Friday, June 29, 2007

Peet's in the Dimond
Opening this Sunday
July 1, 2007

Just learned this news thanks to Timothy Chapman
You can see more about the store on the Peet's Website

The new store address is
Peet's Dimond District
3401 Fruitvale Ave
Oakland, CA 94602

Go for a Latte on Sunday...then stop by Farmer Joe's to stock up on fantastically fresh fruits...and stick it to the union smear campaign while you stay healthy!
Nonviolence Is Organized Love:
One Hour for Peace
In Oakland's
Dimond District


July 1, 2007 @ 7:00pm


Spend an hour with your neighbors. We will light candles and hold signs that express our hopes for peace in Oakland and the world. Bring a sign if you like, but you don’t need to because we have extras. Just bring yourself.



When: Sun. July 1, 2007 at 7 PM


(the 1st of EVERY month)



Where: Oakland , Corner of MacArthur & Lincoln


(" Peace Park "--a small park across from 7-11)
This is something we’ve been doing the first of the month every month since January 1, 2005 . We always have fun and it’s great to make new friends in the community. For more information, call Ruth/Diane at 510-530-3099 or 510-504-2003 (cell).

Thursday, June 28, 2007

SHOP FARMER JOE'S


Yesterday on the news and this morning in the Tribune there are reports about the most recent brouhaha around Farmer Joe's in the Dimond.

People are saying that the food is spoiled and well past the sell-date on the shelves of this local store in East Oakland. The article and some others point to a connection between these complaints and some Union related folks who have been pressuring employees of Farmer Joe's to do a card-check election in terms of unionizing the staff at this family-owned store.

1. I'm not an expert, or necessarily objective, so read my words with my disclaimer in your mind. I'll never be in a union - because there's no money to be made either in working as a pastor or in trying to unionize the pastor workforce! I find it suspect that this is coming up now when I have the impression that the Union forces are losing face in our neighborhood.

2. Famer Joe's is just the kind of business, along with others such as Paws & Claws, that will not only transform our Oakland neighborhoods but then also sustain the dynamic they help create.

3. I've shopped at Safeway - a union store - and noticed the difference. I'd disagree with the quotes in the article. Based on experience in the Dimond, the non-union store is definitely the way to go. Unless you like shopping for items and not finding them on emtpy shelves.

4. The Tams (owners of Farmer Joe's) work their butts off. Their staff is always courteous, helpful and kind. If they're being persecuted by the store owners it must be in some bizarre, Brave-New-World under-the-counter electric shock thing going on that zapps disgruntled employees without anyone - and I mean me - having ever noticed in my 80 or so trips to the store.

5. If you can't tell if a product is past its shelf-life, put on your glasses, learn to read, use your seeing-eye dog, or as a last resort actually ask the staff in the store - there to help you - for help in reading the very complicated labeling that our goverment ensures is used on food products for sale.

6. If you buy something that's rotten, take it back. Duh! That's what receipts are for. Don't call KTVU or KRON. Simply go to customer service. If it's not ripe....wait...nature works that way.

7. Fight the power. Shop Farmer Joe's. Let the union build their own grocery store!

8. If you don't believe me. Believe others. Check out their yelp review of Farmer Joe's.

9. This is a smear campaign, meant to bring down a quality business that is strengthening our (re)emerging neighborhood.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Blogging Towards Sunday
July 1, 2007
"Get over yourself already!
And follow me."
-Jesus of Nazareth, Luke 9:62
(monteskewed translation)


I'm relfecting on the Lectionary List Scriptures that we're using as our foundational word and invitation to relfection on the meaning of life, and our lives this coming Sunday, July 1st at Fruitvale Church in Oakland. We're lifting up the following 2 scriptures because of their commonalities. Psalm 77,:1-2, 11-20 & Luke 9:51-62. Jesus is talking about discipleship...what it costs to follow him, and what it looks like. I quickly thought of German Theologian Dietrich Bonhoeffer and his classic (and probably way-too-often quoted) comparison of cheap vs. costly grace (even if it is fantastically radical in terms of meaning-making in our 21st century lives and livelihoods).

Pslam 77 is the prayer-cry of someone facing deep fear, radical doubt, and extreme isolation. She cries out so that God will hear her. It's interesting that the prayer poem starts with verses focused on "I did this.." "I said this..." and then moves onto talking about God saying "you are.." "you will..." it then continues with comments in the 3rd person about how the universe responds "the clouds..." before conluding with an affirmation of faith about how God led the people through the sea, delivering them, guiding them to free, liberated life under the leadership of Moses and Aaron. The psalm-poem challenges the isolation felt by the depressed poet, inviting her to open her mind and world-view to recognize that she is part of something bigger, that her life is part of a chain, interdependent and connected to those that have lived before her (and who'll undoubtedly come after her). It's a freeing movement from the depravity of isolation to the meaning-making of community, from an experience of drifting chaos to one of centered rootedness, from me-centered to other-centered life.

In Luke 9:51-62 Jesus is confronted with different responses to who he is as a Jewish man, as well as by diverse reactions and interpretations of his call to discipleship. When the Samaritans, who were the racially excluded and oppressed victims of Jewish culture at that time (because they were viewed as hybrids - not in a good Prius-sort-of-way, but in an impure, traitorous, heretic way), reject Jesus, the latter's disciples want to reign down fire on them. They want to avenge this rejection through violence, subconsciously or maybe overtly wanting to perpetuate the genocidal/racist/elitists division and self-righteousness that they've grown up with through more violence in the hope of wiping the bad guys out. Jesus rebukes them (How? Interesting that the text doesn't say in v. 55). As they continue to journey along the road a fellow disciple/traveller announces proudly, "where you go Jesus I'll go too!" Jesus then sets about with some seemingly depressing and discouraging proclamations. Is Jesus trying to discourage his followers? Is he trying to weed out the losers? Is he anti-family in saying that you have to "let the dead bury the dead", not worrying about dying (or most likely alread long dead) family members, but rather follow him? What is he some sort of radical extremist karesh-styled cult-leader? I think that Jesus is actually unmasking the powers and excuses through a radicalized invitation. You can't have 2 masters. You can't have it both ways. You can't have it your way. You either follow or you don't. His response seems to be "Get over yourself and follow me!"

