Loving the San Francisco Bay Area... Community development, urban ministry, trying to defeat poverty, faith, religion, politics, good music, the quest for the perfect pizza, the Yankees, motorcycles... All in a 'day's life'

Thursday, August 31, 2006

NCUD Website

I've been working on a NCUD website. Check this out and let me know what you think. Soon you will be able to access this through www.norcaludc.org. Right now I'm using my .mac account...

See the website here.

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Is the Gospel Powerful?

Being back in a traditional Pentecostal church that talks a lot about the power of God is making me think about the power of God much. I mean, let's be real. Do we live with the understanding that God has real power to change lives? If so - how is it impacting the way we do work and ministry? Given the person that I am I struggle with remembering the reality of the power of God. It sometimes feels silly and simple to rely on a power we can't see, touch or feel. If I REALLY believed in the power of a present God would I struggle as I do? Would I sin? Would I shrink from sharing His word? Would I treat my family differently?

I've been reading the book 'God in the Flesh' by Don Everts as a devotional. Today I came across this passage:

"If Jesus really is so powerful, why aren't we more regular and persistent in laying our own needs before him? If his touch contains such power, why aren't we, like those we see in the pages of the Gospels running around town to bring all in need closer to his powerful touch?

Because we no longer believe that Jesus' touch carries power. We just don't see him like those in his own day clearly saw him.

Instead we grow accustomed to illness (physical and spiritual), and we cope and deal. We farm out the spiritually ill to professionals who can rarely heal but who will sedate the problem enough to keep it off our conscience. I'm not suggesting there's no need for doctors and professional counselors and even medication. I'm just suggesting we've lost all fight as a church when it comes to carrying our needy friends to Jesus."

Lately I've been thinking a lot about the issue of happiness. Why, as Christians don't we seem any more happy or joyful as non-Christians? We talk a lot about the 'joy of the Lord', but most times it doesn't mean much when it comes down to it. In the Gospels people flocked to Jesus - they HAD to be with him. Even in Acts there was a magnetism about the church. Today - we have to beg and cajole people to come to church. Why?

I wonder if it has to do with the lack of the power of God - or better yet the lack of faith that we have that makes way for the power of God. Honestly, I need a touch of the power of God... Let's pray for revival in our lives, churches and ministries. I certainly have more questions than answers. But I know this is all connected - the power of God, the Joy of the Lord and the radical redemption of our communities.

Monday, August 28, 2006

New Bob Dylan Album Released today!

Bob Dylan continues to make great music. His new album, Modern Times, continues in the same vein as Love and Theft and Time Out of Mind his last two releases. It's well worth the money. Get it here or at itunes.

After a decade or so of lackluster music Bob returned with a vengeance. His last three records are quality releases. It's good to see musicians creating great art instead of resting on their laurels.

Southern California Group receives Credit Union Charter

Congrats to Communidad Latina CU!!!

SANTA ANA, Calif. (8/28/06)--The National Credit Union Administration (NCUA) said last week it chartered Comunidad Latina FCU in Santa Ana, the third credit union chartered in California since 2000.

Located south of Los Angeles, community-based Comunidad Latina FCU has been chartered to serve the 340,000 people who live, work, worship and attend school in the city of Santa Ana--a designated underserved area.

Comunidad Latina FCU marks the third credit union chartered in California since 2000. According to NCUA, local Orange County Teachers FCU and other credit unions from across the country provided support and guidance throughout the chartering process.

NCUA said the group of credit unions will supply a computer system, monetary, office and management services as well as staff training.

An opening day was not announced, but NCUA said office space was rented in Santa Ana and the doors of Comunidad Latina FCU would open within several months.

Eleven CDCUs receive $3.3 million in CDFI Fund awards

Press Release below. Community Trust CU. led by Joe Duran (NCUD Board Member) recieved $390k. Good job Joe and team!

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (8/28/06)--Eleven community development credit unions (CDCUs) received $3.3 million from the U.S. Treasury Department's Community Development Financial Institutions Fund, it was announced Friday.

The awards--ranging up to $585,000--make up 12.6% of a total $26.4 million available during the CDFI Fund's 2006 round.

Cliff Rosenthal, executive director of the National Federation of CDCUs, said the fund received 127 applications with requests for assistance totaling about $146.7 million.

Credit unions succeeded in "a competition that has become increasingly more strenuous over the years," he said. The share received by credit unions is roughly comparable to what the movement received in previous years, "but still way below what we'd like to see. There are many credit unions out there that would be good candidates," he said.

