This blog has been silent for nearly two months. Even the last post was only a compilation of a (albeit good) photographer’s work. And though this site is based on and monetized around a specific filter of looking at the world, I feel the need to address more current issues.
I remember when my wife and I were attending a church in the Boston area, starting sometime in 2000 and ending abruptly — I know the date — one September Sunday a year later. On Sundays in August and early September of 2001, the preacher had been going through a series on the Ten Commandments.
Then 9/11 happened.
And the world stopped for a minute. Everywhere. Just stopped.
And the Sunday following, that same preacher who had gripped me with very keen observations about the call in the Bible on my life, told the congregation that he was not going to wade into the many perspectives about that horrible event five days earlier but rather was going to continue the series. That fucking, now basically — if temporarily — irrelevant series of do’s and don’ts all in the face of terrorist attacks that killed people in my hometown of New York City, men and women on a plane headed toward the nation’s capitol, and some of our civilian and military personnel in the Pentagon. I can still see that preacher’s bespectacled fucking face as he decided to talk about “Thou shalt not covet thy neighbor’s prize heifer,” or some shit like that.
The preacher was massively, shockingly, tone-deaf.
He completely ignored and therefore minimized the pain that I, and I’m sure others, felt.
I’ve heard it said that a preacher’s job is to “comfort the afflicted and afflict the comfortable.” I first heard that more than twenty years ago, and I still think that’s what a preacher — like no one else — can do. But that mealy -faced motherfucker glided right past my tear-stained face that had not stopped weeping since Tuesday prior.
It was right then that I decided, and my wife agreed — though in much less profane terms — that we needed a different church.
I never went back there.
And so, to a great extent, I admit I have been tone deaf in my desire to monetize and not connect with anyone reading this.
I still think it’s important to show what I love: sometimes beautiful, sometimes gritty, and always (I hope) realistic views of the downtown and surrounding areas of small towns and even, dare I say, the small neighborhoods of large cities. New York City is largely a collection of those “small towns.” Such was my Upper East Side and even more so my Upper West Side.
So to admit what I am going through during this tumultuous year, to honor what many people have been going through since November 9, 2016, to honor the events that my former fellow Upper West Siders have been going through, I will occasionally dip into if not focus on current topics as they are borne out locally.
I’m not smart enough to navigate these topics’ truths or nuances. But I believe I’m observant enough to see how they appear in everyday life.
In small town USA.