Thursday, May 26, 2005

Why I am a Christian

The Good Book says that both rain and sunshine fall on the just and the unjust. I have come to believe that the brokenness of the world also remains at this time for the just and the unjust.

This being so, I for a time have been wondering what advantage in this life is there to being a Christian. Heaven has never been the big appeal to me. I am much more passionate about the here and now… “Thy Kingdom come Thy will be done on earth…”

This past Sunday when I had the privilege of serving communion, an early childhood memory came back to me. I remember encountering a love manifested through my aunt and uncle that I did not have. This brought me to tears (I cried in my room for over an hour under the conviction that I did not have within me this kind of love); they told me that Christ was the source of this love. I remembered a time in my life when I was a stranger to the source of this kind of love.

In fourth grade I encountered Christ for myself, though I really came to appreciate Christ’s love much more in high school. This for me is the enduring gift of God. I cannot imagine what my life would have been like without Christ’s love. A love that has not always been mediated through others -- yet witnessed in others; a grace and a gift that in truth is nothing short of God extending God’s very Spirit or breath to us.

No one gets to keep their life and each of us uses it or give it away daily.
Some might say that we can love without Christ; I would say that the love we could love with would be much deeper and more profound with Christ. This is why I am a Christian to this day and this is why I wish that others would become like me at this one point – Ephesians 3:14-21.

I Cor. 13
I John 1
Matthew 24

Monday, May 23, 2005

Urban Youth Workers Institute

Jude and I presented two talks this weekend at the UYWI conference. Our material on the "Use of public Space" and "A Missional View of HIPHOP in the Latino context" was well recieved by those who came. It was the very first time I have used Power Point on my new (1 week old) Mac Power Book. Thanks to the Tech support that they had... and the great youth and youth workers that came to our seminars!!!

I promised a book list that would help folks in their journey of navigating their faith walk in this fast world of ours... I will post this latter this afternoon... peace...

Here is a Start... and this is still in progress...

The books listed here are in response to the different people that I met at the UYWI please note the reason that each resource is mentioned and pursue those that are of interest to you:

Life in Christ references:

*Disciple by Juan Carlos Ortiz – Years before the book, “40 days of Purpose” by Rick Warren, Juan Carlos Ortiz helped orient me to becoming a true disciple and follower of Jesus Christ. It is written on a sixth grade reading level without being simplistic and is still inspirational to me even though I have read it over more than 10 times.

*The Celebration of Discipline, By Richard Foster – When I got to the place where I said OK I know the truth but give me something to do with it that will bring life into my soul the church that I was attending started working through this book as a community. It Rocked my world.

*Streams of Living Water: Celebrating the Great Traditions of Christian Faith by Richard Foster

*Loving God, by Chuck Colson

*Space for God, by Don Postema – this is where I turn when my prayer life or poetry life gets old and dry.

HipHop and Youth Culture References:

* National Geographic Vol. 196, No. 2 August 1999 “Global Culture” – The cover picture and it’s contents ate worth contemplating if we are going to be ready for tomorrows world of missions.

*Code of the Streets:Dececy, Violence, and the Moral Life of the Inner City by Elijah Anderson

*The HipHop Generation by Bakari Kitwana

*Fight the Power by Chuck D

*It’s not About a Salary: Rap, Race, and Resistance in Los Angeles by Brian Cross

*Strength to Love, by Martin Luther King -- the Power of his oratory and the wisdom of the words are often still relevant to us today. The reason why his wisdom is not taken up by this HipHop generation is because my generation only half-stepped to what he was calling us to rather than fulfilling the dream. I sometimes read some of his words over beats.

Bring it together:

*Mustard Seed Versus McWorld: Reinventing Life and Faith for the Future, by Tom Sine

*Restoring At-Risk Communities: Doing it Together and Doing it Right, by John Perkins

Other thought Provokers and Helps:

*Dedication and Leadership, by Douglass Hyde – sometimes our discipleship is not working because we are not doing what can and should be done in terms of good basic leadership development and God may be blessing us in spite of our weak organizational structures and training patterns.

*Soul Survivor by Philip Yancey – a great read for those of us who struggle with our faith a times.

Sunday, May 01, 2005

One of the best B-days ever...

I want to thank everyone who joined in celebrating my birthday...

What made it such a good day for me is that I enjoy watching people -- especially my friends... What was moving to me was to watch how much love and care was in the mix. It matters to me that my friends are good to each others and for each others... and that is the way it was and is... All thanks to God for this...

Roxy, Chris, Lance Mark, & Salvador... for setting up the decorations at Magee's Donut Shop.
Sal, Jose, and Rikki... for bringing my two favorite cakes to share with everyone.
Wil, Glen, and Nate... for Gifts of sharing Art... Keep up the Creativity!!!
Willie & Gennell... We are looking forward to you Wedding this summer...
Carmen... for her encouraging words and for encouraging her son in his creativity...
Barbie & Yoshi... for sharing your cullinary arts and the largest havest of lemons I have ever been blessed with...
Miriam, Nate... for hanging out with me for a whole day of musings and conversation...
Jesika... for spreading love wherever you go...
Paul, Kathy, Mel, Julio, Rikki, Kristin, Steve & Sandra... for so often going the extra mile for us throughout the years...
Jude with great love made a trip to the Farmers Market on Mariposa Street and brought 8 baskets of our favorite fruit / Strawbarries...
Miguel, Ramiro... for freindship over the years
Reina, and Kathy for being such good neighbors...
Natalie, and Melissa for their friendship, Paitience with questions about La Cultura Aqui, and the years of hair cuts...
LA Street Productions... Remembering our beginnings at Maggees... Active members: Wil, Miriam, Nate... Innactive Members: Sal, and Rei (by phone), and Potential new members Glen, and Yoshi...
For special guests... Kim, Alexi, and Kathy
Maria, Frank, and Ronald also came through...

Kathy also reminded me of John 13 and Jesus washing the feet of the disciples... and our care for the feet of the poor... and our shared history of sharing something of the love of God in this way... thank you for blessing my feet for my birthday... may we extend this blessing to others... may we carry the grace implied by such a blessing...

Mike & Mona...For the best breakfast I have ever had...on my real B-day... at the House of Blues Sundays Gospel Brunch.