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, January 31, 2008

Another great discussion

Rudy has some interesting points about the end of days and a Brian McLaren article. See them here.

Emerging Urban Evangelicals

"What if the churches of the cities and people of color led an Evangelical renaissance... a resurgence of biblical Christianity?"
Great discussion happening on this blog.

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Bay Area Snowcapped Mountains

Walked out by the bay yesterday to look at the recent snowfall. What an amazing place we live!

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

U2 and the Boss - Stand By Me

Man, do I love YouTube! Here's a very cool thing I found.

See- If I'm blogging about music it's either Ryan Adams or U2!

Ryan Adams Recap

Man, what a show. Ryan was sober and loose. Lots of interaction with the band and audience. I've seen him three times, this was clearly the best. If he stays clean and sober, I believe he has the chops to stand with Neil Young, Gram Parsons, Bob Dylan and some of the other greats. He's a phenomenal talent, singer and songwriter. However, his quirks may stop him from greatness. I guess it's the same with all of us...

Here's a video someone took last night:

Monday, January 28, 2008

Ryan Adams Didn't Die

Melissa and I are going to see Ryan (not Brian) Adams tonight in Berkeley. Ryan has been one of my favorite musicians since his Whiskeytown days in the 90's. We had a long but fruitful weekend - and I'm looking forward to spending some time with my bride and hearing some great music, perhaps also eating some great Indian food in Berkeley. If I'm blogging about music - it's usually about either U2 or Ryan Adams...

Ryan is a brilliant singer / songwriter but has had a up and down career. He's recently embraced sobriety, kicking a pretty nasty drug habit. He's trying to avoid becoming a stereotype. Earlier this year the New York Times did a good article on Ryan and his journey. In the article it states
"ONE afternoon, as Ryan Adams was recording his new album, “Easy Tiger” (Lost Highway), at Electric Lady Studios in Greenwich Village, the singer-songwriter Steve Earle dropped by to visit. Jimi Hendrix had built Electric Lady in the late 1960s, and Mr. Earle pointed out that “there are some good ghosts here.”

“Yeah,” Mr. Adams blithely responded. “There are the ghosts of about 45 speedballs from when I was recording here a year or two ago,” referring to a mixture of heroin and cocaine.

At once self-deprecating and self-mythologizing, the remark is characteristic of Mr. Adams, who is in the process of shoring up a career — and a life — that he had done his best to blow up. “There was intense loneliness, end-of-the-world stuff going on in my mind, bottomless depression,” he said, describing an extended period of substance abuse that ended a little over a year ago. “Without exaggerating, it is a miracle I did not die."

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Saturday Events... Sucessful Bay Area Reload and Pizza

We hosted the Bay Area Reload event yesterday. We had a wonderful and successful event. The Bobby and Lawrence from Urban Youthworkers Institute said we had about 280 leaders in attendance - about a 50 leader increase from last year. I was particularly encouraged by the fact that when I asked, about 90% of the leaders who attended hadn't been at last year's Reload or at the national conference each year in Azuza. I really believe in what Larry Acosta and the UYWI folks are doing - I appreciate their hard work and passion to train urban leaders.

A special 'shout out' to the planning committee who came together to promote the event including Greg Moder from Patten University, Angie Ibarra, Pastor Ben Guerrero from Maranatha Christian Center, Eld Billy Dixon from COGIC, Kirk Davis from Younglife and many others...

Afterword we headed to San Francisco for pizza at Tomassos and Cannolis in North Beach with Jenni and my parents who are visiting. Good times!

BTW - I was blessed to be able to upgrade my old digital camera to a new Olympus Digital SLR! More pictures coming! I had such a good experience with my two previous Olympus Camedias, I went with the Olympus Evolt 410 - although in my film camera days I was strictly Nikon. Check on my Flickr account to see all the pics!

Friday, January 25, 2008

Beyond Payday Loans - by Clinton and Schwarzenegger

The American dream is founded on the belief that people who work hard and play by the rules will be able to earn a good living, raise a family in comfort and retire with dignity.

But that dream is harder to achieve for millions of Americans because they spend too much of their hard-earned money on fees to cash their paychecks or pay off high-priced loans meant to carry them over until they get paid at work.

