Monday, May 14, 2012

Signs of God

My son in law told me a story that comes out of the Red Light Project he and his church are developing in Raleigh NC. I asked him to write it out for me. What do you think?

"Two Saturdays ago, I went out to the Durham Art Walk in, well, Durham, to drop off some promotional materials for 5 or 6 artists who are going to be a part of our Project Red Light art exhibit. And the third artist I saw was this wonderful older Italian man named Eduardo Lapetina.

I gave him the promotional pieces and we talked a bit about his display walls that we may be borrowing for the event. And he has this wonderful grandfatherly quality about him. Every word he says smiles.

And then he asked me what I do for a living. I told him that I work as a Pastor at a church. He put his hand to his brow and shook his head and said “Oh. Why? You are far too young to believe in a god.”

And God gave me buoyant joy in that moment - and put words in my mouth that I’m so glad I spoke. Trying to mirror his smile toward me, I said to him, “Eduardo, do you want to know why I believe in a god?” And I pointed to one of his paintings and said “Because of this! Because of beauty and creativity! I see these painting and can’t help but see God. And do you want to know why else I believe in God? Because a bunch of artists like you are giving of your time and talents to help bring justice and hope to people who need it. I can’t help but see all of this as signposts of the divine.”

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Mingo Park

I started running again on Saturday.

I haven't been doing any real taxing activity and I had to move. TO MOVE! The Mingo Park in Nicholasville is a great place: a skateboard area, basketball courts, an extreme frisby course (or whatever they call it), a fishing pond loaded with ducks and geese, and a one mile track. Rows of subsidized housing line the park, giving prime play space to all kinds of kids and families who don't have their own back yard. The park is never empty - it buzzes with colorful life.

 On Saturday I ran three miles(ish). On the first cycle around I passed two Mormon fellows trying to get a conversation going with a small group of young teens who were trying to escape.

The second time around the same five or seven kids were captured by a local 'holy man' - an East Indian fellow who wears exotic clothing and wanders around the town carrying various bags of garbage, talking to himself or yelling bits of wisdom. He was standing in front of the kids who were all sitting on a picnic table, watching, mezmerized. His voice rose and fell dramatically and he railed against evils and called the kids to some kind of higher life. I always wonder if a person like him is really crazy or is he a John the Baptist kind of fellow. I don't know.

This same 'holy man' followed my granddaughters around the library last time they were here. He kept saying, "Peace." Kyra, the most cooperative, would say back, "Peace." They told me about it in the car, laughing til they cried. "Peace!" Megan would make fun of the way her sister had said it. "Peace!"

 After my third time around I sat and watched the same boys ride the ramps and edges of the skateboard area. With elegance they flew through a routine of marvelous acrobatics. Then they would stand with their weight on one foot and act really casual like, "Sheesh. That was nothing. You should see me on a good day!"

I had the thought that God was preaching through them. Not the missionaries or the crazy holy man, but the lives of boys who can fly on a board attached to wheels. Someone's boy. Someone's lover one day, if not now. Life fresh from the womb.

I prayed that they would soar through all of life like they rode their skate boards. God help us all.