Four CDCUs received the maximum amount awarded to any applicant--$585,000--a ceiling "far lower than in the past," Rosenthal said. "It reflects the lower level of appropriations that the fund has received in recent years," he added. For the coming fiscal year, the Senate has called for $55 million and the House, $40 million. The federation wants "to see the House go along with the Senate's figure," he said.

Seven of the 11 CDCU recipients are repeat winners. Among the first-time recipients was ASI FCU, the $300 million asset CDCU in New Orleans that was hit hard by Hurricane Katrina a year ago. It received $585,000.

Others receiving the maximum $585,000 were: Latino Community CU, Durham, N.C.; Saguache County CU, Moffatt, Colo; and Self-Help CU, Durham.

Other recipients were:

Community Trust CU, Modesto, Calif., $393,440;
Neighborhood Trust FCU, New York, N.Y., $100,000;
South Side Community FCU, Chicago, $150,000;
El Futuro CU, Porterville, Calif., $46,980 (technical assistance award):
Lower East Side People's FCU, New York, N.Y., $100,000 technical assistance;
Pacoima Development FCU, Lake View Terrace, Calif., $100,000 technical assistance; and
Syracuse (N.Y.) Cooperative FCU, $99,969.

Credit unions receiving awards under the CDFI Fund's Native American CDFI Assistance program were: First Hawaiian Homes FCU, Hoolehua, Hawaii, $78,000, and Molokai Community FCU, Kaunakakai, Hawaii, $380,000.

Saturday, August 26, 2006

Jesus Said...

Jesus Calms the Storm

As evening came, Jesus said to his disciples, "Let's cross to the other side of the lake." He was already in the boat, so they started out, leaving the crowds behind (although other boats followed). But soon a fierce storm arose. High waves began to break into the boat until it was nearly full of water.
Jesus was sleeping at the back of the boat with his head on a cushion. Frantically they woke him up, shouting, "Teacher, don't you even care that we are going to drown?"
When he woke up, he rebuked the wind and said to the water, "Quiet down!" Suddenly the wind stopped, and there was a great calm. And he asked them, "Why are you so afraid? Do you still not have faith in me?"
And they were filled with awe and said among themselves, "Who is this man, that even the wind and waves obey him?"

(Mark 4:35-41 NLT)

Friday, August 25, 2006

NCUD Receives Preliminary Approval for EPA Credit Union Field of Membership!!

Good News!

I just received notification from the National Credit Union Administration that we have just received our preliminary field of membership approval!

This is the first step in the credit union chartering process and a significant first hurdle! The application is a two step process, the preliminary application and the complete application including a comprehensive business plan. The next step is to continue to raise additional start up / deposit capital and put the finishing touches on our final application. Our goal is to submit the final application ASAP (by the end of the year if not sooner) and open the credit union in East Palo Alto into by mid 2007.

There are many more hurdles to jump - but this a a great step in furthering our dream of defeating systemic poverty in our community through a community development credit union and other community development projects.

If you want to know more or be part of the vision, please let me know! There is much to do! Thanks for your thoughts, support and prayers. Your support is making a huge difference.

Thursday, August 24, 2006

Rick Warren / Greg Boyd on Charlie Rose...

Last night I caught an EXCELLANT episode of the Charlie Rose show. He hosted Pastors Rick Warren and Gregory Boyd. I must admit that I was somewhat turned off by the commercialism surrounding Warren's book, "The Purpose Driven Life" and I can be critical of mega churches. So, I didn't give Warren much attention. I must say that I was floored by his comments. He spoke about the intersection of the 'evangelical' and 'social' movements in the church calling for a new focus on both the centrality of Christ and a outward focused faith. He is calling for the church to seek a commonality of purpose centered on the call of Christ to fulfill the Greatest Commandment of loving God with everything and serving our neighbor. It appears that a few years (through his wife) became aware of the issues surrounding AIDS in the world. This impacted his faith. I'm VERY impressed and hope to hear more from Rick soon.

Rose tried to nail Warren down about the health of the church. Warren, I believe rightfully, said the church is gaining influence and is truly 'alive' in South America, Africa and Asia and is waning in influence in the US and Europe. He said that the church is 'going south'. This is certainly what we experienced when we lived in Mexico. The Gospel is having great impact in Latin America...