At first reading I'm a bit scandalized. I mean I want to be open, not tolerant for tolerance's sake, not open to keep all my options open, but open in the sense that I have to believe that just because I say it's true doesn't mean it's the Truth. I want to, and have committed to, follow Jesus with all of my life; yet I don't want that to imply a self-aggrandizing or self-righteous judgement of everyone else as lost, loser, or destined to burn in hell for all eternity. OK - so you say the scriptures might say that....but I'm not sure that they really do. Maybe I'm a product of my generation and culture....maybe I'm just a Bobo

Instead of community arising as a byproduct of rigid belief, people will return
to religious belief beacause of their desire for community. In other
words, people will return to religious tradition not necessarily because
they accept the truth of revelation, but precisely because the absence of
community and the transience of social ties in the secular world makes them
hungry for ritual and cultural tradition. They will help the poor or their
neighbors not because doctrine tells them they must, but rather because they
want to serve their community and find that faith-based organizations are
the most effective ways of doing so. They will repeat ancient prayers and
reenact age-old rituals not because they believe they were handed down by
God, but rather because they want their children to have proper values, and
because they want to enjoy the comfort of ritual and the sense of sahred
experience it brings. In a sense they will not be taking religion seriously
on its own terms. Religion becomes a source of ritual in a society that has
been stripped bare of ceremony, and thus a reasonable extension of the
natrual desire for social relatedness with which all human beings are born.
(pp. 242-243)

Checkout the book (Bobos in Paradise) at amazon.com or read author David Brook's Blog

I want to believe that we have choice, and yet no choice, that we have freedom and yet we have a deep need for ritual and rootedness in the past. Just because it's old it doesn't mean it's not good. Just because I want the freedom to choose doesn't mean that I think it's all about me - or that it every should be. It's a dialetic - both free to choose and not free not too choose. Reminds me of a quote from the Jewish Writings of the Fathers - the Pirke Avot 2:21,

"You are not obliged to complete the task,

Neither are you free to refrain from it."

I want to find community and both live in it and from it. For me community comes from faith, an invitation to move from me to we, from self-centered to other-focused, from radical consumer-oriented individualism to meaning-making and world-changing community. David Brooks' reflection is thought-provoking, yet I haven't choosen to participate in a faith community only in a search for community. For me Jesus said the same thing, but without the baggage that we've maybe collecteed by living in a time/culture/space stripped of ritual, meaning-making belief, and faith-based community."

Then his mother and his brothers came to him, but they could not reach him
because of the crowd. And [Jesus] was told, ‘Your mother and your
brothers are standing outside, wanting to see you.’ But [Jesus] said to
them, ‘My mother and my brothers are those who hear the word of God and do
it.’

Luke 8:19-21

A friend turned me on to this funny mechurch video below. It gives a funny glimpse of the me-focused extremes I'm talking about and the pseudo/psychotic faith that Jesus is trying to unmask in Luke 9 and inviting followers to get over through his challenging words.

I don't think Jesus is a radical extremist all-for-me-or-nothing cultish leader, rather I think he's a prophet of justice and righteousness calling us - still today - on our self-importance, self-absorption and belief that we can satisfy oursevles through our own independent actions, thoughts, and words.

I'm turned on to Brandi Carlile these days, in one song "The Story" she sings the following words that resonate deeply with the scriptures for Sunday -

You see these lines upon my face,

they tell you the story of who I am,

So many stories of where I've been

and how I got to where I am

But theses stories don't mean anything,

If you don't have anyone to tell them to,

You. I was made for you.

If life is a story...which in a sense is what we believe if Jesus is understood as the WORD of God spoken to the universe, to us,...then we are invited to listen to the story, to tell ours...to enter a dialogue focused not upon ourselves, but outside of ourselves...not because it's good for us...but because being in the dialogue is what makes sense of life, making meaning of our actions, words, relationships, work and rest.

montana slim
live video bit
sf 062607

montana slim my favorite blue-grass band in nor cal played their first ever presbytery gig today at a church gathering i attended. here's a minute long clip of their jamming on the song "telluride"



i loved seeing various friends, acquaintances and colleagues sitting, eating dim sum and talking together while the men of montana slim did their blue grass thing in the summer fog of the city. where else but in san francisco? you can learn more about them and discover their future concert gig schedule in and around san francisco on their myspace page here.

Monday, June 25, 2007

Here's a plug for a blogging event in our Presbytery...taking place Tuesday, June 26th during the Summer Celebration at the Meeting at Covenant Pres. Church, SF beginning at 2:30pm.

Blogging,
Not just for Geeks Anymore:
Technology and Community
in San Francisco Presbytery

Come and join others who are engaged and interested in this whole "Blogging" and "Social Networking" thing and how it may help pastors, leadership, congregations and our presbytery to build bridges and have conversations in new and compelling ways.

Who is it for?
Anyone who . . .
are bloggers
are part of online social networks
are intrigued by this and might want to start
has been bugging their church to get tech-savvy
want to learn about some ways that blogging and social networking might be useful
just wants to observe these religious-tech-geeks in captivity

What are possible "Take Aways" from the time?
:: Build some SF Presbytery connections via technology
:: Start a face2face small group
:: Start an online discussion group
:: Hold a training event
:: Start Presbytery Blog
:: Build Presbytery Wide Social Network Connections

What to Bring?
:: And open mind
:: Sunny disposition
:: Laptop w/wireless would be ideal, but not neccessary

This learning/networking-community time will be facilitated by hacker extraordinaire Bruce Reyes-Chow. I'll be there in the front with my laptop, taped glasses, and bitter-sweet sunny disposition!

Saturday, June 23, 2007

OAKLAND
in the news
& other tidbits


If you're a resident and/or fan of Oakland, in particular the neighborhoods of East Oakland here are 3 intersting tidbits/news links I learned of this week through my online reading and networking.

1. City Share in the Dimond
2. Oakland named #1 city in terms of renewable energy
3. Oakland in the NY Times
4. Laurel Music Festival - Fete de la Musique

1. City CarShare Could Come to the Dimond:
Does your teen or college student disappear with your car? Are you a senior or avid bicyclist who only needs a car occasionally? Want to cuts costs and get rid of a second car used only a few times a month? My office and the Dimond Improvement Association have been discussing with City CarShare the possibility of expanding into the Dimond commercial district. City CarShare is a non-profit organization that provides members with around-the-clock access to a fleet of cars throughout the Bay Area, primarily for short trips, featuring a choice of compacts, pickup trucks, hybrids and Minis. Members sign up for a fee (now waived under a special trial period) and get an electronic key in the mail. Reservations are made on line. Driving rates are $4/hour and 44 cents per mile. City CarShare is looking for 200 probable users in the Dimond area. If you are interested in being one of the 200, email Richard Cowan in our office or contact the Dimond Improvement Association. City CarShare will also be at the next Dimond Improvement Association meeting at the Dimond Library, Thursday, July 5 at 7:30 pm.

