Friday, August 27, 2010

Bumper sticker of the week

I love bumper stickers:  the opportunity to be funny, ironic or poignantly observant in a phrase or word.  I find that there are a ton of great ones in the East Bay, in particular in certain parking lots such as the Big Longs and Trader Joe's by the Lake.  I'm always looking for good ones to share - one a week - and open to getting ones you've seen by email.   I've noticed that there are a lot less stickers these days: either a sign of the economic downturn, or maybe our political/social malaise.

Thanks go to Nani for this week's.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Blogging Towards Sunday, August 29th

Jesus is invited to a meal at the home of a prominent religious leader.  It’s like he’s been invited to be watched in some sort of paparazzi religious-examination way.  And yet ironically as the story unfolds we see that it’s actually Jesus who is doing the watching.  Like many of the gospel episodes, this one unfolds around food and the sharing of a meal: the basic experience that flavors and empowers human relationships and community.

Choosing public school      
or at least hoping to

School starts in Oakland, at least for OUSD, next Monday.  A time of excitement and anxiety, eagerness and trepidation.  In our own family our youngest will start kindergarten and has been instensly preparing though play for the big day.  Yet public school, or the challenge of choosing it in the urban jungle of the Bay Area, and Oakland in particular, is one of the things that drives Oaklandites away.  In our own travails of trying to get into a public school, other than the just-above-failing one around the corner from our home in East Oakland, led us to question staying in Oakland, our commitment to the city, public education and our children.  The problems facing urban schools are not black and white.  They can't merely be solved by throwing more money at them.  It won't change overnight.  And yet the cost of change isn't just money and time, but one's children.  The tension of being committed to your children and your city/public schools is one that goes all too often under the radar.  What happens to the middle-class, lower creative-class families in our urban areas that are too monied for help, but too poor for private school, unlucky for a charter school spot or stuck for a move to the burbs?

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Blogging Towards Sunday, August 22, 2010

I was driving through the MacArthur Maze on a pilgrimage to IKEA this week and found myself stuck in traffic behind a truck with a bumper sticker reading "The problem with religion is religion."  It got me thinking, in particular about the lectionary texts for this coming Sunday (my first at a new church gig).  HYPOCRISY seems to be the big thing that people comment about in terms of problems with religion, and in particular - in our context - with Christians.  Against abortion but for the death penalty.  For the peace of Christ and the war in Iraq.  For religious freedom, but not a mosque near the former World Trade Center site.  For morality, as long as it doesn't impede one's own personal choices and options.  Where do we find the balance between faith and follow-through; between our egos and our authenticity?  The texts from Jeremiah and Luke invite us to this dialogue.

Back into the blog and a new work gig

This week I started a new job, serving as pastor with the faith community of College Avenue Presbyterian Church in the Rockridge District of Oakland.  A congregation faithfully serving the city of Oakland for over 100 years, which began in the countryside and now is in the mix of the urban context of Oakland, and is seeking to articulate and facilitate the living out of faith in what is emerging as our 21st century context and culture.

I'm reconnecting with my Monteskewed blog which had been dormant for a while as I lived in France and blogged primarily in French at  I'm planning to reestablish the blog, doing what I did before - some writing on the practice of Christian faith and urban life, crazy city images, rantings and ravings and the expression of my sarcastic humor; as well as some soon to emerge new things, in particular aspects of life in and around Oakland.  If you have ideas or suggestions please be sure to share them with me through a comment.