Thursday, January 18, 2007




One of my most recently favorite shows to watch on TV is Heroes. In great part thanks to Uncle Tio, I've been irrevokably turned on to the under-the-radar creative genius of this show - which is part X-Men, part 1 Corinthians 12, part of my dream-world-come-true.

As I grew up I dreamed many times of being a super-hero, doing remarkable things, in particular as I so often felt so un-remarkably ordinary. Whether it was the under-water powers of Aquaman, the wonder-twin powers, seeing through walls, flying in the air, being able to control the weather, or even just to have the knowledge to build a teleporter and then go anywhere anytime...I always dreamed that such powers would be the ideal way to escape the boredom of life. The irony is that yesterday someone told me that "boredom is simply a lack of attention to detail." - I'm not sure what that means, or what they meant about me!?

Anyway this past week at Fruitvale Church we read and listened to the following scriptures Matthew 5:13-16, Romans 12:3-21 and 1 Corinthians 12:1-6. They talk about Jesus calling his disciples to be universe-transforming and life-sustaining SALT and LIGHT in the world, that such feats are possible by the many and multiply diverse gifts that the Spirit of God gives us in order for us (this is my favorite part - Romans 12:21) to not be overcome by evil, but to overcome evil with good. As I meditated on that word for the week, I couldn't help but think about Heroes - the similitude of those scriptures and the comparison/contrast between Peter and Hiro and Sylar. In fact I think maybe just maybe the writer-creators of Heroes are inspired by Christian faith or at least the Judeo-Christian perspective on community, vocation, and gifts....maybe it's James Dobson's true vision of family values?

In any it really to freaky to imagine that God is actually calling us to be heroes and heroines...using our gifts to overcome evil for good - the good of all - as opposed to being sylar-ishly overcome by evil? Didn't Calvin compare predestination-salvation to being "on some sort of list?" Is it really all that far fetched?

Are you on the list?
If so who are you?
I took the test at quizfarm and discovered that I'm most like Peter and Hiro.

Take the test and see what hero you're most like here.

The story continues Monday, January 22nd @ 9pm on NBC.

Check out Hiro's Blog here.

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

An editorial from Monte McClain – Pastor, Fruitvale Presbyterian Church

We often start the New Year with thoughts of regret and dreams of new opportunities and familiar pains that we hope to avoid. We see this in the endless list of “best-ofs” that come out at this time of year about the best music, movies, books, memories, photos, as well as the “worst-ofs” in music, actions of Hollywood Stars, decisions of politicians, government policies, and fashion statements. There is something deep inside of us longing for a better place, a deeper life, more meaning, less pain, some sort of transformation of our daily mundane lives into what the testimonies of the Bible call “New Life.” What’s ironic is that we seem to start each year looking back in order to know what to avoid in the coming year. The stories, ethos and worldview of the Bible invite us to look back differently. The stories of those that have gone before us in faith invite us to look back in order to remember so that when it happens again we’ll be ready – not to avoid it – but to seize upon the opportunities of grace, growth, and goodness that God will surely and faithfully provide again. The worldview of the Hebrew and Chrsitian Scriptures invites us to have Double Vision – not where we see double – but where we look back in faithfulness in order to look forward with vision and expectancy.

Proverbs 28:19 says “without a vision the people persish.” A friend often says, “without a road map you have no chance of getting where you hope to go.” January is a time of celebration and also of anticipation and reflection. Where are you going as a person of faith? Where are we headed as a community of faith? How has God been faithful to and through us in 2006? And how is God calling us to be faithful in our presence, purpose and passion in 2007? This month in worship we’re taking the time to talk about the four principal cornerstones of our church vision and core values (worship, administriation, visitation, and outreach – read more in this month’s Session report). We’ll be looking to the scriptures to hear about how our core values as a church community and the vision for our minsitries are not just based on my dreams, or on the limitations of our church budget, but upon what we believe to be God’s call for us.

