot, or
homeless and poor, to the chief organiz-          help others.                                ticular vision. I will say that there used          maybe he got a place to live or into a
ing and operating officer of a growing            JG: Not long before you assumed your        to be an (unintentional) unfairness                 program?” So we are issuing emergency
justice effort. Would you be willing to           present position, the Run had begun         when there was no effective full-time               contact cards to our homeless friends,
say a little about that shift in your life,       to be serious about organizing for the      leader at the time when I was on the                so if they are injured or worse we can be
how it felt, what it implied?                     long haul. Through the generosity and       street. Sometimes one stop was visited              contacted (and then contact their
DW: I had met Midnight Run as a                   passion of Bart Tyler and the GCS           three times in a week, another not visit-           friends or family if they wish).
homeless person, and eventually became            Corporation, the office at 97 Main Street   ed at all. This has spurred me towards a            JG: Over the years, how would you
a volunteer street board member in                and a large, specialized van were made      real commitment to making Midnight                  describe the attitudes of the various city
1989. In 1990 I started working 2 days            available. A constitution and bylaws        Run as fair as possible. The experience             neighborhoods to the presence of the
a week for MR as a clothing sorter. That          were being written and the intention        of dealing with (non-Midnight Run)                  Midnight Run? Do you think of any
job, combined with 2 other part-time              was to include on the board of directors    groups that would give you a blanket                particular stories which would illustrate
jobs, enabled me to get a place. Then             the homeless poor themselves. At the        only if you prayed with them solidified             those attitudes?
                                                                                                                                                                       Continued on page 22
                                              4                                                                                               5
FOOD FOR THOUGHT:                                  R E N E WA L

                                                                                     Spring is come home with her world-wandering feet,
by Mary Oliver                                                                       And all things are made young with young desires.

                                                                                                                     Francis Thompson,
Somewhere                                                                                                           “From the Night of Forebeing”
  a black bear
    has just risen from sleep
       and is staring                                                               NEAR LENT                                        And so it is
                                                my life is                                                                           that standing near
down the mountain.                               with its poems
                                                                                    Think of it,                                     to the solemn season of Lent,
  All night                                         and its music
    in the brisk and shallow restlessness              and its glass cities,        laughing God:                                    at the edge of darkness,
       of early spring                                                              if we are not careful,                           we join thee
                                                it is also this dazzling darkness                                                    in laughing –
                                                                                    looking at a full moon,
I think of her,                                    coming
                                                      down the mountain,            we think,                                        at our immodesty,
   her four black fists
     flicking the gravel,                                breathing and tasting;     “Been there.”                                           our distractedness,
        her tongue                                                                  We forget                                               our pretension,
                                                all day I think of her –
                                                                                    that the life of our sun                                and our misplaced solemnity.
like a red fire                                    her white teeth,
                                                     her wordlessness,              had a beginning                                  We are on our way to human,
   touching the grass,
     the cold water.                                   her perfect love.            has a middle,                                    yes,
        There is only one question:                                                 will have an end.                                but we are slow,
                                                                                    Just like ours.                                  slow to arrive.
how to love this world.
  I think of her
     rising                                                                                                                          Excerpted from a Mardi Gras unison
        like a black and leafy ledge                                                                                                 prayer by Joe Gilmore of last year.

to sharpen her claws against
  the silence                                                                             In the spring a young man’s fancy lightly turns to thoughts of love.
     of the trees.
                                                                                                                                                    Alfred, Lord Tennyson
       Whatever else
                                                                                                A hush is over everything –
                                                                                                Silent as women wait for love,
                                                                                                The world is waiting for the spring.
                                                                                                                              Sara Teasdale

                                            6                                                                                    7
PULSE BEAT REPORTERS                                              AT     LARGE:
D O N N A T H O M P S O N & A N N E D AY

Special Theater Sunday at South                                                                 REFLECTIONS ON SHOES
                                                                                                By Dana Lichty
ANNE AND I are gathered here

