The spiritual journey to a secular job

I’ve got one thing on my mind, baby, and that one thing is…fundraising. Sexy, right? The Oakland Peace Center is hosting our very first fundraising campaign ever, and it is all I can think about right now. I sent a couple of appeal emails to people I know through church, and it got me thinkingContinue reading “The spiritual journey to a secular job”

When focusing on the “racist” upholds a broken system

or: When are we going to get real about poor people of color wanting to be safe and the underpinnings of the police force undermining the efforts of good police?   I just came across this article about an Oakland firefighter filing a discrimination case because he and his young sons were held at gunpointContinue reading “When focusing on the “racist” upholds a broken system”

Homelessness, the woman on my patio and the Woman at the Well

Sermon preached at First Christian Church of Palo Alto, August 10, 2014. Text: John 4:5-15 (with references to later verses), the story of the Woman at the Well Preamble to the sermon: I am known in some circles for preaching a really up-on-your-feet, clap and shout amen kind of sermon. I think that was whyContinue reading “Homelessness, the woman on my patio and the Woman at the Well”

A Tale of Two Cities: Redemption and gentrification in a “transitioning” neighborhood and a pop-up middle class neighborhood

When I was pastor at First Christian Church of Oakland, a couple of our regular members were homeless. They made most of their income by recycling. They could tell you where to go on Saturdays when the regular recycling center was closed, and how to get money for the wine bottles that don’t have theContinue reading “A Tale of Two Cities: Redemption and gentrification in a “transitioning” neighborhood and a pop-up middle class neighborhood”

What if Oakland is one of the thin places?*

*thin places: a Celtic term for those places where the division between earth and heaven collapse, where we can contemplate and experience the divine in the midst of our lived experiences. and so is this.       I went to college in Baltimore, and some of my friends still live there. My friends seeContinue reading “What if Oakland is one of the thin places?*”

RIP, 5’10” caucasian male

Allen got a call at 4:45pm yesterday, and he contacted the police. By the time I was aware of the situation, the coroner had come and gone. Our neighbor, Stevens, who knows some of the regulars who hang around the building, didn’t recognize the man. 5’10” Caucasian male. That’s all I know. Under a blanket,Continue reading “RIP, 5’10” caucasian male”

Community care is self care is community care

On solidarity and not burning out and doing movement work well I’m going to make a confession: I’m not awesome at yoga or meditation. I don’t care much for silence in general. I tried being a Quaker for a month in college because on paper it was the perfect match, but after about ten minutesContinue reading “Community care is self care is community care”

The original tracks of “Happy Brown Girl Vol. 2” (plus a bonus video BY ME!)

By now, everyone who asked for a copy of my CD should have received it. (If you want one, email me your mailing address; this is a labor of love I look forward to doing all year and if you’ll enjoy it, I would LOVE to share it!) Last year, when I released “Happy BrownContinue reading “The original tracks of “Happy Brown Girl Vol. 2” (plus a bonus video BY ME!)”

Police Militarization Makes Us Less Safe: Why I Oppose Urban Shield

“Because we deserve better,” I said to every West Oakland resident I encountered. The 87-year-old lifetime resident and the 30-something hipster alike nodded sagely and said, “that’s right.” I was canvassing with my clergy colleagues, handing out flyers seeking information on the shooting of 23-month-old Hiram Lawrence, Jr. It was late November, 2011. Since then,Continue reading “Police Militarization Makes Us Less Safe: Why I Oppose Urban Shield”

on Kafani and Dreams Deferred and Not (and on violence, escaping it and not)

If you haven’t heard of Kafani, you’re probably not a hip hop head with a particular passion for Bay Area beats. Kafani’s a pretty respected hip hop artist with a somewhat well-known beef with Philthy Rich. He’s particularly famous right now for having been in the wrong place at the wrong time twice, both timesContinue reading “on Kafani and Dreams Deferred and Not (and on violence, escaping it and not)”