Saturday, July 18, 2009

Ode to Oakland 1 | Corn Dog

I've been thinking about a swan song to express my love of Oakland blogger-style as we prepare to move to Poissy, France August 17th.  What better way then to do a blog series ode to Oakland of what I love: people, places and things.

I started blogging several years ago through an ongoing conversation in a Peer Pastors Learning Group.  Bruce Reyes-Chow encouraged me to take
 the plunge. I started blogging, thinking that it could expand my ministry work at the church I served by empowering deeper and wider dialog (and an actual discussion instead of a "speaking at the congregation" about the scriptures texts began in worship on Sunday mornings.  I also imagined it as a great avenue for education and participation.  Little did I know that Corn Dog, a neighbor of the church and quite possibly one of the most vibrant and least public of the residents of both the Dimond District and 
Oakland, would teach me much about blogging.  Corn Dog is the reason behind and for #8 on the list of my previous post.

Here's what I love about Corn Dog (and Mr. Corn Dog too!):

She loves Oakland.  We say that a lot.  But she really does.  She loves the dirty and the gritty, the messy and the urban-decay-stuff-we-want-to-overlook and deny.  

She loves the people: not just the beautiful ones, but maybe even more so the  crazies.  It's often that she buys food for folks on the street.  She knows all the street people in the Dimond (and well beyond) by first name and life-story.  She considers them to be her neighbors too, ones that she is called to love in word and deed.

She is a connection-maker.  She knows everyone on the street - not just the street people - she knows the business owners, employees, etc. - by name.  She doesn't live in the hood.  She lives in her hood.

She is an amazing technology-using-communicator.  She creates and publishes more than you know in terms of paper and e-marketing/communication in the Dimond and greater Oakland.  She taught me a lot about blogging, writing and the connections that we can not only make but also mature online.  She also stood with me, having my back, when I got involved (not as much as she did) in the messy union-related tuff around Farmer Joe's a couple of years ago.

She knows and embodies the words GENEROSITY and SOLIDARITY more than anyone I've ever met.  I spend my days talking about what it means to love unconditionally, inclusively, as God first loves us in the person of Jesus of Nazareth.  I may be a good "talker" about that. Corn Dog lives it.

Corn Dog should probably be voted Oakland Resident #1.  She should definitely win, or at least be on, Jean Quan's Local Heroes list.  Of course even if she won she'd never show up to receive the prize or the praise.  You may not know her by name - but odds are you've seen her - walking her canine children through the Dimond, contemplating the giant Jesus at the Mormon Temple Center, at the monthly Dimond Peace Vigil [first Sunday of the month at 7pm at the corner of Champion and MacArthur] or riding the 57 bus.  I see her most days walking the hood and love encountering her on her online at Crazy 57 Bus: (uses to blog under the name Corn Dog)  The Corn Dogs embody the best of Oakland and the best that it can become.


Anonymous said...

Now, I'm sufficiently embarrassed. Thanks for all the kind words AND just when I wrote a really hateful post about Oakland parking. ha ha

I will miss you my friend, but you already know that. Besides, we are holding your house hostage here so you have to come back.

Monte said...

I'm counting on the house hostage-holding.