around the hearth of my computer                                                                              hen I was 16, I bought my
to remember the process of putting                                                                            first pair of truly remarkable
together the November 2 service                                                                               shoes. They were a deep
entitled Surrender.                                                                             elegant pink and iridescent, a seductive
     This service was one in a series of                                                        lipstick for the feet. I paid for them with
what has come to be called a “Special                                                           babysitting money and they cost about
Theater Sunday” at South. Over the                                                              $15.00 – which was an outrageous sum
years we’ve focused on topics such as                                                           for 1961. The pink shoes had three-inch
Work, Aging and Death & Dying by                                                                heels. In those days, I could dance in
calling on the congregation to share                                                            those heels. In fact, I wore them to the
their stories around these themes.                                                              prom that year, with a spaghetti-strap
    The Surrender service was inspired           people responded but not really enough         pink and white gingham dress my mother
by the writing of Jerry Wennstrom.               to create an entire worship service. So,       made with a skirt that consisted of three
Jerry is a contemporary artist, who back         we moved to Plan B. We condensed               big flounces, ending just below my knees.
in 1979 gave away all of his possessions         our three themes into one question and              Looking in my closet the other
and destroyed all his art work to begin          slipped into your homes via e-mail and         other day, I found no iridescent pink
a new life. Anne and I were captivated           asked you to take just a minute and            high-heeled shoes.
by his writings about the journey of             answer with a line or two. Then the
                                                                                                                                                   only five years ago and they came with
surrendering to the Divine and his own           responses began to pour in! Most of you
                                                                                                                                                   a one-inch heel and strap. I thought it
creativity, with all of its synchronistic        wrote about Surrender and so that              The highest heels                                  better if the bride didn’t fall down on
                                                 emerged as the focus with Synchronicity
and at times down-right magical happen-
                                                 and Creativity becoming sub-themes.
                                                                                                I could find in the                                the dance floor.
ings along the way. We began to won-                                                                                                                    Mostly I wear a pair of very inele-
der, “What similar stories must there be             At one point along the way a myste-        closet were my dusty                               gant utilitarian black walking shoes. Or
                                                 rious fourth theme arose from somewhere
here at South Church, long time friend
and sanctuary to many creative people            and people began calling it “The Healing
                                                                                                wedding shoes.                                     I rely on my “going-to-meeting” black
                                                                                                                                                   suede lace-up oxfords that look like the
of this community?” From the very                Service”. This really confused everyone,
                                                                                                                                                   battered leather ones made by Dr. Scholl.
beginning, over a casual conversation            especially our music staff, who was trying          There were three pairs of unremark-
                                                                                                                                                   Grandma Nellie wore those.
about the book, Susan DeGeorge                   to choose the music. But truth be told,        able black sneakers, only two of which I
                                                                                                                                                        I bought the suede pair a few years
encouraged and supported the idea that           where there is deep surrender, there is        ever wear. A pair of white running shoes
                                                                                                                                                   ago in a dimly lit shop with orthopedic
it could evolve into a theater service. As       often healing. Before surrender, comes         that I put on once was hidden in the
                                                                                                                                                   shoes cluttering the window. The store
Anne and I began the design and staging          listening. A quote from The Inspired           back of the closet. I can’t run since the
                                                                                                                                                   was on the way to Lord & Taylor and
process we were joined by Ed Zupko.              Heart: “What is the whispering message         hip replacement and I hate even looking
                                                                                                                                                   I was at the bitter end of a desperate
    Back in September, we presented the          of divine law trying to tell us? Once          at them.
                                                                                                                                                   search to find some shoes that really fit.
congregation with three themes, each             we arrive at the answer to this question            The highest heels I could find in
                                                                                                                                                   It seemed like an end-of-the-line store
with a quote and a question. We invited          within ourselves, we can direct the            the closet were my dusty wedding shoes.
                                                                                                                                                   for someone whose feet hurt all the time.
everyone to search their memories for            journey of our world toward a beautiful,       Actually my second wedding shoes:
                                                                                                                                                   The salesman was patient, muttered
stories on the themes of Creativity,             collective reality. The gods do, indeed,       white fabric with a lace overlay and
                                                                                                                                                   some comments about my thin, bony
Synchronicity and Surrender. A few               whisper before they scream. The only           beading. Pretty foxy shoes! But that was
                                                                                                                                                                           continued on page 27
                                             8                           continued on page 26                                                  9
By H.V.                                                                                         and the bruise on my face, but I can’t                As you stare down from a gaping
                                                                                                wipe off the grin.                                hole in the rear of a Caribou or out the
                                                                                                   I never saw the other students again.          side door of a twin-engine Otter or a
SEVERAL YEARS AGO – long                                                                        “They’re probably never gonna take the            DC3 from fourteen thousand feet, and
after my Sturm und Drang time of
                                                                                                plunge,” said Linda, “That’s how it goes.”        you say a big little prayer for your chute
self-discovery, long before a serious
                                                                                                                                                  to open, when the time comes – life as
nag of midlife crisis could reasonably
be expected – I needed change badly.
                                                                                                But Momma, that’s                                 you knew it has changed. Where else
                                                                                                                                                  does your well-being literally depend on
Some sprucing up perhaps was what                                                               where the fun is.                                 the quality of certain strings attached?
it took, some spice, some daring
                                                                                                    I became quite taken by the new                   And then you jump out, head first,
sense of adventure, some can-do
                                                                                                sport, bought a used square canopy –              laughing, as you catch your breath,
accomplishment with failure not on the          strut of the wing, hold on with my
                                                                                                “Good as new, never even opened up.”              going down – flying as it seems – at
list of options, and I’d be good                hands and let the feet dangle horizontally
                                                                                                (skydiver humor) – learned to fold and            120 miles per hour. Perhaps you pull off
as new again.                                   in the near-hurricane wind conditions,
                                                                                                pack the thing, which is quite an accom-          a few mad freestyle loops and barrel
    So I figured parachuting to be a            about three feet out under the wing,
                                                                                                plishment for someone like me who’s               rolls. You know that the next minute or
nice-enough diversion. But the idea of          while my back is to form a natural arch.
                                                                                                not the neatest by nature. I graduated to         so will be the most exhilarating, and
tandem-jumping, of being strapped to            I strain to breathe and look at Linda,
                                                                                                higher jump levels and longer and                 then you’ve gotta do your shtick to get
an instructor or jumpmaster, didn’t             the jump-mistress inside the Cessna.
                                                                                                longer times of freefall. I took my gear          the rainbow colored square canopy to
appeal to me, since that was too similar        Once she is happy with my dangling
                                                                                                along to other drop zones in California,          inflate. If you’re lucky, like I was a cou-
to just being a passenger, which I was          and my feet are floating calmly, she
                                                                                                Florida, and when I moved back East.              ple of times, you dive right through a
often enough on regular airplanes.              counts down from 3 to 1, and I let go.
                                                                                                    While I was never good at flying in           puffy cloud at about seven thousand or
Hence I went to a one-day static-line           I right away go into fetal position and
                                                                                                formations, I got a tremendous boost of           so. That’s terribly illegal, but Momma,
course at Spaceland Airport near                smack my right knee into my nose and
                                                                                                seeing different landscapes from a bird’s         that’s where the fun is. And dancing
Houston, where I lived, and there they          jaw, but that I don’t register. The beautiful
                                                                                                eye perspective. The preparation for              down from two, three thousand feet
briefed about ten students and me in            round canopy has opened up above me,
                                                                                                each dive, I found it to be an awesome            under a fluttering Pegasus parachute –
the art of hopping out of little sports         I see the 182 staying its course higher
                                                                                                lesson in discipline, and it cleared my           it doesn’t get much better than that.
planes, even when they were not on fire.        up, I can’t hear the ground crew so
                                                                                                head of virtually all other things that               Those freefalling days are long gone.
At the end of the day, when we were to          clearly in the headphones under my
                                                                                                can bug life as we know it.                       I’ve settled down, got married, would
take our virgin jumps, it was too windy,        helmet, but that’s okay. I’m sailing in
                                                                                                    Nothing much can interfere with the           now consider my jumpiness of old too
so I went back a few days later on a            the sky. I’m pulling down the toggles
                                                                                                calm singular focus when you sit with a           stressful, but my thoughts often go back
pleasant, sunny day and was readied to          and navigate, pulling left and describing
                                                                                                bunch of other parachutists on the floor          to those adventurous days that widened
board a Cessna 182.                             a gentle left circle, then doing a quicker,
                                                                                                of a jump plane, the biggest holding as           my horizon and rejuvenated me when I
    The NASA Mission Control Center             jerkier right turn, shouting an enormous
                                                                                                many as forty.                                    really needed it.
down in the distance looked serene,             Texas-sized “Yeee-haw” and, eventually,
as the little plane climbed to three            close to the ground, I turn into the
thousand feet.                                  wind for a decent military landing, still
    Soon comes the time to open the             on the airport premises. I have this huge
door, climb on the step of the plane,           grin on my face, as I my hands collect
while the static line is affixed to the         the trusty fabric and I proceed to the
floor, and then I climb out under the           hangar. People point at my bloody nose
                                           10                                                                                                11
RADICAL HOSPITALITY                                                                             enough for this audience to rise up en            (2.3% from 1999-2000). “A separate
by Ray Bagnuolo                                                                                 masse. And the repercussions of our               Justice Department report released in
                                                                                                inaction are horrific. Consider two               October of 2001 confirms that hate
This is from a recent essay by Ray Bagnuolo                                                     effects: suicide and hate crimes.                 crimes are underreported; that a dispro-
who in a series of writings has tried to                                                           In 2000, the U.S. Department of                portionately high percentage of both
provoke a response to the slow, painful                                                         Health reported that over three million           victims and perpetuators of hate violence
process of the “inclusivity movement”. Ray                                                      youth seriously considered suicide in the         are young people under the age of 25;
knows exactly the audience he is addressing.                                                    United States. One million of those               and that only 20 percent of reported
MY WRITING IS not an attempt to                        The group reading this knows of the      young people made an attempt at taking            hate crimes result in arrest.” These are
change the minds of those who stand                 violence that institutions are capable of   their own lives. Each day, 2700 people            real people with real stories. Follow the
against full inclusion for LGBT (Lesbian,           incurring through slowly turning wheels     between the ages of 12-17 attempt                 link to read over 651 separate accounts
Gay, Bi, Transgendered) persons in this             of polity. They have witnessed lives and    suicide. Each week, one hundred young             of such tragedies, including 181 murders,
church. Instead, I write for those who              families ground up in those gears. They     people between the ages of 15 – 24 will           at the HRC website.
welcomed and encouraged me, and                     know that with each crushing turn the       succeed in taking their own lives.                   It just doesn’t make sense that as a
others like me. People who have made it             beast of hatred is fed, its appetite           In the United States, suicide ranks as         church, following the teachings of Jesus,
clear that they stand firmly in the belief          becomes an ever-spreading sickness that     the third leading cause of death for ages         doing our best to be compassionate and
that God created us all in God’s image,             devours many we have called our own         15 – 24 and the fourth leading cause of           radical in our welcoming of those who
people who see exclusion as an act of               and others we will never have the chance    death for ages 10 – 14.                           are the least favored among us – that
spiritual defiance and eternal injustice;           to welcome. Yet, for some reason, we           Since 30 percent of all attempts and           we refuse to see ourselves in light of this
they are courageous in their work to                seem unable to completely break loose       deaths are estimated to be related to             cancerous combination of hatred, violence,
overturn bias, bigotry, hatred, and the             from our constitutional and personal        sexual identity issues, I cannot be con-          and dismissal. As my audience, you
violence that strikes LGBT persons daily.           bounds to stop the bleeding of those        vinced that none of these lives could             know what I mean.
  My audience believes in the teachings             we dearly love. We seem helpless as         have been saved if the individuals and               The math of the human tragedy of
of Jesus. Radical hospitality beats in              the sickness spreads far beyond our         their families had been aware of a                exclusion is incalculable. Review the
their hearts. They would never, ever                PC(USA) and its 2.5 million members.        denomination that stood up mightily               statistics above and multiply them by
turn away a soul. In fact, they don’t                  The violence we feed by the idea that     in favor of their God-given right to             the months and years that we have
know how to even consider doing such                we are powerless for change until condi-    be who they are: loved, whole, and                struggled for justice. Add to the total
a thing! They struggle, along with every-           tions are just right – is where I begin     welcomed in the eyes of God and our               the years until the completion on the
one else, in trying to integrate their              to lose my equilibrium within our           community.                                        task force’s report and the uncertainty
humanity into the great mystery and                 community and its supporters. I have           The idea that we can wait years more           of the time that will follow its presenta-
call of God. They are my friends and                found no scripture, no argument, no         to be outraged and galvanized in remov-           tion. Multiply the grief further by the
loved ones, and they cringe in the                  plea that can justify the mounting          ing G-6.0106b is a break in sensibilities.        number of families and friends stricken
knowledge that their church – their                 violence we accept as some pre-ordained     How much more violence do we need?                by the impact of loved ones whose lives
church – rejects those whom they have               requirement for progress. Knowing that         Hate crimes. In 2001, the latest FBI           became targets.
been called to love and who they have,              our church has institutional guidelines     report shows that as overall serious                 I absolutely believe that if all the
indeed, welcomed into their hearts and              that feed the degradation of those we       crime has continued to decrease, hate             organizations and supporters of full
spiritual lives.                                    support seems as though it should be        crimes have continued to increase                 inclusion for LGBT persons in our
                                                                                                                                                                         continued on page 30
                                               12                                                                                            13
LIFE AT SOUTH:                                 A D U LT E D U C AT I O N