(I lifted this from Councilwoman Jean Quan's Website & Weekly Web News)


2. Oakland rated #1 for Cities in terms of renewable energy use.
This comes from Jean Quan's weekly webupdate too. Here's a link to read the article online.

3. Oakland makes news in the NY Times.
Unfortunately it's again about the spiraling out of control murder rate. Here's the link to the article.

4. Laurel Music Festival - Fete de la Musique
Today's the day for a great event - the 2nd annual Laurel Music Festival - from 1-7pm. Great Fun! We went last year and enjoyed the music, great food, community tables & connections and the excellent kids' area. My daughters couldn't get enough of the fishing hole and the pony rides! Here's the link to learn more.
It's the Laurel version of Fete de la Musique, a great nation-wide celebration in France every summer solstice (June 21st) - a great way to start off the summer (Here's the official French Homepage)....I'm glad that our neighbors in the Laurel have such vision and desire for community fun!

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Responsibility
in a Flattening Urban World

I was at a dinner gathering/discussion last night talking about hope, peace and sharing what the gathered folks experience as good news in their lives. It was exciting, encouraging and envigorating...sharing ideas, feeling a connectedness that breathes and nurtures community. I found myself relfecting on some words we meditated upon together last night, and some others that I have written on the first page of my journal.
"For our sake he made him to be sin
who knew no sin, so that in him
we might become the righteousness of God."
- 2 Corinthians 2:21

"You are not obliged to complete the task,
niether are you free to refrain from it."
-Prike Avot 2:21

"Imagination is more important than knowledge."
-Albert Einstein

"Love is just like breathing when it's true."
-The Indigo Girls

This morning as I try to center for the day, reading the paper, with coffee and some reflection... I'm struck by the ideas of these quotes...responsibility, inter-dependence, creativity, a new way of being with oneself and with each other. What does it mean that we aren't obliged to do anything...and yet neither are we free to do nothing. I think I get it...but do I really? What does Paul mean when we says that "we might become the righteousness of God?" What does that mean in terms of responsibility, obligation, freedom, and the way we live, breathe, and move in the world?

In the papers and my internet reading I'm struck by stories of interdependence, how we're Bound Together and making connections in our globalized and ever-flattening world. I'm saddened by the tragic news of a Maxwell Park neighbor shot last night by another too impatient driver because the former took to long to parallel park, the story of the Morrissey family murder/suicide/familicide, and the reality that Baghdad is as unstable as ever, and the tragic death of Michael James Keenan who died from burn suffered in a act of selfless good-samaritan-ism.

In our urban, ever-flattening world we can't live in isolation, withdrawing from the pain, horrors, tragedies, and blight around us....yet on a certain level that's what we long for. How do you respond when your neighbor is robbed by older children looking for a Play Station, or another is shot for driving too slow, or another dies trying to save your dog? How do we understand the concept of neibhorliness in a globalized world...where we might have more in common with folks in Shanghai, Jakarta, Lima, Bangalore, or Frankfurt than with those living next doors to us?

Everywhere I went yesterday I saw the tired face of Bruce Willis staring out at me from the back of AC Transit buses declaring the movie title and motto "Live Free or Die Hard" Catchy title...but what does it mean for those of us seeking to live, not just survive, in freedom - fully human lives in the midst of the oftentimes chaotic cacophony of urban life? If Paul is correct in saying that in and through Christ we are becoming the righteousness of God...what does that say about us - our responsibilities, relationships, and actions? What does it say about God's nature, purpose and passion?

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Blogging Towards Sunday, June 24th
Freedom from Fear

The Biblical Texts suggested by the Lectionary List of Scriptures for this coming Sunday include:

I'm focusing on 1 Kings, Psalm 42 and Luke 8 because as I study and meditate on them I hear the common themes of hunger, thirst, fear, terror, despair, memory, hope, transformation, wholeness, humanness and freedom.





1 Kings 19 continues the telling of the story of the life, ministry and example of the prophet Elijah in ancient Israel. Alone in his faithfulness to the God of Israel, he faces a multitude of competing and false prophets sent by the twisted King Ahab and deceiving Queen Jezebel. In chapter 18 Elijah takes on 450 prophets of Baal in a contest of God's power, a bit like a religious reality show "hour of power" in which the God of Israel is victorious. Elijah commands the people to kill the 450 false prophets as a spiritual cleansing of his nation which has turned to worship other gods such as Baal, through ways such as child sacrifice, as opposed to worshipping the God of Israel by caring for the orphan, widow and foreigner. Elijah's victory leads to an increase in persecution, for the sore loser Jezebel puts a price on his head, sentencing him to sure death. It's then that he is overcome by despair, fear of the future, terror of what will happen to him as he is all alone. (Edvard Munch's famous painting "The Scream" captures this moment well.) Discouraged by the limitations of his resources, he longs for death, beseeching God to put him out of his misery. God doesn't grant his prayer, but instead sends an angel to feed and nourish him. God doesn't wipe away his terror, despair, and doubt. Rather God quenches his thirst and hunger, giving strength through power food and then noursishes Elijah's faith and hope by passing before him. One of the most famous selections of scripture that presents a theophany or revelation of who God is...it still speaks novels to me today...
God said, ‘Go out and stand on the mountain before the Lord, for the Lord isabout to pass by.’ Now there was a great wind, so strong that it was splitting
mountains and breaking rocks in pieces before the Lord, but the Lord was not in
the wind; and after the wind an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the
earthquake; and after the earthquake a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire;
and after the fire a sound of sheer silence. When Elijah heard it, he wrapped
his face in his mantle and went out and stood at the entrance of the cave. Then
there came a voice to him that said, ‘What are you doing here, Elijah?’ (11-13)


God speaks in an unexpected way, in a power manifest not in violence but in gentleness, not in a scream but in whisper. But God doesn't speak to Elijah in a pacifiying or reductionist way. God reminds Elijah of who he is, of who God is and the ministry to which Elijah is called...re-energizing Elijah to be faithful to Yahweh by continuing to raise him up to lead the people of God in a time of peril.

Psalm 42 could very well be the prayer that Elijah is uttering through sobs and tears as he is on the Mountain of Horeb, fleeing from Jezebel, hungry for death. The poetry reminds us that human life depends on God; we need God. Even when we can't do anything we are invited to "remember" - remember the past, remember God's faithfulness. Remember not in a past-oriented way, but in a way in which we remember in order to live now and lean into the future. In a place in which it's easy to think - or even where we're taught - that it's all up to us, the psalm poetry affirms that human life derives from or depends upon God, a God that is not forgetful, not unjust, and not passive. One of my study books refered to the opening paragraph of St. Augustine's Confessions in which he write "the thought of God stirs the [human being] so deeply that he cannot be content unless he praise God, because God made us for Godself and our hearts find no peace until they rest in him."