In receving several new members into our church community this past month I was struck by their comments. Each was attracted to our church and kept coming back for more because of different and diverse things, from the concrete teaching to the relationships and community, from the emphasis upon social action to the creativity of our worship celebrations. Oftentimes church congregations are good at talking about change, transformation, and ministry, but slow to actually do it. My deepest hope for Fruitvale – and what we believe the Holy Spirit is doing – is that we continue to become even more of a community in which all peole can discover, re-discover, or deepen their faith; a community in which we practice being Chrisitian in our worship celebrations, community times, educational activities, and visitations – so that when we are all individually out in the world we will know how to and be able to be Christian – not necessarily perfect – but definitely in ways that are concrete, pertinent, and authentic. Jesus taught that we “are the light of the world….therefore let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to God in heaven.” (Matthew 5:15-16) As I sit here and type I realize how easy it is for me to say that and how challenging it is to do that. What does it mean to be a light? Are we not lights already? How do you keep shining as a light when you get tired, frustrated, overwhelemed or confused? Such questions and needs are why we gather as a church to practice our christian-ness in worship. It’s why we have the same liturgy each week – confessing our sins, being reminded of God’s love, praying for one another, listening to the Scriptures and giving an offering in response to God’s initial gift of life and love. We all know that practice doesn’t necessarily make perfect, but it does make us authentic…and isn’t that what we’re all looking and longing for in a faith community and church home?
Peace to you and yours,

Saturday, January 06, 2007

Children of Men

I recently escaped from reality for 2 hours by watching the current movie "Children of Men." Set in a future England, consumed by chaos following the unexplainable and sudden mass-infertility of the human race it discusses the themes of love, race, xenophobia, imperialism, freedom, and hope.

The film begins with the protagonist uttering, "I can't really remember that last time I had any hope, and really I can't really remember the last time anyone did." What would life be like in a world with no children, no infants, no which the youngest person would be an adult? What would life be like without the laughter heard in parks, the crying in the middle of the night, the applause of proud spectators at a children's performance... What hope would we have if we knew that the entire human race would become extinct within our generation's lifespan?

Exciting, fun, thrilling, and thought-provoking the film was well worth the escape time...which brought me back around to our post-9/11, post-colonial reality with a different perspective. The film portrays a world in which a tyrant has taken imperial/totalitarian control of a nation in the name of security and justice, placing the blame for most societal problems on the foreigners in their midst. Arrested and emprisoned in abandoned cities these illegals become the place for the re-birth of hope in the world. As the miracle baby is born, despite the best efforts of the ruling tyrant (resembling Herod, Caesar, or any other number of rulers), the radical terrorists working to throw off the rod of the big-brother-ish government-oppressors by violence and mass proletariat uprising, are upstaged in their belief that only war can liberate. For in the middle of a massive street battle, craddled in rags on the floor surrounded by unamed foreigners imprisoned, forgotten, and walking in darkness, the cries of an infant lead the people - even the terrorists and the governement troops - to a new understanding of peace, justice, and HOPE. What would the cries of a new-born baby sound like in a world that hadn't heard such music for 30something years? What sounds like annoyance to some in public places, or the announcement of another sleepless night, might sound quite different in such a place. I found myself reflecting on the prophecies of the Hebrew Scriptures, the birth narratives in the Christian Gospels, and on our own world today. What is the hope I'm waiting for? What is the hope that our world is longing, aching, and living for?

Go and see the film (despite my spoiler comments)!
Check out the Official Film Website Here

Enlist in the Human Project Here

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Afgani- Saale Nao Mubbarak Afrikaans - Gelukkige nuwe jaar Albanian - Gezuar Vitin e Ri
Armenian - Snorhavor Nor Tari Arabic - Antum salimoun Assyrian - Sheta Brikhta Azeri - Yeni Iliniz Mubarek! Bengali - Shuvo Nabo Barsho
Chinese (Cantonese) - Sun nien fai lok Chinese (Mandarin) - Xin nian yu kuai Danish - Godt Nytår Dutch - Gelukkig nieuwjaar Farsi - Aide shoma mobarak French - Bonne année Gaelic - Aith-bhliain Fe Nhaise Dhuit German - Gutes Neues Jahr Hawaiian - Hauoli Makahiki Hou Hebrew - Shanah tovah Hindi (Indian) - Nav Varsh Ki Badhaai/ Naya Saal Mubarak Ho Hmong - Nyob zoo xyoo tshiab Indonesian - Elamat Tahun Baru Italian - Buon Capo d'Anno Japanese - Akemashite Omedetou Gozaimasu Norwegian - Godt Nyttår Pilipino (Tagalog) - Maligayang Bagong Taon Polish - Szczesliwego Nowego roku Portuguese - Feliz ano novo Romanian - La Multi Ani Russian - S Novym Godom Spanish - Feliz Año Nuevo Sudanese - Wilujeng Tahun Baru Swedish - Gott Nytt År Turkish - Yeni Yiliniz Kutlu Olsun Welsh - Blwyddyn Newydd Dda