AN INVITATION ATTACHED TO A MEMOIR                                                                at least. My life seemed to be following a         evening courses at Johns Hopkins, but
by Nancy A. Benson                                                                                predictable pattern, but it was about to           their graduate program in English, like
                                                                                                  change! A Georgia Tech student from                most others at the time, was not really
AS I LOOK FORWARD to the                            time but please don’t ask me to recite        Baltimore named Bill, two years older              interested in housewives. Then a relocation
Adult Education series slated for March,            them now! Then once, at the age of            than I, was responsible. As soon as he             became necessary: Bill was transferred to
it seems appropriate to introduce myself            about 5, when visiting some of my             graduated, at the end of my sophomore              New York, a prospect that was both
and what the series is about. I’ve been a           mother’s relatives, I went to Sunday          year, we were married, left my hometown            exciting and scary.
member for 20 years at South Church                 School at the country church where my         of Atlanta to set up housekeeping in                  As we settled into Westchester, it
where I’ve been privileged to do this               great-grandfather had been a longtime         Baltimore, and I transferred to Goucher            became clear that in terms of education,
sort of thing before, but it’s been a while.        elder, and they gave me a Bible to take       College, still as an English major. It was         the metro area offered virtually limitless
I’m calling these sessions “Biblical Texts          home. Imagine my shock and frustration        there that my dialogue with the Bible              horizons, and its institutions were in the
Through a Literary Lens.”                           when, in doing so, I was accused of taking    took a new turn.                                   vanguard of change. After all the girls
   My involvement with the Bible has                it without permission (stealing the Bible!)      Again I chose an elective I thought I           were in school, and with the support of
been long and varied, beginning in                  It was my first experience of injustice.      could feel confident about, a religion             everyone in the family, I was fortunate
early childhood when my preacher/lawyer                As I was growing up, weekly Sunday         course, but this time it was another               to study first at Sarah Lawrence in a
father encouraged my memorizing long                schools, summer Bible schools and other       story. Dr. Mary Andrews, trained in                Master’s program in preparation for col-
passages of Scripture for recitation. (I            church-related activities filled a signifi-   higher biblical criticism at the University        lege teaching, and then in a doctoral
say “encouraged” but actually I didn’t              cant part of my life. So when it came to      of Chicago, gave me a joltingly different          program at the Graduate Center of
think I had a choice.) They included                fulfilling some of the requirements in        perspective. It was such a jolt that it            CUNY. Along the way, I began teaching
Psalm 23 of course, Psalm 1, John 14:1-             the southern Presbyterian college where       took a few years of course work, study             at Mercy College.
14, Matthew 25: 31-46 among others,                 my mother (herself an English major as        groups and research on my own to sort                 The greatest thing about the study of
and visitors to our home were often                 I was destined to be) had graduated, I        things out and eventually be very grateful         literature for me is that it provides
subjected to my “performances”. These               could feel pretty smug about not having       for all that I had gained from both                insights into everything having to do
passages stayed with me for a very long             to study very hard in the Bible courses,      “fundamentalist” and “liberal” approaches          with the adventure of becoming fully
                                                                                                  to the Bible.                                      human. I have long been fascinated by
                                                                                                     There were of course to be other                poetic and narrative techniques that
                                                                                                  changes though some things also                    writers have used throughout the ages,
                                                                                                  remained the same. Our four daughters              from biblical times to the present, to
                                                                                                  came along, with all the joys and trials a         connect with human minds and souls.
                                                                                                  growing family brings. A strength I must              But it’s not all about books. Academic
                                                                                                  acknowledge: long before it was consid-            learning for me has deepened over the
                                                                                                  ered a “guy thing,” Bill was a nurturer,           years as my students, from a rich diversity
                                                                                                  and he still is! I hoped to continue to            of backgrounds, have added immeasur-
                                                                                                  study somehow, preferably with other               ably to my understanding of a much
                                                                                                  people, since I am an extrovert. And a             wider world than I would ever have
                                                                                                  strange notion had taken root that                 known otherwise. They have helped
                                                                                                  maybe I could someday become a pro-                prove to me the relevance of the concur-
                                                                                                  fessor of literature. I took a couple of           rently developing emphases on the
                                               14                                                                                               15                           continued on page 27
PULSE             PROFILE

