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'

Friday, October 12, 2007

Live Blogging at CCDA

Dr. Cheryl Sanders - 3rd St. Church of God

Theme - The Urban Ministry of Jesus Mt: 9:35-38

- Teaching
- Preachng
- Healing

If we are to follow Jesus model our urban ministry activites must come in one of these three activites.

- Observation.
- Jesus saw the crowd. Sometimes we plan our ministries without seeing the people.
- Compassion
- Compassion focus our observation
- Reflection
- Critical thinking.
- Intercession
- How can we do any ministry without prayer. Jesus: YOU play to the Lord of the Harvest to send out workers into His field
- Commission

If you really wanted to see Jesus in DC, where would you go?

The Ministry of Reconciliation - 2 Cor. 5:16-21

- We are seekign the manifistaion of the power of the word of God in our city.

The church is called not to only care for the people who walk through the door, but the city in general - or we will render ourself irrelevant

Blogging CCDA - Notes from Dr. AR Benard

At CCDA Plenary Session:
Mt 5:45
God "rains" on the just and unjust

God can be good to sinners

The Unjust recieve:

Common grace
Dispensed by Social institutions
To people

Supported by taxes

The Just recieve

Saving grace
Church dispensed
To people

Supported by tithes

However, the just must influence and impact the way that the unjust recieve grace. It's our role to monitor and control the dispensation of grace to the world.

From Nyack College afterparty where Dr. Benard addressed college student's questions:
How to build effective ministry

Establish purpose
Craft statment
One word reason for sucess: persistence

How did you recieve your call?
Call is progressive - a process.
"like a NYC block - see the end, walk towards it."
Knew what he was not supposed to do.

Other Great Comments:

Spend your life increasing your value not looking to increase your influence.

Integrity is a powerful thing.
Be extra careful in your interactions.

Hamilton federaist papers - built soceity on the reality of human nature. Build into life integrity barriers.

Fear your own power.

Satan tempts not in the area of our weakness but in the area of our strenghts.

Effectively serving / influencing churches:

- walk in humilty, make suggestions not criticisms

Live Blogging at CCDA

Arrived at the annual CCDA conference on Wednesday night. It's been great seeing old friends and new like Jeremy Del Rio, Eric Iverson, Crissy Brooks, Noel Castellanos, Glen Peterson and many others. Each year is a homecoming. I was glad to say hello to Dr. John Perkins and update him on the credit union progress.

CCDA is one of the only places where I feel truly comfortable. I'm around folks who have impacted my life and in many ways think and act the way I do or want to. It feels so much like the Kingdom of God. It's not black or white, democrat or republican, pentacostal or baptist - it's all that, and more. There are conversations I have here that I could never have in other places. Today I've talked to different people about topics such as racism, community development, board development, fund raising, a devotional life, weight loss and marriage.

Last night I heard Dr. A.R. Benard from Christian Cultural Center in Brooklyn. He was excellent.

Right now I'm in a workshop called, "Reconciliation Blues: Black and White in an Evangelical World" by Edward Gilbreath (who wrote the book by the same name). Here's some random comments from his talk:
It's always about race. Race, no matter what progress we have made seems to come into the equation - and at times it's not about race at all. There is rarely a clear cut answer when it comes to the racial divide. Sometimes there are other aspects that come into play.

Gilbreath's book is about stories, it's about creating a space for conversation. We haven't had an real, honest, deep conversations about racial issues.

Gilbreath talks about his life story growing up as a black man in a white world. (being told he looks like Sammy Davis Jr., Eddie Murphy, Snoop Dogg, Bill Cosby) He feels that no person should be put in to the position to advocate for an entire race - but still relished the position. "Double consciousness - W.E.B Debois) = the tension of being the only black in white institutions.

How can we talk about reconciliation when we've never been 'conciled' in the first place?

He then conducted a spirited conversation with the assembled crowd regarding racial issues.

