Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Gilligan's Island Beatbox

I thought Matisyahu was the coolest beatboxer to come along in a while.

Then I saw this guy.

Monday, February 27, 2006

Don't Wait Till We're Dead

There was an excellent piece in the Globe last Thursday about a meeting in which 100 young people from Boston met with city councillors to discuss the rash of gun-related violence plaguing the city and endangering many teens on the street.

Read it here if you like.

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

...a new thing

Just a quick note to share some news. Over the course of 2 weeks of prayer and listening, Jen and I have come to a decision about an opportunity placed in front of me.

Without such luxuries as a title or a job description (who needs 'em?), I have accepted a position with the program development of the Kroc Center that was awarded to and will be built in Upham's Corner on the borders of Dorchester & Roxbury in Boston. The project is massive ($85-100 million and 85,000 sq ft) and a team is quickly coming together to tackle phase 2 of the development process. I will be a member of that team which includes advisory board members, our development staff, community members and organizations, and other people soon to be named.

For those who might be interested in a little bit about the area into which the center is going: (from the RFP)

There are currently approximately 24,000 residents in the immediate Dudley Street neighborhood; approximately 58,000 within a one-mile radius. Nearly half of Boston’s children live in Roxbury, Dorchester and Mattapan, with the largest number of youth in Roxbury and the second largest in Dorchester. The proposed site is on the Dorchester/Roxbury line. 37% of Dudley residents (approximately 8500) are age 19 or under. 89% of Dudley residents identify as minorities, 25 % of the population is Cape Verdean. This cultural diversity adds an incredible flavor to the area, but also creates challenges in providing services across cultural and sometimes language barriers.

The proposed site for the center is a true exercise in urban development, presenting many challenges of land assembly, traffic flow, and parking yet creating an exciting, vibrant center of activity that has the potential to influence and change for the better a forsaken cityscape along a main commercial thoroughfare. Characterized for years by abandoned buildings in desperate need of repair and vacant land serving to attract littering as well as drug trafficking, the arrival of a Kroc Center has an opportunity to greatly improve a neighborhood simply by occupying currently desolate space, to say nothing of the impact that the programs within the center will have on the youth and families for years to come.

I was over there just last week and if there were ever a place where the Army and the Church need to be, it's there. The possiblities for the Kingdom are breathtaking, the challenges almost equally as imposing. As a friend of mine said of it the other day, "The opportunity is massive and terrifying, not unlike the God we serve."

I will maintain a small sliver of what I'm currently doing with Discipleship Training. It will be good to continue in one area of direct, hands-on ministry throughout this phase of the position with the Kroc as it will involve a very different range of activities.

So it's another leap into the deep end of the unknown, but we know who our God is and we trust Him for all that's needed.

We covet your prayers for this transition and again thank those who prayed, counseled and listened through the decision-making process.

Isaiah 43:18-19
19 See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the desert and streams in the wasteland.

If you have no idea what a Kroc Center is, go here

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Old Skool Camp Reunion

Last Friday night, Jen and I got (some of) the old skool Wonderland gang together since Steve Guest was in town from Miami.

Here's a little note about what everyone's up to these days.

(right to left)
Nakia's work will soon be published in O magazine.

Cole is in jail.

Hong cleans a white man's underwear for a living.

Steve is spending a lot of time with drug runners in South Beach.

At the time of writing, Bryan is traveling to Guatemala for an unspecified period of time with no clear purpose for his visit.

Delano is spending a lot of time in juke joints and not getting much sleep.

So as you can see, the gang has all turned out well!

It was really great to see everyone. We watched one of the classics from Happy Summer Studios -- The Missing Heir. Always brings a chuckle and a tear. The chuckle for Dee, the tear for Hongle.

Friday, February 10, 2006

I feel vindicated: Kanye West is an idiot

"Cocky rap star Kanye West is calling for a revised edition of the Bible, because he thinks he should be a character in it.

The Jesus Walks hitmaker, who picked up three Grammy Awards, feels sure he'd be "a griot" (West African storyteller) in a modern Bible.

He says, "I bring up historical subjects in a way that makes kids want to learn about them. I'm an inspirational speaker.

'I changed the sound of music more than one time... For all those reasons, I'd be a part of the Bible. I'm definitely in the history books already.'"

Don't feel the need to comment beyond his own words, really.

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Pressing in

STANDARD PARENTAL STORY DISCLAIMER: For those readers who are not parents, the following post will involve a story of a child-parent relationship related to larger issues of life. It's the kind of analogy parents are always making that can become extremely annoying particularly to those who do not have children. I do, however, have children and so I will tell the story anyway. Deal or stop reading now.

It doesn't happen too much these days, but a little while ago, especially during the year in which Riley was 2 and a half to 3 and a half years old, she would occasionally get very clingy. Not in the usual sort of "I need you Mommy or Daddy" way that kids get into, but in an excited, "I just need to be close to you all the time" kind of way. This would manifest itself often at restaurants when either Jen or I would be sharing one side of a booth with her. Though there was plenty of space for an adult and a toddler to occupy comfortably, she would press herself up against us, not allowing us to move or eat or speak without being aware of Riley's presence on our elbow, in our ribcage, pushing against our shoulder. She didn't need us to do anything but let her be that close, wasn't looking for comfort in a specific way. She just needed extreme proximity.

When a newborn or an infant wants to be close, we tend to put up with it and truly to enjoy it most of the time. When a toddler does it, at least to me, I can take it for a bit, but then I feel so encumbered, so weighed down by her pressing on me, annoyed, distracted, not at ease. I am itching for her to find some other distraction and just give me some space.

Lately, I've really been pressing into God. Depending on Him in a way that I haven't for a long time. It's just occured to me that this is another one of those similarity/difference situations in God the Father's relationship with us. We do sometimes exactly what Riley did to us: we press in to God, needing comfort, excited to be in His presence, depending on the weight of who He is to hold us up. There's the similarity. Here's the difference: He doesn't get weighed down. He is not annoyed. He is still high and lofty and loving and compassionate and so trustworthy. He is more at ease when we press into Him. He is ill at ease when we ignore Him, patronize Him or humor Him with our affection. And because there is no end to Him, we can press in and press in and press in and find no resistance, at least from Him. There's always more of Him for us to experience, to depend on.

Friday, February 03, 2006

The Theology of Johnny Cash

I know Johnny Cash didn't write this song with a Christian walk in mind, but that doesn't mean we can't read it, hum it, sing along with our Christian walk in mind. Hey, maybe we could even add it to a worship set some day soon.

I Walk the Line

I keep a close watch on this heart of mine
I keep my eyes wide open all the time
I keep the ends out for the tie that binds
Because you're mine, I walk the line

I find it very, very easy to be true
I find myself alone when each day is through
Yes, I'll admit that I'm a fool for you
Because you're mine, I walk the line

As sure as night is dark and day is light
I keep you on my mind both day and night
And happiness I've known proves that it's right
Because you're mine, I walk the line

You've got a way to keep me on your side
You give me cause for love that I can't hide
For you I know I'd even try to turn the tide
Because you're mine, I walk the line

I keep a close watch on this heart of mine
I keep my eyes wide open all the time
I keep the ends out for the tie that binds
Because you're mine, I walk the line