We don’t mean to pry, just to personalize our lives a bit. Please answer only what feels right.
                                                                                                  JOHN:                                            MICHAEL:
Be as detailed or brief as you wish.
                                                                                                  What’s your job?                                 What would you like to do when I
Who: John Xenakis                                  Who: Michael Xenakis                           In my current life, I work for a law firm        grow up?
Where do you live?                                 Location:                                      in Irvington as an operations manager.           I would like to have some involvement
I moved from Dobbs Ferry over the                  Hastings-on-Hudson, NY                         I’ve been a restaurant manager, radio            in mathematics.
summer to a coop in Yonkers, just                                                                 disk jockey, nuclear power plant techni-
north of the Hudson River Museum                                                                  cian, chemical plant manager, systems
                                                                                                  project manager, science and math
How long have you been coming to                   How long you have been coming to church?       teacher, professional soccer referee .
our church?                                        About 14 years (since 1990)
                                                                                                  Is there a recent book you can recommend?        What is your most favorite book? Why?
Almost 20 years now.
                                                                                                  I just started reading a book by Jonathan        “The Jungle” by Upton Sinclair. This
What about your own “church” history?              What is your first memory of church?           Lethem called “Motherless Brooklyn.”             book is a fabulous book and really tells
I was raised within the Greek Orthodox             Standing in front of lots of people            The prose is wonderfully clever and quick        about immigrants’ stress and struggle in
church (Transfiguration of Christ in               singing “Away in a Manger” in the              and agile. It’s a detective story about a        the beginning of the 20th century.
Corona, Queens). The church served as              Christmas Pageant.                             street gang member who has Tourette’s
a religious, social and cultural center for                                                       Syndrome – Oliver Sachs meets The
Greek Americans and their children.                                                               Dead End Kids meet Goodfellas.
Under church sponsorship, I attended
                                                                                                  Any favorite movie or play or both?              What are your most favorite movies
after-school instruction from grammar
                                                                                                  Most recently, I enjoyed “Lost in                and T.V. shows?
school through junior high and learned
to read and write the language. As many                                                           Translation.” It is such an intelligent          I have two most favorite movies and
people do, I stopped attending regularly                                                          and well-done movie. Two of my                   T.V. shows. My two favorite movies are
in my teens.                                                                                      favorite plays (of the last 20 years) are        Happy Gilmore and Billy Madison both
  I still remember my first Sunday at                                                             by Brian Friel - “Dancing at Lughnasa”           starring Adam Sandler. My two most
SPC during the summer of 1984.                                                                    and “Molly Sweeney.” Brian Friel’s dia-          favorite T.V. shows are South Park and
Bruce Mitchell and Mary Allison greeted                                                           logues and speeches are so rich and              Family Guy two comical shows that will
us in such a warm and gentle way. My                                                              musical and intoxicating.                        have you rolling on the ground laughing.
family and I made SPC part of our own
                                                                                                  What’s your favorite music, and is there         What is your most favorite music and
tradition. There have been large shifts in
                                                                                                  music you care for that absolutely drives        does it drive your father nuts?
my family the last few years; and I can
                                                                                                  your sons nuts?                                  I really like to listen to all kinds of rock.
see that it’s not so far off when even my
youngest will not be around for an                                                                I just adore good jazz vocalists and             None of the songs I listen to drive my
Advent Party or Christmas Pageant.                                                                arrangements. But I enjoy all genres of          dad insane.
                                                                                                  music, excepting rap music, which my
                                                                                                  sons kindly shield from my ears. I once
                                                                                                  played Bob Dylan’s “Highway 61
                                                                                                  Revisited” album when I had my sons
                                                                                                  in automobile captivity. The boys were
                                                                                                  laughing uproariously and making fun
                                                                                                  of the lyrics (and of me).
                                              16                                                                                              17
JOHN:                                     MICHAEL:                                       JOHN:                                             MICHAEL:
What are you passionate about?            What is the most fun thing you like to do?     Do you have a motto?                              Do you have a motto?
Traveling and food and photography,       I really like to hang out with friends and     “No good deed goes unpunished” (but               No.
and combining all three.                  play all kinds of sports (except for track).   that doesn’t mean we should stop doing
                                                                                         good deeds).
Name a blessing in your life.             Name a blessing in your life.
My children – three awesome charac-       A blessing is that I have a loving parents,    Complete the sentence: I wish I were --           Fill in the rest of the sentence, “I wish
ters in a life I’m living.                siblings and friends. Also that my family      in PARIS!                                         I could--
                                          can afford such things as a house, knowing                                                       Despite how this might be a bit unfair
                                          that everyone isn’t as lucky as me.                                                              and give me too much power, I wish I
What gets your dander up?                 What can drive you crazy?                                                                        could have the power to do anything
                                                                                                                                           I wanted.
Self-righteous bigots.                    Despite how I love my parents and they
                                          love me, they drive me C R A Z Y!              What’s your sign?                                 What’s your sign?
Any guilty pleasures?                     What do you like to do that you most           Sun in Sagitarrius; Moon in Aries; Cancer         Pisces.
Manicures.                                likely shouldn’t?                              Ascendant. It can get really complicated
                                          I go on my computer too often!
                                                                                         What can refuel you when you’re running           What heers you up when you are down?
Is there something no one expects         Is there something that no one expects
about you?                                about you?                                     on empty?                                         My brother, Family Guy or South Park
In 1989, I stopped smoking cigarettes,                                                   A hot tub soak under the stars at night.          usually give me a laugh that will get
                                          Yes, that it would be really cool if my name
trained for 8 months to run the New       was Alex. (Alex is my brother’s name).                                                           me back on track.
York City Marathon, and lit up again                                                                                                       Is there a special moment in church
                                                                                         Is there a special moment for you at
the very next day after the race.
                                                                                         church that stands out?                           that stands out for you?
What’s your preferred charity and why?    Have you done something nice for               That one Christmas Pageant when the               Despite how I shouldn’t be answering
CLUSTER, a social services organization   someone and felt good about it?                substitute organist canceled ill literally        this question like this, I like hanging
based in Yonkers and helping throughout   Yes, there are a number of accounts of this    two hours before the start, and we were           out with my friends after either
Westchester. Because it’s my community.   sort of action – too many to go through.       faced with warming up a weakened                  “Film-X” or Joe’s provocation.
                                                                                         piano. After getting a read on a
What was once important to you but        Is there something that used to be really      location, I ran up and down the
now isn’t?                                important to you but now isn’t?                aisles of the Grand Union
Frank Zappa and The Mothers of             Yes, my parents. I used to rely on my         supermarket and, in the dairy
Invention – consciousness-raising         parents for everything. Now they aren’t as     section, indentured a neighbor
on a number of levels in my former        important because I make lots of my own        of mine who knew how to play
“fringe-hippie” life.                     decisions and my parents just give me          the musical beast. Yes! Another
                                          guidelines in which to follow. (Yet they       Christmas miracle!
                                          are still very important)

