by Mark Diters
It’s travel day…or yesterday was for me. Long, long…long, long…long, long… story short; ask some of the CT delegation how their connection in Chicago went. Two of us ended up taking a bus to Milwaukee four hours after we were supposed to already have arrived. And to add insult to injury, we had to go to the airport because our luggage had made it there and we had not. And as for the others, some could still be in Chicago.
If you read Evicted, by our keynote speaker Matthew Desmond, you have been exposed to a sensitive “under-view” and critique of this city’s housing inequity and some of the economic and racial justice issues at its foundation. I say under-view due to his researching technique that included his immersing himself within the systems he was examining and making efforts to personally know the people who are the subjects of his study. The stories he tells are as intimate as they are troubling to say the least.
This is my first effort at blogging, and as Synod begins in a few hours and knowing how much of a blur Synod can become once underway, I hope to get this one done before my brain is addled.
Confession: I am afraid I am a baseball fan; I am also a life-long follower of the Red Sox. (Kurt Vonnegut Jr. once wrote that semi-colons are fascist; I’m not sure why.) And even though the alluring melancholia of Red Sox fandom ended in 2004, I still follow them like they never won. Anyway, finally arriving at this hotel at about 6:50 PM, and having hoped to take in a Brewers game, I was told by the most helpful counter staff that the bars just a block from here run shuttles to Miller Park for the cost of one drink. I deposited my belongings in my room and bought that one drink and was dropped off and in the bleachers by mid second inning. The game sucked, though Yelich homered. But the experience was wonderful; bratwurst and kraut and $25 seats that rival the Green Monster seats at Fenway. (; again)
Tired as all get out, I took the shuttle back to the Milwaukee Brat House (shameless plug); I was feeling rather smug about finding a way to turn a rather cumbersome day into an enjoyable one. One step off the curb a woman standing on the corner said “Sir, sir”, and with eye contact asked if I could give her money for food, and I answered “sorry no”. And making it just across the same street, stepping onto the next curb, another woman crossing the street repeated the same question asking for five dollars. I also said, “Sorry, no”, to her. Both women were African American and obviously needed my pocket money more than I did at that moment. It was a failure moment.
In any case…the issues lifted up in Evicted, as real and present at home in Hartford or any other city or small town, rushed to the fore. The serious work before us is ever with us.
The Rev. Mark Diters is pastor of Flagg Road United Church of Christ in West Hartford, CT.
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