Luke 8 tells the miracle encounter story of an exorcism by Jesus not of Linda Blair, but of a lone man living in the area of the Gerasenes (the pagan, or non-Jewish lands to the East of the Lake of Gennesaret). The town has sentenced this one lone man to live outside the town as the scape-goat for all the evil and ills of the town and its people. Jesus exorcises him, freeing him not only from the demon possession by Legion but also from his dehumanizing rejection, isolation, and banishment to live among the tombs and loneliness of the graveyard. Jesus' power transforms his terror to wholeness, re-humanizing him, inviting him not only to life, but new life as discipleship. Perhaps the village folks are more scared of this man being not only freed and tolerated but also included and listened to than just him being healed and made whole. One writer (Francois Bovon) commented that Jesus wants people around him that are fully human: the definition of salvation. But this salvation doesn't reduce itself to Jesus wanting us to simply be normal, like everyone else.

So what is this freedom that the 3 texts talk of? Freedom to hear God's voice. Freedom to remember in order to lean into the future. Freedom to be fully human, fully present, fully involved, and fully part of God's plan made known in Jesus of Nazareth.

Problems/Questions I have with the texts include the following:

1. What's up with Elijah? Maybe he made the whole thing up. It'd be a convenient explanation-story for why he couldn't take his own life. Yet if so why make God's presence and voice so weird - so gentle - so unexpected?

2. What's up with the psalmist? Is she simply choosing to see life through "rose colored glasses" instead of recognizing what everyone around her is asking - "Where is your God?" Is this simply a poem inviting us to the pie-in-the-sky belief that Marx and the materialists described as the opiate of the masses and that Nietzsche affirms as the reasons that Christianity is for the weak?

3. What's up with Jesus? If he's all about freedom, inclusion, and the human community why does he stick it to the owner of the herd of pigs while he saves this one lone man? Isn't he simply transfering the suffering of one person to another? Plus does this passage lift up a belief that human beings are more important than animals? And why doesn't Jesus let the man come with him? Why sentence this newly-freed town reject/scape-goat to remain and live with those that treated him so badly, oppressing and dehumanizing him for so long?

What strikes me underneath and throughout the 3 passages is the theme of hunger, thirst, and freedom. These scriptures don't describe what the materialists and modern atheists depict as the god delusion and the opiate of the masses. It's not about faith that invites the poor and dispossessed to simly accept their fate. Rather it paints the picture of a God that nourishes us, seeking a relationship with us and for us to be in relationship with one another in new ways. The God made known in Jesus the Christ doesn't simply want us to be normal but to be whole, not simply to be healed but to be saved.

Makes me think of the prayer of thanksgiving spoken over the waters before baptism (from the Book of Common Worship)

Pour out your Spirit upon us
and upon this water,
that this font may be your womb of new birth.
May all who now pass through these waters
be delivered from death to life,
from bondage to freedom,
from sin to righteousness.
Bind them to the household of faith,
guard them from all evil.
Strenthen them to serve you with joy
until the day you make all things new.
To you be all praise, honor, and glory;
through Jesus Christ our Savior,
who, with you and the Holy Spirit,
lives and reigns forever.
Amen.

Friday, June 15, 2007

COMING SOON
Peet's Coffee in the Dimond
Meet New Store Manager
Scott Soo-Hoo

I met today with the manager of the new Peet's Coffee store scheduled to open on Fruitvale Ave. across from Farmer Joe's in the Dimond District in July. If you've been by the store lately you'll notice that it looks ready to go. And it nearly is!

Scott Soo-Hoo is the manager of the new store. I met him through a friend that often hung out at the store Scott previously managed in the East Bay. So I decided to seek him out to learn a bit more about developments in the new store. Scott is a native of Oakland, having lived all across the city for over 40 years, and also owned his own small business for about 7 years on Grand Ave. He's now been working in coffee for 12 years. For Peet's, Scott has had a wide variety of professional responsabilities including: store management, training employees and management, opening new stores, and written training manuals. He's excited about working at the new Dimond store because it's in the Dimond district, a smaller, more communal area with a neighborhood feel, in the throngs of revitalization, and also because he lives nearby.

When asked about the recent crime in the Dimond, Scott shared that the Peet's has done research, and been informed by both our Dimond beat officer and public crime statistics. They've noted that most crimes occur after 9pm. so the store will be open daily (Mon-Sun) from 5:30am to 8:00pm (every day except Christmas). The store will have security cameras installed in both the front and the back in order to both reduce crime by being visual and also to prevent internal theft. Scott has also already had some contact and communication with the Dimond Merchant's Association, specifically with Ruth Villasenor co-owner of Paws-&-Claws, and co-chair of the Dimond Business & Professional Association.

The store will have about 25 chairs. There will be 3 large tables with benches and chairs, as well as a handicap accessible table and a taller counter-table alongside the window facing Fruitvale Ave. They won't have Wi-Fi access, but Scott mentioned that he's heard it's possible to pick it up free on the block. As of this moment they don't plan on outside seating.

The store will open in July, even if you see people beginning to work in the space in the next weeks. They've had had to push back the initial open date of June 25th because of construction complications regarding their power, which are taking longer than expected. Once they get things up and running, Scott looks forward to participating in the larger Dimond community both through the DMA and other avenues. He's willing to listen to what's happening (give him some time to settle in) and to help out in the community.

I asked a bit about the staff currently being trained. Scott said that 3/4 of them come from our community and that 85% are also customers of Peet's. In general he says that the new hires were those that interviewed well, were passionate about Peet's products and also passionate about the neighborhood.

Since it is all about coffee - I asked Scott what he drinks. He's a fan of all teas, currently excited about Organic Jade Mist, a certified organic green tea that Peet's carries. It has a green tea flavor and doesn't turn bitter if seeped too long. He's also a fan of Black Kenyan Coffee because of its subtleties and nuances.

Look for Scott when the stores opens for business next month!
How do we know that what we call the truth

is true?

Postmodern Musings

“Postmodernism

is incredulity towards metanarratives.”

- Jean-François Lyotard

The past weeks at our church I've been teaching and talking about reading the Bible. Is is still worth it? How do we read it? How do we understand what the message or messages is/are that it declares? Is it true? Can we claim that it is?