                                                                                                                                                                 continued on page 30
                                          18                                                                                          19
SOMETHING                           PUZZLING                                                                   WHAT’S NEWS:
ACROSS                         1    2      3             4        5    6      6       7       8                WHAT TIMES ARE THESE. What will we remember of the time we live in?
1. reflexive pronoun                                                                                           What news, if any, will hold up? The insatiable cable news networks want to
7. donkey
                               9                         10                   11                               make us believe that every day there’s something monumentally newsworthy
9. variation of Eve
10. nil
                                                                                                               that occurs, something of historic proportions, such as the oddly inane celebrity
12. after Mardi Gras
                               12                                 13                  14                       tribulations (Stewart, Bryant, Jackson, Blake, Petersen).
13. Jesus/disciple last meal                                                                                   There is a word, Momentaufnahme, which means
15. Western landscape                                    1        15                                           snapshot of the moment.
16. snakelike fish
                                           16     17     18       1    19                                      Snapshot December through February, oh three /oh four,
19. folklore being
20. holy land
                                                                                                               By H. Christopher Vetter
23. intense                    20   21                            22          23
24. Egyptian sun god
25. French masculine name
                                                                                                               TIME FLIES
                               24                        25                                          1
26. life – lasting                                                                                             When, at last, in December, Iraq’s dictator is found,
29. U2 collaborator            26          27     28     1                                                     disheveled and disoriented, in a hole in the ground,
30. Clinton agonized over it                                                                                   he is not quite a sight to inspire new fear.
34. Louise of South Church     1    29                            30   31                            32        No sign of weapons of mass destruction anywhere near,
37. first man
39. to remain/stand fast
                                                                                                               which had been the reason for going to war.
                               33          34                                 35              36               Is it, now, nation-building what GI’s are dying for?
40. to bend
41. hole in ground                                                                                             The holidays here are under the usual alert,
                               37   38                            1    39
43. states NY, NJ, CT                                                                                          but people scratch their heads and move on, unperturbed.
44. an insect’s feeler
46. one topic of this Pulse    40                        41       42
                                                                                                               Code Orange, ricin scare, one mad, mad cow – oh shucks.
47. complain
49. infamous Roman             43                        44                   45
                                                                                                               At this rate it’ll be best if everyone ducks.
    emperor                                                                                                    More highlights and lowlights of the months that just passed:
51. Brit license plate                     46                                                                  – some may leave you chuckling, some shivering, some aghast –
52. Senior                                                                                                     Segregationist Thurman gets unmasked as a hypocrite and fake…
53. noun, denominator:         47   48                   49                                   50               30,000 in Iran succumb in a quake…
    Sunday, pilot
                                                                                                               Libya’s Ghadafi, oh surprise, starts acting nice…
DOWN                        51                           52                   53                               Turning arctic, our Hudson is covered with ice…
1. some churches instill                                                                                       Hotbed Haiti: a poor people in another uprising…
   fear abt. this
                                    27. upsetting
                                                                                                               Christ’s “Passion”: The marketing and the merchandising…
2. 50’s actor, Burl                                                    If you reach an impasse, please
3. baby Jesus’ crib                 28. cell phone lingo               turn to page 30 for answers.
4. toll pass                        31. flies’ worst nightmare         As an IDEA for one of the next          That ‘wardrobe malfunction’ we could have done without
5. not more                         32. sporting venues                things PUZZLING, please e-mail          and the ensuing brouhaha after the Super Bowl bout.
6. healthy food group               33. practiced during Lent          or drop off in the Pulse mail slot      In the nation red ink is back, and grand visions run low.
8. silver standard                  35. abbr. Alberta                  at the church office: A funny or
                                                                       hard-to-recognize photo of you,         The President wants NASA’s manned missions to go
11. to perform surgery              36. Paradise
                                                                       and we will use half a dozen or so      all the way to Mars. The Martian populace patiently waits.
14. sermons at South Church         38. patriotic women’s group        of such pictures as clues for a new
                                    41. often crucial in chess
                                                                                                               On earth Washington wants marriage counseling for straights
17. abbr. each                                                         puzzle. All in good taste – for sure.
18. lower extremity                 42. not outer                      All original photos will be returned.
                                                                                                               and for other couplings (un-)constitutional debates.
21. verb, denominator:              45. employee stock plan            Contributions for a new puzzle          How badly do Dems want the White House? Very.
     money, souls                   48. abbr.: at bat                  of any kind centering around SC         After Dean’s ‘I have a scream’, they home in on Kerry.
22. Mass language                   50. Gore                           are always welcome.
                                                      20                                                                                                21
“OH, DEAR, WHAT CAN THE MATTER BE?”               MIDNIGHT RUN         (continued from page 5)

