In an interview with Krista Tippett a few years ago, the late Jean Vanier gave contemporary people of compassion his antidote for despair: the Ten Foot Rule. The whole interview is worth your time (check it out @ https://www.iheart.com/
podcast/563-on-being-with-krista-tippe-28288089/episode/jean-vanier-the-wisdom-of-28288581/) but the Ten Foot Rule is essential for times like our own. First, he invites us to reach out and touch what is real in our immediate life: bring a measure of presence, healing and love to those who are just 10 feet away. They are the only people we can impact anyhow; fretting about those beyond our reach not only reinforces our sense of impotence, but demoralizes us as well. Do what you can to touch the real lives closest to you. Second, and I gleaned this from the many articles written after Jean's death, only watch the news once a week. Apparently Vanier watched it on Sunday evenings - and it broke his heart - but he didn't keep beating himself up. He simply made certain the tv was off 6 out of 7 evenings.
It has been one of my spiritual practices for the past few years to do just as Jean advised: turn off most of the news on TV, computers and print except once a week, and give my attention to what is immediately within my world. To that end, we are putting together a small benefit for the local Berkshire homeless network - Barton's Crossing - on Saturday, June 15 @ 7 pm. Not only will this event bring back together some of my favorite musicians from First Church (and we'll be performing back at First Church, too) but the concert will highlight our long-standing friendship with local singer/songwriter, Linda Worster, who became a trusted ally in many of our musical offerings. My old friend, Patricia Mason-Martin, will bring her brilliant poetry to the evening, too. And our new band, Famous Before We're Dead, will share a set of upbeat and community building tunes. It has been a gas to bring some of the old gang back together. It has been rewarding to partner with Service.Net the agency bringing direct services to those most in need. And, to be honest, it has been a blessing to be able do this all back at what was once home base for us at First Church on Park Square. Our old buddy, Rob Dumais, will return to work his magic on the sound board. Jon Haddad will delight us on the drums. And, joy upon joy, John Hamilton - the current interim minister at First Church - will ground us all by playing the keyboards.
If you're in the area, please make a point to stop in. It will be a blast and our sisters and brothers in in need of the shelter could use your support.
Playing for Our Lives
A Music and Poetry Benefit Concert to Combat Homelessness
In Solidarity with Service.Net and Barton’s Crossing
Saturday, June 15, 2019
Linda Worster, Famous Before We’re Dead
First Church of Christ on Park Square
27 East Street, Pittsfield, MA 01201
Service.Net is our community resource that offers a progressive pathway out of homelessness through local shelters and housing programs. 70% of its funding comes from local, state, federal and United Way contracts – but 30% must be raised through private donations. All proceeds from tonight’s concert will go to direct services to support our homeless sisters and brothers.