This past Sunday I talked about truth....using the above quote from Jean-François Lyotard who many might consider to be the father-figure of the notion of 'postmodernism' since he was one of the first to have the courage to attempt a definition of it. For him, postmodernism is the suspicion of and disbelief in “big stories” (metanarratives). The central tension for him is between science and narratives. The question of the relation between modernity and postmodernity revolves around the issue of LEGITIMATION. Modernity, then, appeals to science to legitimate its claim – and by “science” we simply mean the notion of a universal, autonomous reason. Science, then, is opposed to narrative, which attempts not to prove its claims but rather to proclaim them within a story. Narrative knowledge is grounded in the custom of a culture and, as such, does not require legitimation. Lyotard says that scientific knowledge, which considered itself to be a triumph over narrative knowledge, covertly grounds itself in a narrative (or orginary myth). Science says its legitimate because of REASON – a supposedly universal criterion. The appeal to reason as the criterion for what constitutes knowledge is but one more language game among many, shaped by founding beliefs or commitments that determine what constitutes knowledge within the game; reason is grounded in myth. What characterizes the postmodern condition, then, is not a rejection of grand stories in terms of scope or in the sense of epic claims, but rather an unveiling of the fact that all knowledge is rooted in some narrative or myth.



In other words there can be no such thing as objective knowledge.

What then are the implications for faith

- in particular the Christian faith I (and maybe you too) subscribe to?

What’s at stake is the relationship between faith and reason.
Faith is shared by faithful storytelling. It cannot be proved or demonstrated with reason.
Crucial for our discipleship and formation is being able to write ourselves into the story of God’s redeeming action in the world – being able to find our role in the play, our character in the story. To do that, we need to know the story, and that story should be communicated when we gather as the people of God, that is, in worship. This is why the most postmodern faith communities, and Christian congregations will be those that lean to be ancient, reenacting the biblical narrative.



Because the church values narrative, it values story and the way in which stories are told through signs and symbols (such as water, bread, wine, oil, sand, fire, wind, and the cross). The arts will need to be more valued as an incarnational medium that embodies the story of God’s faithfulness. The church need to be characterized by hospitality, inviting the world to hear the story as we live the story for the world.



As I think about this here are some

questions to ponder, reflect upon & discuss (online if you like!)

→We have to ask ourselves what is the metanarrative that we as people of faith, or as church communities, lift up as our identity, purpose, and unity?


→Does our story living support our story telling?



→How does it change our understanding of the Jesus as the truth, the way, and the life (John 14:6) if we also subscribe to the implications of Lyotard's (and others') opinion that no truth, or explanation of origin, is objectively true, or demonstratable in an undeniably proof-able way?



→Does the implications of this thought mean that people of faith are simply more ignorant than others?; or that faith is as equally as valid as a meta-narrative to base one's life upon as the theory of evolution, atheism, or maybe the idea that the world of Harry Potter is the true universe we're supposed to live in?

A lot of the synthesis of my thoughts are results of my reading of a great little book called Who's Afraid of Postmodernism? by James K. A. Smith

The Police Concert
@ the Coliseum

My wife and I joined about 1,000,000 other people last night to fill up the Coliseum to hear The Police in their one NoCal stop on their world tour. I've never seen that many people at the Coliseum - I think that there were more of them than blades of grass on the ball field. The music was good. Of course I must admit that I was nervous watching the crowds near us on the 3rd balcony dance throughout the concert - in particular after the many beers that were drunk throughout the evening heat. I kept having psychotic visions of jumpers pitching themselves off the side in the midst of their gyrating 80s dance moves. We could see stick figures on the distant stage and thanks to the screens alongside could verify that the guys dancing around playing the bass in a white shirt and black pants was indeed Sting (well I'm at least 99% sure it was). They did 3 encores before quickly exiting in an idling car directly behind the stage in Center Field (the birdseye view of our nose bleeder seats blessed up with that privelege). We then proceeded to fight the masses either pushing their way through the crowd seeking to enter the few BART trains or smoking bowls as they waited for the train leaving Pleasanton at that moment. Anyway it was fun - Every Breath you Take was the penultimate song of the last encore...I guessed they saved their most popular till last. I'm still wondering today how much they made on the 9 x 10 to the 10th power beers that they sold throughout the concert for $10 a shot. Been searching today for a bootleg video on youtube of the concert and throughout the blogosphere - all to no avail. So I'll leave you with my favorite Police song video - "Walking In Your Footsteps"

Thursday, June 14, 2007

SPEEDBUMPS
Improving the Hood
one pile of asphalt at a time


If you live in the Dimond/Laurel Districts of Oakland or attend the Fruitvale Presbyterian Church, the faith community I serve as pastor, you may have noticed some recent construction and changes. On Rhoda Ave. (near the church) the city of Oakland added some speed bumps last week. Check out the photos if you like. Arthur White, a neighbor of our church, and the ringleader for the Rhoda Ave. Neighborhood Watch Group that meets regularly in our church space succeeded in a communal block effort to get some speedbumps on their block of Rhoda in order to slow things down. Kudos to him and everyone who worked for so long! Who would have thought that it would take nearly 2 years to get two street-width piles of striped asphalt installed. Thanks for the perseverance and good humor! Plus it looks great!

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Indigo Girls
The Concert
The Day After


So I've talked a lot about this concert. I have to at least report back. Great music. Good crowd....Amy and Emily almost didn't need to show up except to play the guitars...the crowds sang loud enough. They did an old one I haven't hear for a while, "The Power of Two" so thought I'd share it with you. Poignant lyrics and great music.

Monday, June 11, 2007

Lectionary Texts for Sunday, June 17
A Parable of Grace
Faith-Love-Salvation-Peace

The Bible passages for next Sunday, June 17th are

Psalm 5:1-8
1 Kings 21:1-21

Galatians 2:15-21
Luke 7:36-8:3

I'm focusing on Psalm 5 and Luke 7/8 at our church.

Reflecting on them this morning I'm struck by the themes: listening, pleading our case, counting on God's justice, love and faith, grace and salvation, hospitality and grace, forgiveness and love, hearing and speaking to oneself.

The Psalm is a prayer poem, asking for God to not forget the poet who is pleading his case. Surrounded by ennemies, badmouthing and threatening him, the poet is counting on God's justice, and hoping that God is in heaven, that God is just, that God hears our prayers and that God is due time will return a gracious answer of peace and deliverance.

The gospel lesson is about the woman who comes and washes the feet of Jesus with her tears and hair, and the parable Jesus then tells to the folks sitting at the table horrified by this woman's scandalous actions and Jesus un-prophetic or un-professional way of responding to her.