DW: Well, certainly we’ve seen our                Midnight Run, I’ve seen police roust           and fair. Anyone who’s done a Run                 DW: For a variety of reasons (the
share of hostility from some neighbor-            the homeless, or arrest them for sleeping      knows that at the first stop you have             ebbing of the crack epidemic, more pri-
hoods – the line “If you didn’t feed              on the sidewalk. But I’ve also had police      virtually everything people need, but by          vately-run shelters, etc.), I think the
these people, they wouldn’t be in our             cars pull up and tell Run vans, “There’s       the last stop you might be down to                shelters are better than they were 12-15
neighborhood”. This has included                  a couple of guys on 52nd who could             food, socks, and shirts. So changing the          years ago. But that doesn’t mean they
neighborhood boards, houses of wor-               really use some blankets.”                     order of stops so that everyone on the            are as safe as they could be. More
ship, and individuals. But there have             JG: What forces at work on the streets make                                                      importantly, the perception on the
also been plenty of people who have                                                                                                                streets is still of the shelters as danger-
passed us while walking their dogs,
                                                  your job difficult?; which make it easier?     Once you’ve had a                                 ous places. Once you’ve had a knife
                                                  DW: Well, the political imperative to
who’ve asked how they could donate
                                                  “make the homeless go away” (read: we          knife pulled on you,                              pulled on you, it’s difficult to believe it
clothing, or handed a volunteer $20 to                                                                                                             when someone says, “Oh, but this
                                                  don’t want to see them) has of course
help with gas.
                                                  always made things hard. Certainly, the
                                                                                                 it’s difficult to believe,                        shelter is safe.”
JG : The police are often vilified as ene-                                                                                                         JG: Do you currently see any reason to
mies of the homelesspoor. What does
                                                  fact that portions of the population we        “This shelter is safe.”                           hope for a time when Midnight Run
                                                  see have mental illness, or substance
your experience lead you to believe                                                                                                                will have become unnecessary?
about this notion?                                abuse problems (though I think there’s
                                                                                                 streets gets a fair share is important. We
                                                  less of that that when I was homeless, in                                                        DW: There’s always hope, but I can’t
DW: Again, there’s no absolute                                                                   also work with groups to supplement
                                                  the heart of the crack epidemic) causes                                                          foresee it in the near future.
response. When I was homeless, there                                                             their supplies of clothing, blankets, and
                                                  some stresses – though it should be                                                              JG: When you are not working at
were policemen who would roust the                                                               toiletries. Of course, I also coordinate
                                                  noted that those stereotypes certainly do                                                        Midnight Run matters, what things
sleeping homeless by smashing their                                                              use of Run vehicles (we have three, but
                                                  not hold true for all the homeless. But                                                          bring you pleasure?
clubs on the bottom of their feet. But                                                           there are often five or six groups out on
                                                  to me the things that matter are the                                                             DW: Well, mostly being with family
                                                                                                 weekend nights).
                                                  things that make my job easier: The vol-                                                         (I have a lovely wife, Betsy, and a
I’ve had police cars pull                         unteers, who give of their hearts, time,
                                                                                                 JG: In a week, how many times is
                                                                                                 Midnight Run on the streets and ready?            good stepson, David) and friends.
up and tell Run vans,                             and money. The homeless, who for the
                                                  most part react to hardship with good          DW: Things are a little slower in sum-            Betsy and I are “foodies”, plus I have a
                                                                                                                                                   semi-obsessive wine hobby. Then of
“Some guys on 52nd                                cheer, and whose willingness to share          mer, but during the school year we typi-
                                                                                                                                                   course there’s Lucy the basset hound…
                                                                                                 cally have 15 or more Midnight Run
could use some blankets.”                         amongst each other is so generous (it’s
                                                                                                 teams out in a week. In addition, we
                                                  easy to be generous when you have a
                                                  lot, sharing when you have nothing is          tend to have 2 or 3 breakfast Runs most
there were other police who would                 another thing).                                Sundays and a special order Run (deliv-
bring by paperbacks for a couple of guys                                                         ering things like suits for interviews, or
                                                  JG: What has to happen from your desk
who liked to read, or who would come                                                             54” pants) every Wednesday.
                                                  to see to it that a particular team is
into a subway station and say, “My ser-                                                          JG: In the past, the “Inspector General”
                                                  ready to go out on a particular night?
geant told me to move you along, but                                                             for the shelter system in the city has
I’m not throwing you out into the cold            DW: To me, the most important thing
                                                                                                 found shelters unsafe and dangerous.
- that’s not why I became a cop - so if           I do is the stop lists. The places people
                                                                                                 Is there any reason to think that things
a supervisor comes by, tell him I threw           stay on the streets change constantly,         are different, that is better, than they
you out and you came back as soon as I            and it’s a constant concern that the stop      were, say, under the administration of
left.” Since I’ve been working at                 lists we give to groups be up-to-date          Mayor Ed Koch?
                                             22                                                                                               23
 PERSPECTIVES                             FEEDBACK

 The question we asked in early January was:
                                                              “                                          I also hope that this year I will bring
                                                                                                       some of my theatre arts to South Church,
                                                                                                                                                         In 2004 I hope to find a house for my
                                                                                                                                                         family. I also hope to do a much better job

                                                                                                       now that my personal life is stabilizing.         of taking care of myself and my dreams
     It’s a brand-new year.                                                                                                       Laurie Calahan         while mothering the world.
                                                                                                                                                                                    Shavonne Conroy
What is it that you really hope for?                                                                   Without sounding too Rockwellian, I
                                                                                                       hope for:                                         I hope to find a way to repair the roof of
                                                                                                       …Warmth (it's zero outside tonight as I           the church.                     Basil Conroy
 We were hoping for responses personal,                  national obsession. Finally, I'd like a       write this).
 political or philosophical in nature.                   global campaign to leave no child             …Love.                                            I do wish us all more good adventures,
 And, lucky us, we got all of the above.                 behind, but one powered by love and           …Enough dissonance to make the                    more moments of astonishment and more
                                                         not academic hogwash.                         subsequent consonances meaningful -               ways for us to help conquer poverty, illness,
 I'm hoping for 48-hour days. At least one                                             Dana Lichty
                                                                                                       and not just trite.                               hatred, envy etc. etc. and replace with love,
 a week. Happy children. A faster 10k.                   My hopes for this year are the same as        …Patience.                                        awareness, energy, etc. etc.
 Gentleness in myself, and in the world.                 always: that I can learn to be a wiser,       …More patience. Wait!                                                               Lee Elmore
 Fewer occasions where I find myself wishing             more compassionate, more generous             …The History Channel actually
 I said something else. Or said something.               person; that my family and those I love       presenting programs that indeed have              I hope for greater empathy... may it spread
                                Kris Kliemann            will flourish, and that everyone on earth     something to do with History.                     like a blessed virus among our congrega-
                                                         will do everything he or she can to           …The same for Arts & Entertainment                tion, our villages, and our nation. I think
 This frightening fad of a belief concept in             bring peace and safety to this lovely,        - since you asked.                                Jesus said “love your enemy.” Perhaps we
 some corners of the world and in some                   precious and fragile planet.                  …A heart generous enough to easily                should start with empathy.
 hearts – that after you blow yourself up in a                                       Melissa Bedolis   forgive - and perhaps also a heart that              We Americans are good at lashing out,
 suicide mission, you’ll wind up in heaven –                                                           doesn't get so damn ticked off in the             being proud, standing tall. May we get
 I’d like this fad to die down inexplicably fast.        Personally, I hope to continue to find                                                          much better at the gentle task of under-
                                                                                                       first place - when I could be reaching
                                   Harry Vetter          the happiness and inner peace that I                                                            standing others, while accepting and
                                                                                                       out with open arms instead.
                                                         have recently discovered, along with my                                                         acknowledging failure within ourselves.
 Everybody duck.                                                                                       …Forgiveness in kind.
                            Joseph H. Gilmore            inner strength, after a most painful year                                                          I pray for this: for myself, my family,
                                                                                                       …Houston, Pettitte & Clemens to beat
                                                         (the breakup of a very long marriage). I                                                        and everyone!                 Richard Davies
 I hope that yoga will be required in                                                                  the pinstripes off the Yankees in 7 in
                                                         hope to continue to have fun connecting
 every school in every grade. I wish that                                                              October. It'll be great drama. (…and
                                                         to people, both old friends and new,                                                            Here’s our new question:
 Luddites would gain in favor. I pray                                                                  I'm from the Bronx).
                                                         including the good times I'm having
 that there will be different leadership in                                                            …A self-determined Iraqi Government               “If you received as a precious gift a
                                                         with my children, and that I continue
 Washington and a change of heart in                                                                   that gets to actually govern Iraq - and us        six-month sabbatical, without your
                                                         to enjoy working with others.
 our own General Assembly. I'd like to                                                                 getting the hell out of there.                    usual work obligations, what would
                                                           Professionally, I hope I get my theatre
 see mandatory breaks during the work-                                                                 …we as a people remembering to
                                                         company really running, now that it is                                                          you do with that time?”
 day in which everyone must take five                                                                  “…study war no more”. But - keep
                                                         officially a not-for-profit corporation.
 minutes out of every hour to breathe                                                                  those old John Wayne movies comin' -              As usual, we’re looking for capsule
                                                         For the planet, I hope that there will be
 deeply. I hope for more dancing and less                                                              to remind us of how far we've come.               replies, even one-liners are OK. We’d
                                                         an end to terrorism, a growing respect
 bureaucracy. I hope for a national                                                                    There's more - but it's time to sleep -           love to feature about a dozen-or-so
                                                         for preserving the environment, and a
 movement that will demand more kind-                                                                  perhaps I'll get to them next year.               replies. E-mail them, fax them, voice
                                                         growing realization among people that
 ness and civility in routine everyday                                                                                            Douglas Epstein        mail them to: hartmut@optonline.net,
                                                         we are all one and should treat each
 activities. I pray for poetry to become a               other with love.                                                                                fax 201-307-1470, voice 201 476-1817.
                                                    24                                                                                              25
SPECIAL THEATER, continued from page 8
                                                                                                   SHOES, continued from page 9

