reprinted from December 2013 MBRA Newsletter
How do we look to those passing by? Observations…questions…hopes…concerns
by Marjorie Klise
I was in San Francisco last week, and as usual when I am there, I attended a particular church service. It is one of those situations that reassure me of the amazing breadth of humanity.
The first clue that this is not your usual congregation is the fact that if you drive to church you just double park along a very busy street and give your keys to a total stranger! Some of these people are church staff and some are members of the local homeless community. They are able to move cars to let those who have parked on the inside depart if necessary. There is no tip or payment required when you retrieve your keys and drive away….just a smile and a thank you.
Upon entering the church it doesn’t take long for someone to recognize you as a newcomer, so you get a hug and a hearty welcome…and someone motions you to join them in a pew. I sat with a gentleman who is HIV positive, a public defender with the SF courts, an accountant and a homeless woman who is wheelchair bound and sight impaired. (Robin Williams was a congregant when I was there last time.) We found many ideas and thoughts to share and when the loud, brash and totally professional choir began to sing with the aid of a great band, we stood and clapped and swayed and finger-clicked and hugged some more. I am not normally a big hugger but there is no stopping these folks.
When the homily began with the statement that “we are all part of a radical inclusive community” it occurred to me that the Moss-Bradley area also is a radical inclusive community. Here on the west bluff we step up to offer our services to each other and don’t expect anything in return. We welcome the newcomers with coffee and hugs. We are a mix of color, politics, race and profession. And we take a risk. We attempt to include, not exclude.
So if you see a bit of a swagger in our step it is just because we know this inclusive life can not only work but that it is the only way to make this world a better place…and to pass on our rich radical heritage to those who come after.
(And if you go to San Francisco head for the Tenderloin and see what radical inclusiveness can look like on Sunday AM.)