Jesus is invited to a meal by an at-first un-named Pharisee Simon, undoubtedly eager to learn more by having a tete-a-tete with the great teacher to discuss his questions. He invites his friends to join the celebration. While they eat an un-named lady enters the house, sits behind Jesus and starts washing and cleaning his feet (what Simon or his servants should have done to welcome the special dinner guest) with her tears, hair and ointment in an expensive alabaster jar. Only women of the street would most likely carry such ointment around for professional use. And everyone at the dinner party seems to not only know who she is but what she does. They mutter to themselves their disapproval and disappointment in Jesus who seemed to be a prophet, but must not be since he's too dense to realize what's happening and who this woman is and then to let her touch him in public. Prophets are always in control of what's happening, not victims of circumstance.

Ironically Jesus responds to the muttering and negativity with a parable story, told to Simon and his friends, although Jesus seems to be looking at the woman. It's meant not for her but for them. Both debtors are in debt to the creditor. It's the creditor who takes the initative, pardonning both debts, giving new life to both of his own free accord. So who then will, or should, be the most grateful?

Do they get it? Jesus asks Simon some interpretive questions, seeking to open his eyes to the transformative meaning of the parable - all of us are debtors, equally wether we think we're more reighteous, more equal, more pure, more "good" than others, or not. For those of Jesus' day it was about keeping the law of God without failure, about what you did (prostitutes and tax collectors weren't in the 'in' crowd). Righteousness, or favor from God, was often about race, gender, ethnicity and socio-economic status. Jesus challenges such stereotypes about who is "in" with God and who is "out." I think Simon got the parable, the implication that he too was a debtor before God just like the woman, just like all of us. But his dinner guests....seems to be another story.

Jesus pushes their buttons by saying that the woman's debts (sins) are forgiven because of her love and faith. WHAT? Only God can do that. Who is this uppity carpenter turned teacher from Nazareth, they most likely mutter to themselves. I find myself wondering....WHAT? I thought that the Biblical vision of Salvation was about Grace...a gift freely given by God, by faith alone. Jesus seems to imply that the woman is saved, forgiven, made new because of her actions....that she earned God's love.

Like all of the gospel - it has a message inviting a transforming response to the original hearers (destinatairs) of the word, to the early church for which the gospels were written down, and then also for us today. How is it that the parable is opening my eyes - our eyes - to the way that we treat others, the way that we might assume that we are more loved by God, or even more worthy of God's love - of who is in the "in" crowd and who is "outside?" Maybe our actions are more important than we seem to admit in our Reformed tradition...maybe her faith was already present well before she came to the house (why else would she seek out Jesus like she did, ready with the ointment, tears on the verge of flowing?) So maybe in a sense her actions are simply her visible demonstration of her acceptance of God's grace, power of love, resurrection-giving forgivness and inclusion in her life, which happened long before she bust into this dinner party. In Christian circles we talk a lot about faith alone, about the impossiblity to earn God's love which we can only receive. In non-Christian circles often there is talk that we don't have to earn love, that we all deserve it; we don't have to receive forgiveness, we're already all-right. Yet maybe both sides are off. It doesn't seem to me that we're all-right. When I look at the world I see that we seem to be lost, and lost in even more radical ways thanks to our industrial powers, technological developments, and penchant for warfare, jealousy, and violence. Oftentimes it seems that people of Christian faith talk a lot about salvation, faith, inclusion and grace...yet their actions don't communicate the same message.

Something I read basically said that, forgivness is received, should provoke in us a love of the other, of our neighbor, that such inward trasnformation can only be translated and communicated through outward action.

What do you hear in the scriptures? What does such a message of love, hope, forgiveness and grace mean when we'll gather for Christian worship on Father's Day - a day in which we celebrate Fathers...yet many of us cringe at the thought of celebrating relationships that are non-existant or possibly the opposite of what Jesus is talking about at this dinner party?

Indigo Day
@ the Fillmore tonight


This is one my of - if not the - favorite. Lots of history. Good music. Lots of history :)

Cool video - I like the use of words and the double display of the chord progressions being played.


An Extra Indigo Gift

OK - I'm losing it. Actually lost it a long time ago. I'm thinking today about the events of this 8th day celebration - the Lord's Day - what it means and how resurrection serves as the principal metannarative in my life and worldview. (you might of had to be at church this morning for my stream of consciousness to make sense)...anyway thinking about the immigration issues, fights, impasse and possibilties that lay before us at the moment...I'm reminded of the psalmists saying repeatedly that the God testified of in the Bible is the God of the orphan, the widow and the foreigner or immigrant....makes me think of this Indigo Girls song, Shame on You...some great poetry about the irony of our anti-immigration stances when we live in a country of immigrants.

Sunday, June 10, 2007

Indigo Day Minus 1

This solo song, Let It Ring, written by Amy Ray on the Album Prom is one of my favorites. I think it's one of the best faith-related songs I've heard about the socio-political context & tension we live in today. It's a vibrant expression of faith in Christ in the midst of mixed and divided messages about what the Love of Christ means, costs and implies in our life together.

Here's the official video for the song..



Here's a thoughtful interview in which they talk about how they integrate their faith, political outspokeness, feminism, social action and their music.



Good food for thought today, Sunday, as we gather in Christian Communities....Jesus said, Love your neighbor as yourself. The challenge is which neighbors did he mean? Do we choose who and how? Or is Jesus talking about a different perspective and meaning of love?

Saturday, June 09, 2007

Indigo Day minus 2

I can't resist one of my favorite songs on the most recent Indigo Girls CD, Little Perennials. So I'm including the video below. Look at the second video of my daughter performing the same song and you'll know what I like it so much.




Community
Looking for a Simpler Life
in the pool of Liquid Modernity

I'm struck by the barrage of articles, videos, interviews and blogs about our latest cause celebre (not that the whales are gone)and celebrity fixation - Paris Hilton. In jail, out of jail, back in jail and always in the paparazzi magazines. What's the fixation? What's the interest in a woman who has more money and influence than she should and more than most of us could ever imagine having. Is there such an interest in her because people feel like they know her, that as demented and arrogant as she may seem that she's a friend, part of their community through their interactions on E, in People, and through the blog perezhilton.com? Have we truly become - like some philosophers and social-scientists have said for sometime - so isolated in the rat race of modern life dominated by work in multinational companies and days in front of screens that the only place we can find community is through tv or magazines late at night as we recover from the long work day and dread the next one? Has paparazzi-driven media become the way that we meet each other? Maybe we're not bowling alone anymore, just simply alone.