real power we have to eliminate useless             Meade at the Dump” from Jerry’s book           feet and then showed me the black suede               The shoes we wear speak volumes
suffering in our world is to remain                 was a synchronistic story of his willing-      grandma shoes. “You’ll never find another        about our life’s journey. Iridescent shoes
attentive, as in prayer, to the whispers            ness to allow the Divine to meet his           pair like them anywhere,” he warned.             and dancing feet. Black suede walkers.
instructing our choices. The challenge              basic needs of a winter coat and gloves.            He was right! Those black suede             Sculpted, flowered platform sandals.
for all of us in the West is to hear the                The service concluded with a beauti-       oxfords have walked all over New York            Lacey white wedding shoes. Pale suede
quiet instructions first, and then to               ful solo by Shavonne Conroy, “Much             City, going from meeting to meeting              pointed-toe boots. We live through our
maintain that listening in a screaming,             More”, from The Fantastiks. The                with me. They have cruised malls, been           feet. My daughter will probably someday
material world. Deep listening is a fear-           Benediction was delivered by Melissa           tourists in Ireland and Africa, gone to          remember the remarkable shoes she
less, creative response worth cultivating           Cattanach who read her original poem           concerts, mourned at funerals, boogied           bought when she was young – reminiscing
above all else.”                                    “Synchronicity in Creativity”.                 as often as possible, attended dinner            while wearing a pair of utilitarian lace-up
    The congregation’s responses to the                 For Anne and me there was synchro-         parties, walked the dog, and attended            black suede oxfords.
question, “If you could be free of all              nistic power in immersing ourselves in         church. I would go anywhere in them
                                                                                                                                                    INVITATION ATTACHED, continued from page 15
burdens and obligations so that you                 these themes and symbols. We used a
could at last surrender to a passion or             life–like turtle sculpture as a prop; it       She took the sandals with                           impact of gender, race and ethnicity.
long-held yearning, what would you                  rested on the chancel table. A few nights                                                       So when I teach, for example, “The
do?” were varied. However, there were               before the service took place I had a
                                                                                                   her to Florida. the shoes                        Bible as Literature,” one of my courses
some common themes. Many dreamed                    dream about discovering a purple turtle        would be happier there.                          this semester at Mercy, all of the strands
of becoming an international ambassador             while swimming with the women of my                                                             of learning come together for myself
and spreading the word of global com-               family. The next time I saw Kathryn, I         and pay anything for another pair.               and for the students, but each time in a
passion. Some dreamed of having more                said, “I think I met your purple turtle in          Now I collect miniature versions of         new way. Like all “Great Books,” but
time for artistic pursuits such as art              my dreams the other night.”                    lovely, imaginative, unwearable shoes.
                                                                                                                                                    also uniquely, the Bible comes alive
making, music and acting. Others                        For Anne, the word ‘Surrender’ turned      The pink iridescent spike heels I leave
                                                                                                                                                    when persons gather to bring to it their
longed for the time and means to travel             up in nearly everything she read. Her          to my 20-year-old daughter. When she
                                                                                                   was home in December, she bought a               own experiences and honest responses.
the world. To make our own long-held                mother, who had attended the service,                                                              So here at South Church, on the
yearnings come to life, we used the con-            called her up not long after, “It’s so         pair of knee-high pale beige suede boots
                                                                                                   with dramatically pointed toes and               afternoons of March 7, 14 (right around
gregation’s actual responses as the Call            strange,” her mother said, “I see the word
                                                                                                   stiletto three-inch heels. She also              the time this Pulse goes to print) and
to Worship, read by Benny Rodriguez,                surrender everywhere lately.” Recently,
Jean Howell, Sally Face and Dorothy                 Anne came across the following quote in        “had to have” towering sculpted wood             28, from 3 to 4:30, I invite you to share
Muller. For the Provocation, we wove                a book by Caroline Myss:                       platform sandals with a single large deep        what you find in the books of Ruth,
together three stories performed by Kris                                                           red leather flower at the instep. She            Esther and The Song of Songs: two short
Kliemann, Linda Herring and Dave                       “We are each following different            painted her toe nails to match the               stories and a remarkable collection of
Person. One was written by Anne Day,                   routes along the same general path          flower and wore the shoes everywhere,            poetry. Since successful discussion depends
entitled “Artist’s Block” and told of her              that leads us all to the same final task:   despite the winter weather. She had              on preparation, I hope participants
journey to reclaim her authentic creativity.                                                       them on in restaurants, at the mall,             will read each book before the scheduled
                                                       surrender the self. Only through
The second story by Kathryn Groth,                                                                 in a hip club, and to walk the dog.
                                                       realizing the futility of spinning our                                                       session, at least once. Any standard
was “Baptism by a Purple Turtle” and                                                               I was relieved when she took the sandals
                                                       wheels in the direction of personal                                                          English version may be used that is not
told of a mystical experience that vali-                                                           with her when she returned to college in
                                                       control do we finally wake up to            Florida. The shoes would be happier              a paraphrase. Then come expecting
dated many years of spiritual study and                                                                                                             something interesting to happen. If
inner work. The third tale, “Margaret                  the truth.”                                 there, I thought, than in New York City.
                                                                                                                                                    YOU are present, something will!
                                               26                                                                                              27
HAPPIEST GIRL, continued from page 3

