taking the words of Jesus seriously

Subway. N-Line. Crossing the bridge into Manhattan. Three in the afternoon.


The shouting begins.


“’Scuse me, ladies and gentlemen, showtime.”


“Alright alright, ” shouts another. “Showtime ladies and gentleman, showtime!”


A little guy tries out the word in baritone, latter emphasis: “Show TIME! Show TIME!”


They begin blaring the bass to some dirty break beat I’ve never heard on these teensy little tweeters. Then the dancing begins. Break dancing. The moves they employ are the well-adapted grandchildren of moves the original B-boys used to pull.


Your first time to New York, watching an impromptu breakdance session on a subway lead by ten-year-olds is this awe-inspiring moment of wonder, as it should be. And like all things, it takes work to wake the wonder again. It gets old after the third, fourth, tenth time. Call me jaded, but most Midwesterners would never tolerate hyper-loud break beats and all-out dance sessions inside their minivans on their morning commutes. The train is my car. I can’t just hit the power button and turn off the sound.


Which is why most New Yorkers end up with this glaze over their eyes to-and-from work – the city’s loud and huge and busy. Quiet and solitude are delicacies seldom savored.


But if you watch and wait, you’ll find wonder.


When I’m at my best, I try to pay attention to the young men dancing. Their age. Their accents. How they treat one another. Especially how they treat one another – that’s like checking the city’s pulse.


This particular team on the bridge to Canal Street had a ringleader and seven boys. They did stuff with hats I haven’t seen – which is saying something at this point. Some of their stalls off the ceiling rails were original and one of them pulled a slow-mo trick I’ve only witnessed on YouTube. It was great, some people clapped, and they earned some generous tips – a baseball cap filled to the… well… brim.


And then the time came for them to move on to the next car. That’s how it happens – they work a car, move to the next one, wait until the train stops, the passenger exchange, make sure there’s no MTA officers, and then, “Showtime, ladies and gentlemen, showtime!”


But these seven boys didn’t move on. They sat down before and beside me and my bride. They all passed the hats to one of the twelve-year-olds, the one right next to me. He compiled the cash, gave the spare hats back, and then opened his backpack and dumped the load.


When he pulled the hat away, I saw inside. The entire backpack was full of singles, fives, some tens, a twenty.


I couldn’t resist. “Nice haul, man.”


“Thanks.” He said and then smiled. He started making stacks.


“Where you all from?”




“Headed home?”


“Yeah, man, calling it a day. Calling it a day.”


“It’s only three, ” I said. “Don’t you have like two or three more hours in you?”


“Sure, ” he said. “But we have what we need. That’s enough, man, no need to get greedy.” He divided the daily bread among his fellow gradeschoolers.


I listened as the eldest gave tips to the ones who were cocky, encouraged the ones who were anxious, and told one with stage fright, “You don’t worry about the tips. You don’t worry about the people. You worry about the moves. You’re here to dance, not make money. Dance and the money will follow. We got what we need, see?”


The first kid nodded. “We got what we need.”


Sparrows and lilies. Bread and clothes. Dancers and bills.

About The Author


Lancelot Schaubert has authored 14 books, 15 scripts, 40+ stories, 30+ songs, 60+ articles, 200+ poems, and a thesis for markets such as MacMillan (TOR), The New Haven Review (Yale’s Institute Library), The Anglican Theological Review, McSweeney’s, Writer’s Digest, The World Series Edition of Poker Pro, Standard Publishing, and the Poet’s Market — most recently his debut novel Bell Hammers, which he also narrated in theatrical audiobook. ******************************************************************************** He has ghostwritten and edited for NYT Bestsellers like Tim Keller, Brian Jennings, wrote the book proposal that sold Dr. Mark Moore’s thesis (University of Prague) to TNT Clark, was the first to review Dr. Jordan Wood’s The Whole Mystery of Christ: Creation as Incarnation in Maximus Confessor, wrote copy for large international nonprofit orgs and companies, and has served as an editor for bestselling fantasy authors Juliet Marrilier, Kaaron Warren, and Howard Andrew Jones for the anthology Of Gods and Globes (not to mention work as an senior editor / producer for The Joplin Toad and Showbear Family Circus). ******************************************************************************** As a producer and director-writer, he co-reinvented the photonovel through Cold Brewed with Mark Neuenschwander. That work caught the attention of the Missouri Tourism Board (as well as the Chicago Museum of Photography), who commissioned them to create a second photonovel, The Joplin Undercurrent; he also worked on films with Flying Treasure, WRKR, etc.; helped judge the Brooklyn Film Festival and NYC Film Festival; and he wrote, produced, and performed the symphonic novella All Who Wander. Spark + Echo selected him as their 2019 artist in residence, commissioning him to craft 8 fiction pieces that illuminated Biblical pericopes. ******************************************************************************** He’s currently on assignment in Alaska for a documentary film, on assignment in Brooklyn for a potential criminal justice piece of journalism, and many other projects. ******************************************************************************** He lives and serves to help others make what they feel called to make: to that end he has raised over $400,000 in the last seven years for film, literary, audio, and visual arts projects as an artist chaplain in Brooklyn, New York. As he types this sentence, that means clipping the beard hairs of a dying theater producer and dealing with the estate administration for said producer’s foster kids. ******************************************************************************** His 2023 book, "Least of These Least", spiked at #1 in Christian Liberation Theology, #1 in Monasticism & Asceticism, #1 in Local U.S. Politics (Neighbor love). It further hit top 30 in theology, top 15 in Worship, top 100 in U.S. politics in general. He also wrote the novel "Bell Hammers", which Publisher's Weekly called "a hoot" and narrated the audiobook version.

Related Posts

Subscribe To Our Newsletter

Join our mailing list to receive the latest news and updates from our team.


Subscribe to our mailing list

* indicates required
    Check which Newsletter(s) you'd like to receive:    

You have Successfully Subscribed!