addicted to crisis

Great time at the vigil last night.  Afterwards, some of us remarked how different it was to not only be downstairs (past 4yrs we were upstairs) but that we had chairs to sit in.  We had 2 stations to use for the burning & ashes.  It flowed smoothly.  It actually took only one hour.

Sometimes when things go smoothly or according to plan I think something must be wrong.  I get a little suspicious.  I’m so used to crisis and even though I really want peace-I have an instinct to not allow myself to receive it.

I would be into receiving a mug with an image of something peaceful on it, but I get so caught up in it being a mug and an image that I forget what I really want is peace!  I want to be in there, not just get some facsimile of it.  Why would I cheapen peace?

This is part of Lent for me.  This is part of growing up for me.  I can’t really make peace.  I can’t wait until I’m at peace to go to Jesus.  He is peace, and has been offering it freely for a long time.  I am willing to live with him where my heart is not troubled and I am not afraid.  There are some allegiences, behaviors, and trends in me that need to change so I can more fully live into his peace.  This is Lent.

Law & Disorder in where?

Jenni got me watching this BBC special hosted by Louis Theroux called Law & Disorder in Philadelphia.  Below is the first of 6 parts that you can view on youtube, or on Jenni’s blog (link above).

I can’t help but feel a lot of things while watching.  It’s pretty good in the sense that I wanted to continue once I started.  Pretty brutal in that it portrays a dangerous and seemingly unsolvable cycle of poverty in violence.

If you live around here you might recognize some of the sights (maybe even people).   People around the neighborhood do act like this sometimes (and so do the cops), but the sensationalization bugs me.  People are going to look even crazier when they have such a narrow-viewed interrogater looking at violence in the city at one level.  It’s almost to say “this is why our city sucks” or “be afraid to live here because these people are on the loose.”

Well, our city does kind of suck sometimes.  I’d like to dig a bit further at some causes of poverty, Louis.  I’d like to explore why we’re not working together to keep illegal guns off the street.   I’d like to consider the American way of life that leads the “haves” to run to a place of relative safety, sometimes at the expense of the “have nots”.  I’d like some more options for people who get stuck in the ruts of their surroundings.

I guess it would be a boring movie to explore corporate profit on the street drug industry, sale of illegal handguns, letting neighborhoods languish before buying them up, etc.  At least boring in the sense that you don’t have a person with a crack addiction yelling into the camera to reinforce a lot of stereotypes.

The culture of violence or the cycle of poverty are not easily explained or solved.  We really do need Jesus in Philadelphia.

serious stakeholders

I was really impressed by the depth of those who were able to make it out last night to the FN Stakeholders meeting.  When we get together like that something profound happens.  I’m grateful for so many partners.  I’m glad we not only have something great going in our little congregation but are part of something much larger and connected by the way we live it out.

Grandiose groves grow

Seemingly seedlessly but

Only in our heads.
Me and Lily went to hang with my next door neighbor John today.  He’s been a published cartoonist since the 70’s.  Some of them got turned into snowglobes.  He let Lily hold the one that this comic (from the New Yorker) became.  Pretty cool.  Tons of his comics here.

Fishtown the book

I was slow the get the news, but I tag-surfed across the graphic novel Fishtown (available online at here) by Kevin Colden.  It is a fictional 100pg comic based on some news stories  the kids involved in the Jason Sweeney murder in 2003, and for the past month available in hardcover.

I read it before I knew anything about it or  heard any reactions.  After reading, I saw that had/has a great discussion going along with residents’ reactions here.  I get the impression that residents aren’t that siked.

In an interview with The Daily Cross Hatch Colden writes:

It’s inspired by a real-life incident, but I changed the names and the characters significantly, just for story purposes. It was more interesting to see where the characters would take it, as opposed to doing a more factual account. I figured I could get more to the truth of what their motivations were, and I thought the best way to do that would be to create these characters and see where they would go, rather than use what had happened and try to graft something else onto that, and to try to avoid the emotions of the people that were actually involved.

I think the story has a few cool story telling devices.  To me the characters are hard to tell apart, and it paints Fishtown to be pretty one-dimensional whilst being rather disrespectful to those affected by the situation.  Can’t get over that one.  The story is based on news articles and I’m doubtful that it’s based on any interviews with residents or people involved.   Enough details were made up that it could bring out some aspects of the story that get focused on less, I suppose.  Not enough details were made up to do that well, thought, and the lack of research was obvious to me.  It also is like watching one of those gory quasi social commentary movies that doesn’t really have a point besides not really having a point.

Though I was very interested to read Fishtown, I didn’t really like it.  It did get my blood pumping so I thought I’d share.