small talk between nervous girls. We all        couldn't see anything in the audience.         that. Yeah, right, I had already counted           inch of my body was overflowing with
went walking to the bathroom because            In fact, I wouldn't have known that            5 girls who could sing circles around me           confidence and happiness. They liked
of the excessive drinks of water and            anyone was there, besides me and the           any day, and the show wasn't even over.            me! The judges liked me! They thought
more importantly, realized that every           man in the balcony, who did the lights,        Then it was over. Not the whole show,              I was better than 20 of these people! I
singer was better than the next. It was         except that I felt the people. Suddenly        but round 1. I had predictions on who              couldn't wait to do my second song.
like: oh, she's amazing. Wow, she's even        I started singing, and the words just          would make the top 5.                              I loved the song and couldn't wait to
more amazing. Geez, how good can one            started flowing, and the emotions of the         Suddenly all of the contestants were             show them what ELSE I had in me. It
person possibly be? And then – oh no –          song took over. I sang my no-longer-           backstage, including myself, waiting to            wanted to come out of me, and I knew
I’m up next.                                    loudly-beating heart out and tried so          see if their name would be called to be            that the moment I got on stage I would
                                                desperately to be heard and to be loved        in the top 5 and perform a second song.            lose total control and the song would
The mike was on.                                by all these people who didn't even            Ah, the anticipation. I couldn't hear a            take over every part of me, so fast.
Maybe I could pretend                           know me. Love me, I thought, that's                                                                  It was true. With a radiant smile on

it was broken, so nobody
                                                what competitions are about – who you          I knew that the moment                             my face and a microphone in my hand,
                                                love the most.                                                                                    I walked onto the stage as the jazzy
could hear me sing.                                Near the intense climax of the song,        I got on stage I would                             intro to “Broadway Baby” began. It was
                                                before the end, a loud applause began in       lose total control.                                all over, and it was all yet to begin. I
  The sick-green feeling returned in my         a few areas of the audience, marked                                                               loved it. And I was going to love it.
stomach. Let me out of here before I die        with a few cheers. Maybe they felt bad         breath. Maybe some beating hearts. I               Every single second of it. I soared
– please. A cheery girl wearing knee            because my voice had cracked on a note         stood casually in the back wondering               through the song with an amount of
socks and a short skirt walked off the          a while back, or because another note          if my predictions were correct. They               charisma and zest that I didn't even
stage, happy with her performance, and          didn't come out the way I had planned.         didn't include me, of course. Then the             realize I had. God, I was happy. I was
casually passed me the mike. As my              Or maybe they liked me. No, I mean I           names: Oh, her – of course she'd get in.           on top of the world, for a moment in
name was announced I noticed the little         wasn't phenomenal, just good. Then             One point for me. Him? He wasn't                   time. I was being listened to, I was
green light which meant the mike was            came another backstage period, of sitting      great. That makes no sense. Her?                   being watched, I was being appreciated,
on. Maybe I could turn it off and pre-          and waiting and listening. Of course I         What???...wait a second... that's – no             and I was having the time of my life.
tend that it was broken so that nobody          was still utterly impressed with most of       way. I walked out onto that stage with             I'm usually not an extreme boaster, but
could hear me sing! Ah, I couldn't. It          the people, but maybe a few of them            a look of pure confusion on my face.               I really nailed that song. And at last was
was taped down in the on position.              weren't amazing. After hearing all the         The audience must have thought I was               the climax: “Working for a nice man,
Damn, I thought, half jokingly. As I            truly amazing singers, suddenly standards      crazy or something. How incredibly                 like a Ziegfeld or a Weissman, in a Big
walked on to the stage, I could feel the        for “good” singing drastically sky-rocketed;   odd. I was half aware of another 2                 Time BROADWAY SHO...OW!”
pressure of the people in the audience,         a singer who would usually be very             contestants who came after me, both                   I didn't win that night. Did I care?
wanting to know who had what to give            good became just decent. A few of the          of whom I knew would get in. I had 3               Not one bit. I was so happy! I had given
next. Like hungry wolves – no, probably         girls backstage told me that I had done        points now, for my correct predictions.            it all I'd got. I was still dancing on a
not – but I, of course, assumed that            an incredible job and that they were           And I was going to sing my next song??             sunbeam with a sparkle in my eyes. So
everyone was out to get me, so that's           SURE I would make it to the top 5. I had       How crazy. How wonderful!                          this was a story. About me, an ordinary
how I felt.                                     almost forgotten that the competition             From the moment I heard my name                 girl, who, for a moment in time, was
  Then I heard the descending scale,            went from 25 to 5 to the one winner. Ha        (after the confusion and denial, of course)        the happiest girl in the world.
which marked the start of my piece. I           ha. Top 5. I wasn't even thinking about        to the moment I got on stage, every
                                           28                                                                                                29
                                                                                                   PULSE          POETICS
PROFILE, continued from page 19
JOHN:                                                MICHAEL:
                                                                                                   G LANCES
What do you like most about our church?              What do you like most about the church?
Communion service and the Deacon’s                   What I really like about the church is        I glance across the room, I see your face. So beautiful.
lunch afterwards.                                    that they are open to everyone.               I glance across the room, I see your soul, lively and loving.
Is there a favorite Bible verse for you?
Some of my favorite texts are “The                   Do you have a favorite Bible story?           I glance across the room, I see your heart, so young and unhurt.
Song of Songs” and Ezekiel’s valley of               I like the story of Jonah and the whale       Even though you are older than I am, but you look so
the dry bones.                                       despite how young you learn it. It gave,
Anything else you’d like to tell us?                                                                     innocent, unharmed, heaven sent,
                                                     and still does give a powerful message.
To the junior and senior highs, I’d                                                                So much, I can no longer describe you in words.
repeat the advice in Kurt Vonnegut’s
alleged commencement address to the                                                                                                Alexandra Conroy, 12
1999 MIT graduating class – “Floss
daily, and use sunscreen.”
RADICAL HOSPITALITY, continued from page 13          they are. Our voices must become louder
church put aside their differences and               than those who distance themselves from
strategies and simply stood together for             us, so that it is unmistakable to them that    THE SHARING CORNER
an end to the violence of marginaliza-               we accept nothing less than full and vocal
                                                                                                    Editor, Shavonne Conroy
tion and an outcry against the human                 support for the removal of G-6.0106b at
violence – lives would be saved by a                 GA 216.                                       TALENTS
church that all too often has looked the               Thank you for your prayers and actions.     Organizing, clutter clearing & color choosing for your home.
other way. Can you imagine a GA                                                                    Donna Thompson, 914-524-7380
                                                     NO LONGER               PUZZLING
where we cared more about witnessing
than winning? Where we cared more
                                                                                                   Fund Raising:
                                                                                                   I will post items for sale on EBay, proceeds to benefit SPC.
forthe other than for ourselves and our
                                                                                                   Ray Bagnuolo, 914-682-3659
grand strategies?
   GA 216 cannot be about waiting any                                                              Move over, guys from ‘Queer Eye’:
longer. I call for every group to stand                                                            I'll do glamour make-overs on people who need a look for
together in full solidarity for the                                                                a special event — just for fun and for free!
removal of G-6.0106b. It is time to love                                                           Shavonne Conroy, 914-478-1327
in a way that lays our (corporate) lives
down for our sisters and brothers, for                                                             HELP NEEDED
there is no greater gift and no greater call.                                                      Dog walker/sitter, 3X a day in April.
   Please reach out to your congregations,                                                         Linda Herring, 914-693-4229
friends, and the organizations you sup-
                                                                                                   Donna Thompson, 914-524-7380 needs help sheet-rocking a ceiling.
port calling them to unified action at GA
216. Things are not acceptable the way

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