Monday, October 08, 2007

East Palo Alto Teens Left Waiting

The San Jose Mercury News reports on a recurring problem with East Palo Alto teens:
Carlmont High School freshman Joshua Brass was kicked out of a morning advanced English class after walking in late or missing almost every class the first few weeks of school.

But it's not because he skipped class or hit his alarm clock's "snooze" button too many times. It's because for the first month of school, buses to his school were as much as one hour late three-quarters of the time. Joshua and the hundreds of other East Palo Alto students who are bused 10 miles to Carlmont in Belmont have missed many hours of lectures and class work - time that's especially precious for East Palo Alto students, whose dropout rate is double the district average.

"The worst part is that many kids are so conditioned that the bus comes late, they don't have a sense of urgency about getting to school," said Larry Moody, a board member of the Ravenswood City elementary school district, who is helping to organize the forum. "There is just a tremendous disconnect between how East Palo Alto students are cared for compared to other students there."

Students from East Palo Alto and east Menlo Park, who are predominantly black and Latino, are the only Sequoia students bused to school. About 450 from East Palo Alto attend Carlmont and about 300 from both cities attend Woodside High School.

This year, the bus to Carlmont was late 14 out of the first 19 days of school, according to a report by Principal Andrea Jenoff.

About a dozen parents, students and former students who were interviewed last week by the Mercury News said the buses have been regularly late for years. Some students said they don't mind having more time to goof off; others said they would rather use the time to sleep in.

Joshua, a football player, said he doesn't have any time to waste. His excitement about being accepted back into advanced English faded when he realized he wouldn't be on a level playing field because of lost class time. He decided to take the class next year. But McGee said she is using her outrage to help hold the district accountable.

Like (Kim) McGee (Brass' mother), Bertha Benton has called several school and district officials over the years about the late buses.

Her daughter, Marquel Benton, 16, said being late frequently during her freshman year made the transition into high school difficult.

"We would just be sitting there and sitting there and we'd have to go back home and get a ride," Marquel said. "We would get tardies and it wasn't even our fault."

Marquel said she once confronted her bus driver, asking her, "Why don't you ever come on time?"

"You don't know what I go through," she recalled the bus driver saying.

Evelyn Strauter, a Carlmont junior, said being late to her first-period biology class last year may have led to her falling behind and ultimately failing the class.

No one knows for sure if the late buses are contributing to higher dropout rates, but it is an alarming thought to East Palo Alto leaders who have fought for the education rights of their students for decades.

Q. Is this simply an oversight or an indication of a greater underlying problem of injustice?

Parents and community leaders are holding a forum about the late buses today (10/8) at 6:30 p.m. at 1877 Bay Road (new College Track location) in East Palo Alto.

Baseball Issues

Sam's playing fall ball right now for an East Palo Alto team. Here's some pics from his game last Saturday.

Speaking of baseball. Good news: Yankees come back from a 14 1/2 game deficit to make it into to playoffs. Bad news: they are fighting for their lives against the Indians, who they dominated throughout the regular season. I can barely think straight right now! Facing elimination, the Yanks came back to win last night's game on a solid outing by rookie pitcher Phil Hughes after Clemens was booted. Johnny Damon came through. Whew - the Yanks finally looked like the Yanks! Redsox sweep the Angels to move on - man do I have great disdain for the Redsox.

4:30 today is another game...

Friday, October 05, 2007

Where have I been?

Where have I been??? I'm not sure I really know! It's been a hectic few weeks of Samuel's baseball games, kicking off NCUD's youth financial literacy programs, impatiently awaiting building permits so we can open the credit union, board meetings, donor meetings, talking about Bay Area regional urban youth workers networks, dreaming about micro enterprise lending, going to Napa, battling a stubborn chest cold... All this to say I had to take a little haitais from the blogosphere.

Next week I'm headed to the CCDA conference in St. Louis. I'm looking forward to seeing all my friends a collegues that I ususally see in person twice a year at CCDA and the UYWI conference. Anyway - I think I'm back to posting regularly... here are some photos from the last few weeks.