I'm working through a book that I put down sometime ago, Dark Ages America: The Fiinal Phase of Empire by Morris Berman. He talks about Liquid Modernity:

the title of a book by sociologist Zygmunt Bauman, who defines Liquid Modernity as the condition of a society that lacks a clear sense of orientation, or the kind of stability that dervies from a long-standing tradition or set of norms. He claims that the culture of New Economy America is characterized by speed, fluidity, and transicence - in short - obsessive change. Being modern in this context means always being under construction, living life like a perpetual game of musical chairs. (my version of p. 15 in the book)


What's the trouble with being human these days? Are we so obsessed with change and fluidity that we allow ourselves to be moved around by multinational companies, desperate to keep a job, seeking to fund the essential economic tenants of shoping in the Pottery Barn catalogue from home, have the latest kitchen utensils, and cruising the stores located in every regional shopping center starting at Ann Taylor and Banana Republic all the way through the Gap, KayBee and Pea in a Pod. Are we so desperate for community, while living in the midst of unknown faces, that we turn to the paparazzi for purpose-filled meaning-making community? Berman goes on to say that we live in a culture in which the individual has to continually reinvent themselves, to go it alone, that we live in a country that is the ultimate anticommunity.

In the midst of the week I read the Food Section in the Chronicle and stumbled across an article - A Place At The Table - talking about the rapid and explosive growth of communal tables in restaurants in San Francisco. I wonder if such emerging interest in a well established European tradition is related to our life in liquid modernity? Maybe we've forgotten - or never learned - how to make community, how to find, what it looks like when you can touch, feel, and experience it?

I wonder if our hyper-individualism is reinformed and put on steroids by the fact that we operate in an economy in which we can easily be replaced, downsized, outsourced, or priveleged to become a consultant without health care, at any moment? We live and breathe a culture that talks about interdependency, mutuality, reciprocity, fluidity and growth....but actually doesn't put those things into practice. John Donne said that no man is an island. The apostle Paul in 1 Corinthains talks about the community of the church as the human body, in which the diverse variety of parts of the body have their particular roles but are not any more valued than any other part. They suffer together. They're honored together. It seems to me that such community is what we're looking for. It's the antidote to liquid modernity. It's not anything new in terms of human history, but it is unfindable in the Pottery Barn catalogue or on the book shelf at Barnes and Nobles. It's not something that a CEO can devise. It's not something that can be legislated through creative governmental policy-making or bobo targeted publicity campaigns. It can't really be found on E or in the pages of People. For me I find it in large part through choosing to live in community, in several...first in the context of my faith community: a place in which diverse people have choosen to be gathered into a community based upon the foundation of shared faith. But I'm also in other communities, spaces in which people have choosen to gather because of shared interests or common needs.

Maybe we're so interested in Paris Hilton, because we see ourselves - our fears, hopes, dreams and closet desires of striking out at the world, playing out in her, her partying, her driving style, and self-destruction?

Friday, June 08, 2007

Indigo Day minus 3

Here's another Indigo Girl video clip of the song Perfect World....if only...



This video gave me a deep desire to learn the banjo...how fun would that be. I love the lyrics...talking about what a perfect world we live in - if - we look the other way. The irony of the statement invites us to get invovled, to participate and to live, act and speak for transformation. Whenever I listen to this - I imagine myself on a stage playing a cool electrically amplified banjo, and then the words of Romans 12:1-2 come to my mind - the climactic conclusion of the Apostle Paul's letter to the church in ancient Rome.

Here's the verse in the NRSV translation:
I appeal to you therefore, brothers and sisters, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your minds, so that you may discern what is the will of God—what is good and acceptable and perfect.


Even better is Eugene Peterson's translation called The Message

So here's what I want you to do, God helping you: Take your everyday, ordinary life—your sleeping, eating, going-to-work, and walking-around life—and place it before God as an offering. Embracing what God does for you is the best thing you can do for him. Don't become so well-adjusted to your culture that you fit into it without even thinking. Instead, fix your attention on God. You'll be changed from the inside out. Readily recognize what he wants from you, and quickly respond to it. Unlike the culture around you, always dragging you down to its level of immaturity, God brings the best out of you, develops well-formed maturity in you.


A call not to fly away, to avoid the world in a pre-millienial escapist utopian vision, but rather a kingdom of God in the grit of flesh and bones invitation to real life here now. I gotta get a banjo...
The Indigo Girls are coming Monday to San Francisco....in preparation I'm going to post an Indigo Girl video every day until the concert...hope you enjoy.

Today's gift
Pendulum Swingers



Check out their myspace page here

Thursday, June 07, 2007

what shapes our worldview
in a flattening world?
fear - faith & the familiar

I was returning from Berekely to Oakland on Tuesday and drove up Ashby and then down the 24 to downtown to get there. As I slowed at the light at Hiller Drive I was blessed with a surprisingly beautiful view of the bay all the way out through the Golden Gate Bridge. It's not that I didn't know that view was here...but it was as if I'd forgotten. The fog has been thick recently I told myself. Then I realized that I just don't ever see the bay. I live and work in East Oakland at the foot of the hills. So I don't usually see the bay, across to the city and up to Marin. My perspective is shaped by the space I live, work, and move in and through. I had to laugh at myself for it seems that in my busyness, concentration, and daily routine, I simply forget where I live, how amazingly beautiful it is and how diverse the landscape - both urban and natural - is. It got me thinking...

In reading some news articles since then I can't help but keep thinking about perspective...my lack of it even when I long for it. Our world is shrinking, Thomas Friedman would say it's flattening even faster through the forces of globalization. The slow food and green movements invite us to grab some perspective, to realize how much fossil fuel is used in order for us to drink the carbonated water from Northern Italy or to eat ripe tomatoes grown in Chile. I'm all for that. Yet our world has changed. Globalization has transformed everything. We need each other in order to produce, consume and move forward. Now I'm not a flag-waving capitalist, but when I read and studied Friedman's book The World Is Flat last year in a group my in-the-closet-socialist perspective was significanlty tweaked (except in terms of health care).

We can't choose to flee the fear of terrorists and Al-Qaeda by burying our heads in the sand of Isolationism like we did before Pear Harbor in the 40s. We can't simply keep ourselves safe from our 9/11-based fears of Islamic Fundamentalism by refusing residency to immigrants who may have used fake papers or guest workers who want to earn money picking the crops of the Central Valley when no one else is lining up to do it. We can't expect American Companies, in particular in Silicon Valley to thrive and excel if we refuse and radically limit the visas that we'll be given to tech workers and innovators from Bejing and Bangalore (among many other places). We can't rally around some fantasy-based monolingual vision of the righteous purity of the glory days of our past by insisting that English be our official language, while the majority of people living on our shared planet are not only bilingual but multi-lingual. We can't simply keep starting wars with whatever country or ethnic group seems to be a potential harbor or safeground for terrorist networks to work within and spread from...if so we'll soon be fighting not only in Iraq and Afghanistan but also in Indonesia, England, Germany and Spain. We can't base our decision-making merely on the repetitive choice of what is familar, not scary or threatening, or vote-getting.