The second interview was with Pastor Gregory Boyd. Boyd just wrote a book called, "The Myth of a Christian Nation. How the Quest for Political Power is Destroying the Church" I haven't read the book yet but his premise is that Jesus called the church to be the church, to be 'salt and light' and not strive for political power. He mentions that in every instance starting with Constantine when the church has gained political influence it has been as corrupt and debase as anything 'secular'. That's not to say that the church isn't to have influence on society, but the influence is based on morality and service not power. There was an article about him in The New York Times. Read it here.

This is refreshing stuff. I'm encouraged with what Warren is saying. IF we can have more church leaders of his stature talking about issues such as AIDS and poverty we may see the sleeping giant of the evangelical church beginning directing funds and energy toward some of the world's great issues. I agree with Boyd and his call for Christians to be the church that God called us to be and not a wing of a certain political party.

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Yanks Sweep Boston - Life is Good

Yankees take five in a row from Boston! LIfe is good, the sky is blue, birds chirp... Read the story here.

Monday, August 21, 2006

Albums that Influenced Me

So - for whatever reason I started thinking about records that influenced me. Music still continues to be one of the greatest loves of my life. Last night as I was going to sleep I started thinking about the records (I'm from the 'old skool' where you bought records, not songs) that I would say have been the most influential on me... These are the ones I would want with me on a desert island. Here they are with the best song on each:

- The Freewheelin' Bob Dylan / Bob Dylan (Don't Think Twice It's Alright)
- Saved / Bob Dylan (Saving Grace)
- Only Visiting This Planet / Larry Norman (The Great American Novel)
- Abbey Road / The Beatles (Here Comes the Sun)
- Blood On the Tracks / Bob Dylan (Tangled Up in Blue)
- Moondance / Van Morrison (Crazy Love)
- Actung Baby / U2 (One)
- Joshua Tree / U2 (In God's Country)
- Let It Be / Beatles (Two of Us)
- Rubber Soul / Beatles (In My Life)
- Born to Run / Bruce Springsteen (10th Avenue Freeze Out)
- Under the Table and Dreaming / Dave Matthews (The Best of Whats Around)
- Scarecrow / John Mellencamp (Lonely ol Night)
- No Compromise / Keith Green (No Compromise)
- The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill / Lauryn Hill (Every Ghetto Every City)
- 10 / Pearl Jam (Jeremy)
- Awaiting Your Reply / Resurrection Band (Broken Promises)
- The Way Home / Russ Taff (Farther On)
- Greatest Hits / The Fugees (How Many Mics)
- Graceland / Paul Simon (Graceland)

Honorable Mention:
- Pnenomia / Whiskeytown (Ballad of Carol Lynn)
- Heartbreaker / Ryan Adams (Oh My Sweet Carolina)
- Grace / Jeff Buckley (Hallelujah)
- The Roots Come Alive / The Roots (You Got Me)
- Legend / Bob Marley (No Woman No Cry)
- August and Everything After / Counting Crows (Round Here)
- Andrae Crouch and The Disciples (Take Me Back)


Sunday, August 20, 2006

Poor Neighborhoods Still Struggling in New Orleans

A year after Katrina some poorer neighborhoods remain untouched in New Orleans. Read the article here.

Monday, August 07, 2006

Volunteer Help Needed!

You might know by now - but Charlene has left NCUD staff to pursue a law degree. She did an amazing job for us over the last 11 months. We wouldn't be where we are without her leadership and hard work. I miss her a bunch, but am happy for her as she pursues her dreams to become a lawyer. One day she may be the Governor of Guam!

In order to curtail expenses until we get the credit union up and running we have decided not to fill her position right now. I need help! I'm looking for a volunteer to help with administrative tasks for NCUD - basic stuff. While things are pretty much in order right now - I could use someone to help us look at our procedures for our office operation. This would in include working with our bookkeeper to insure our financial record keeping is in top shape.

I imagine that this will take around 5 hours a week - but may require some extra work at the beginning to tighten things up. Would you consider serving NCUD in this way? If you are unable to help at this time, can you forward this on to someone you know who might be willing to help in this capacity?

Thursday, August 03, 2006

Revival at St. Sam

We're having a revival at St. Samuel this week. Pastor Ken Johnson is in from Salt Lake CIty. Ken is working on his PhD from the Universtiy of Utah in the education field. He has great insight on dominant dominant culture issues as it relates to education policy. I'm looking forward to his book!

Last night Ken decided to pray for anyone who is starting a business. Samuel and the Bains' girls come forward. Budding capitalists!

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Gas Prices!!

We haven't seen gas prices below 3.00 a gallon in a while. Had to take a photo!