Here is one initiative that can unite progressives and conservatives as well as business leaders and community activists: helping the "unbanked" enter the financial mainstream by opening checking and savings accounts, and working collaboratively with financial institutions and community groups to develop and market products that work for this untapped market. This will put money in the pockets of individuals and grow the economy. And it won't cost taxpayers a dime.

See the entire article here.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Deep Justice

Chris Brooks' commenting on the new book, "Deep Justice". Good stuff. Check it out... Chap Clark and Kara Powell are the authors. I know Kara, she's good people...

Life's been nuts...

It's been hard to get a chance to blog this year. I had hoped for a more relaxed pace once the credit union was open. I guess I was wrong.  This year has already been fruitful and busy. Here are some bullet point updates on what's going on. 

- This weekend is the Bay Area Reload event at Patten University in Oakland. This year Bart Campolo, Leroy Barber and Joy Challenger are our speakers. Yours truly is doing a workshop on suburban / urban partnerships. If you're in the area, come and join us!

- I've recently joined two boards of director, one for One East Palo Alto, a local non profit intermediary organization and Christian Community Development Association.I'm honored to serve both these excellent organizations. Last Tuesday I attended my first OEPA board meeting and last week I was in Miami for the CCDA board meeting. All that to say my plate is full...

- My parents are out here. Dad is an electrician who specializes in nuclear power. He's working down at a plant on the central California coast.

Melissa's brother Fabian and his wife Alissa met us in Monterrey last weekend. My niece and nephew Jose and Nevaeh and Samuel had a great time. Nevaeh is a doll - she loves her Uncle John! 

- Things are going well with the credit union and youth programs... We're moving forward! 

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

Slain EPA Officer Remembered

Last night we recalled the difficult events of two years ago...  The photo is the widow of slain East Palo Alto officer Richard May at last night's memorial. The Palo Alto Daily News reports:
"Besides marking the beginning of a new year, the month of January in East Palo Alto has become a reminder of how quickly violence can take lives.

Two years ago Monday, police Officer Richard May was allegedly gunned down by Alberto Alvarez, a now 24-year-old member of the East Palo Alto-born and -bred Sacramento Street Gang. Alvarez was on parole at the time and is awaiting trial.

About 60 people gathered at the St. Francis of Assisi Church to remember May, a man who friends and family said cared deeply about East Palo Alto and the residents he was hired to serve and protect.

His widow, Diana, told the crowd that she was perusing his old laptop, on which he did all of his police work, when she realized how attached her husband had become to the city.

"He had plans for East Palo Alto," she said. "If he had not been killed, I believe he would have made some changes."

On the day he was killed, May was responding to reports of a fight at a University Avenue taqueria when he encountered Alvarez, who allegedly shot him after a short foot pursuit. The subsequent 14-hour manhunt for May's killer ended when police found Alvarez hiding in a car near the crime scene."

Monday, January 07, 2008

New Year...

After a much needed hiatus, I'm back! What a whirlwind 2007 was. Here's a few updates from my life and work.. 

Credit Union: As previously mentioned in this blog, we opened for business on 12/19. Since we had a soft opening, we haven't done any real promotion in the community. Even so, we've been successful in opening new accounts, just based on word of mouth. It's been exciting to see friends and community members coming in to start accounts or stop by to give their greetings and blessings. CU Supervisor Maria Chavez is doing a great job. We're proud of her. 

The top photo is of NCUD co-founder Marc Prioleau and I behind the teller line at the new branch. Below is the 'famous' Maria! 

Sam's Back: Finally! Samuel always heads to the Central Valley during his breaks. He loves hanging out over there. Essentially, he hangs with his grandmother, Uncle Fabian and Aunt Alicia and his cousins Jose and Nevaeh. Over there he's a prince, eating, playing video games... Outwardly, he doesn't miss us at all (which breaks his father and mother's hearts)

But, now my 'baby' is back at home. Now he's completely focused on his beloved Christmas gift, a Playstation 3. 

Christmas was a great season - but all too short. I'm looking forward to great things in '08. We have some a busy and exciting few months coming with the Bay Area Reload coming later this month, Credit Union grand opening on February 2nd, and CCDA Institute coming in late April.

The below photo is from the annual Christmas Eve celebration Samuel, Melissa and I have in San Francisco. It's a chance for us to be together one last time before we go the the Valley and be with Melissa's family. 

Happy New Year to all!