It seems like we're losing perspective as a larger community, in terms of what we're afraid of, what and who we have faith in, and what foolishness we'll let be the foundation of our decision-making. Maybe it's like my loss of perspective living at the cross-section of the flatlands and the hills here in Oakland. I spend most of time in the place(s) that is and are familiar, comfortable and experientially rote. Of course my perspective is tweaked because it's limited by my repeated choice to walk (or drive) the same path and by necessity. But it doesn't have to be. In fact it can't stay that way. Why do we so often let the little picture, our short-term fears, or the details not only influence but shape our bigger persepective and larger world-view. It's like we're trying to find our way by looking at the pepples underneath or feet instead of looking ahead to where the path is going. As a person of faith practicing my own in the context of a Christian Community I find that often I'm frustrated with the church for losing perspective, for choosing the familiar, harkening back to supposed glory days out of fear of the changing world in which we are and a lack of faith that God will - and maybe already has - prepared ways for transformation, meaningful purpose, and new ways of being together in community. The church community seems to base her decision-making process on fear of the future, faith in some sort of vague dream of better days, times and things that can be preserved and re-discovered by keeping ourselves pure, untainted and stuck in the familiar of old hymns, cookie cutter liturgies and comfortable programming. Faith - according to the book of Hebrews - is "being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see." (11:1) Or as Eugene Peterson translates it "The fundamental fact of existence is that this trust in God, this faith, is the firm foundation under everything that makes life worth living. It's our handle on what we can't see. The act of faith is what distinguished our ancestors, set them above the crowd." I'd much rather have faith and trust be the foundation of my decision-making than fear and the familiar.

I think about my

Here's some of the reading I've done these past days that influenced some of my thinking...

"A divisive declaration of official English" (SF Gate 6/6/7)

"Anger over visa provision in bill" (SF Gate 6/7/7)

"Immigration Bill survives in Senate" (SF Gate 6/7/7)

"Beyond Bush. What the world needs is an open, confident America" (Newsweek 6/11/7)

The World Is Flat by Thomas L. Friedman

Dark Ages America: The Final Phase of Empire by Morris Berrman

The Church in Transition by Tim Conder

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Maxwell Park Elementary School
Robbed
Can you help?
Maxwell Park Elementray School was vandalized and robbed on the night of Monday, June 4th. The theives vandalized several classrooms, destroying materials and doing some graffiti work. They also stole the IMac Laptops from the school's computer lab. I went by the school this mornign. If you can help this local Oakland Unified School please contact the school office asking either for acting Principal Ruben Aurelio or Charlotte Bremond. If you know anyone who works for Apple or other computer companies that might be able to help this struggling local school with donations of computers or other help please refer them to the school.



Maxwell Park Elementary
4730 Fleming Ave.
Oakland, CA 94619
(510) 879-1390

The robbery is being investigated. Sadly I noticed this wasn't the only school robbery in Oakland in the past days, today's Oakland Tribune reports in the article Security gaps leave schools open to thefts on the theft of laptops from EXCEL High - all this while Oakland schools may get some local control back in the near(ing) future.

If you can help...contact the school...if you know someone who might be able to..pass this info on.
Thanks!
GEORGE W. BUSH PRESIDENTIAL LIBRARY
DESTROYED BY FLOOD

Crawford, Texas (AP) May 23, 2007

A tragic flood this morning destroyed the personal library of President George W. Bush. The flood began in the presidential bathroom where both of the books were kept. Both of the books have been lost. A presidential spokesperson said the president was devastated, as he had almost finished coloring the second one. The White House tried to call FEMA, but there was no answer.

Couldn't resist posting this ... thanks to Nanni for the laugh.

New 5th Grade Class Opening at
North Oakland Community Charter School (NOCCS)


Many friends of ours go to North Oakland Community Charter School (NOCCS). The school is opening a new 4th/5th grade classroom this Fall (Sept 2007). They have enough 4th graders to fill it, but still looking for 5th graders. One thing to know about this school is that if an older sibling is inthe school, it gives siblings an automatic preference next time there is an opening for the sibling's grade. Anyone with a current 4th grader who is also scrambling to find a kindergarten for their youngerchild might want to take note, as NOCCS kindergarten admissions is highly competetive. NOCCS is also planning to open its first 6th grade (with the idea of growing into a K-8 school) in the Fall of 2008, so a 5th graderentering NOCCS this coming Fall is likely to have a built in middle school. NOCCS is a public charter school, and therefore free.

http://www.noccs.org/

Thanks to Tako for the tip!

Saturday, June 02, 2007


Here's some more photos of Fruitvale Church's Pentecost Celebration of May 27th. Thanks to Alan Ball and Joan Curtis for sharing them.

New Peet's Coffee
In Oakland's Dimond District
Scheduled to open June 25th


If you've noticed these past few days the new Peet's Coffee is quickly taking shape in the Dimond District (on the corner of Fruitvale and Bienati - across the street from Farmer Joe's, in the place of the former Dimond bookstore). I snuck in yesterday trying to find the opening date....failed on that one...but here's some under construction pictures that show you that it's not too far off.

Friday, June 01, 2007

Oakland Pastor Rev. Bill Beatty
retires after 34 years of ministry
in Rockridge

In SF Gate today there's an article on Oakland Presbyterian pastor Rev. Bill Beatty. Retiring this weekend after 34 years of ministry (his entire career) at College Avenue Presbyterian Church in Oakland, the article lifts up some of the dramatic changes he's witnessed and participated in since 1973 in Rockridge, one of Oakland's most dynamic neighborhoods. You can read the article by Chip Johnson on SF Gate here.
Nonviolence Is Organized Love:
One Hour for Peace

in the Dimond

Spend an hour with your neighbors. We will light candles and hold signs that express our hopes for peace in Oakland and the world. Bring a sign if you like, but you don't need to because we have extras. Just bring yourself.

When: Friday June 1, 2007 at 7 PM (the 1st of EVERY month)
Where: Oakland, Corner of MacArthur & Lincoln ("Peace Park"--a small park across from 7-11)


This is something we've been doing the first of the month every month since January 1, 2005. We always have fun and it's great to make new friends in the community. For more information, call 510-530-3099 or 510-504-2003 (cell). Feel free to forward this to anyone you think might be interested.

I am only one; but still I am one. I cannot do everything, but still I can do something. I will not refuse to do the something I can do.
--Helen Keller------------------------------------------------


Home Office 510-530-3099
Cell 510-504-2003

A dog teaches a child fidelity, perseverence, and to turn around three times before lying down.--Robert Benchley