Thursday, August 11, 2005

someone is knocking

so i'm spending the week at the open door community in atlanta. man this place is rad. i am guarding against the infatuation that creeps up upon discovering this community...but at the same time, this is the closest embodiment to enacting the beloved community that i have found.

open door is based on the catholic worker model of intentional community, where about half the residents are formerly of privilege (must divest themselves of all financial assets upon joining) and the other half are formerly from the streets, often recovering from addiction or mental illness. catholic worker was founded by dorothy day, a christian anarchist, who is known for her calling to 'comfort the afflicted and afflict the comfortable.'

so, a brief illustration of my time here. besides interaction with the surprising number of ministers and former academics who have found a calling to this place....yesterday i worked the breakfast shift where we feed people (family style though, no lines or rush) and i wore the che tshirt i got at fmln headquarters in san salvador. at first i realized i was wearing that in a house of pacifists and felt a bit self-conscious, but then it got me in a couple of conversations while i was serving. one with george--a mentally ill vet who reminded me it could be an insult to vets who fought communists in vietnam since che helped castro, but he was kind about it. i'm not sure i entirely agree with his logic but i learned some about him anyway.

then another guy, butch, with bloodshot eyes and few teeth, asked me how much i paid for my shirt, mentioning that che shirts can sell for 100 dollars downtown. so ironically, it could be a symbol of my class. i tried to explain that i got the shirt in el salvador....but later we talked again and it turns out he lived in cuba a couple of years, and was from louisville, so we connected over that and had quite a good conversation about the necessity of armed resistance, even talking about the black panthers and malcolm x here.

this experience has once again confirmed that i can be so arrogant. both in my thoughts and my demeanor, as i carry my class in my speech and body language. this morning i helped with showers and found that there are many 'intellectuals' roaming the streets, who follow politics more closely than i do. makes sense i guess, as it so directly affects their everyday existence.

one final word, thanks to the wandering hermit again for thoughts. i struggle with omnipotence--especially here, in a place where god's power may be the only hope many of us can cling to--yet there is still a fragmented beauty through the relationships we form, however hopeless the scene may appear. anyhow, i leave you with a final thought from my friend kristy: perhaps realizing that god lacks omnipotence is not our true fear, but rather the belief that god is indeed omnipotent and yet chooses not to act. why?

today we sang this song, "life is but a melancholy flower..."


Anonymous Phil Kloer said...

Ann: My name is Phil Kloer, Im a writer for the Atlanta Constitution. Im doing a story on Che shirts and saw your blog entry I would really like to talk to someone who wears a Che shirt who knows who Che was! Please can you call or email me? I wont quote you without your permission.
Phil Kloer
404 526 5448

2:25 PM  

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