Monday, December 19, 2011


About a month ago, I joked about our camping trip as an "Occupy Marin" trip. Since then, the Occupy protest in San Francisco has ended, with the police effectively clearing out the plaza near the ferry building.

Remaining is only this strange lingering sadness when I walk by the former occupy site on my way to work. It was nice to know there were people out there who still cared enough to take a stand by lying down.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Jesus from a Postmodern Perspective: A Man I Could Actually Follow

This is the title of final paper for one of my classes....Intrigued?

This is part-two of my education and faith overlap. I have been in a class this semester studying critical and postmodern pedagogies. It has all the big names in educational theory (Marx, Apple, Giroux, Friere, Foucault  Solaranzo, Bhabba, Said, etc). These are the men and women (mostly white men though, sigh) that get my heart racing. These are the theorist who say what is in my heart for the world of education.

As I have been studying these theories, I realize that what they are saying isn't anything new. Jesus said it all way before any of them or their great, great, great grandparents were born. But I have said all this before here.

Jesus is super appealing and awesome when we actually look at what he preached. So, I started wondering why the church doesn't seem to preach the Jesus that I know and why we don't seem to be compelled to live the way he lived. My answer and a way to articulate it came from this class.

To be continued...

Tuesday, November 29, 2011


How do you age gracefully?

My 27th Birthday is quickly approaching and while I don't feel old, a recent magazine article about aging made me wonder how I am going to age gracefully in this day and age. This article was similar to  the what to wear in your 20s, 30s, 40s and beyond articles, but it was for cosmetic surgery and botox. There were recommendations for every decade and I was left wondering if I should be getting botox...And I'm not even 30 yet!

I couldn't finish the article. I was considering a cosmetic change that was more than just lotions and creams. I was considering "procedures" that I used to think only movie stars and the elite underwent in the attempts of clinging to the fountain of youth. Will botox and face lifts be the norm one day?

For a girl who has a hard time contemplating dying her hair when the grey takes over, going under the knife seems impossible. So that is why I pose to you, how do you age gracefully when media is telling you look old when you are 26?

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Occupy Marin

In Solidarity with Occupy SF, Occupy Oakland, and Occupy Cal, Robyn and I decided to occupy Hawk Camp in the Marin Headlands. Some highlights from our trip...

We departed the SF Ferry Building headed for Sausalito...

Then we stopped at Lighthouse Cafe for a delicious breakfast. Robyn got a huge
blueberry pancake!

Our backpacks rested like upside turtles in front of the many steps we had to climb... but at the
top the view of the Bay was fantastic!

Finally we arrived at Hawk Camp overlooking the Marin Headlands and SF to the south. Robyn kept warm with her stylish wardrobe of socks while Danny set up the stove for some delicious Mac N Cheese N Sausage under the full moon.

In the morning we packed up, headed down the mountain and caught the 76 bus back across the Golden Gate Bridge, all in time for church at 11am! It was a great escape from the city for the weekend.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Dead Week

SF state doesn't really have a dead week and as a grad student I don't really have finals. I just am writing papers as finals. So, the week before finals isn't really a "dead week" by Cal Poly definitions. However, this week, four weeks from the end of the semester, is a dead week for me. A presentation today, a ten page lit review is due tomorrow, and a six page proposal is due on Thursday. Oh, and I should be doing the reading to go along with all of these classes... approximately 10-12 articles/chapters ranging from 10-20 pages each.

So, why am I writing a blog? Because it is my dead week and procrastination is as much a part of the tradition as little sleep.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Easter on Halloween

Last night we watch Practical Magic to participate in Halloween. In short, Sandra Bullock and Nicole Kidman bring back a man from the dead and are haunted by his spirit. I won't give away the ending just in case you desperately want to see this C+ movie, but as we were going to bed, it struck me that ghost stories are about letting the dead stay dead. Danny responded that there seems to be something innate in us that knows that it is unnatural to bringing the dead back to life. If we do disturb the dead, scary things happen.

Then, Danny said that there is one story where someone coming back to life isn't scary.

This one story would be the story of Jesus' resurrection. My first response was to agree. Of course Jesus' raising from the dead is a good thing and a happy thing. All the pastel colors, smiling faces, and soft and cuddly bunnies of Easter usually invoke joy in my spirit. Fear for my life and shaking at seeing a dead man alive are not my responses at Easter.

But maybe they should be. With all the images and feelings of Halloween night in my head, the resurrection did not seem that warm and fuzzy. It was actually kind of terrifying. No wonder the first thing Jesus said was do not be afraid. I mean, he was a DEAD MAN literally walking! Now, we can intellectualize that he was neither ghost nor zombie, but a human again. BUT he was no longer human in the same sense as we are human today. He did look different. I am truly surprised that S**t is not recorded as Mary's first word when she saw Jesus. She was coming to anoint a dead body and instead encounters one that is very much alive. Sounds like a Halloween movie to me.

Shouldn't our reaction be similar to a scary movie when we encounter the only person in history who has died and come back to life? Shouldn't we be fearful of what this person could do to us if they can't die? Shouldn't we be shaking and terrified?

Well, no. Why? Because Jesus, in his utmost compassion, says don't be afraid. It is a good thing he is alive. It means that we won't die if we believe in his sacrifice. It means that we don't have to pay for all the wrong things we have done. He welcomes us under his sacrifice and we no longer have to be afraid...of anything.

But, the fear and awe that Mary and the Disciples felt when they first saw Jesus is lost on us during the Easter season. For me, I enjoy the celebration part of Jesus' resurrection. I like the candy, dancing, and happiness. The truth is that Jesus does have a ton of power. It isn't that he never died, but he died and came back to life. A man that can do that is more than a man and that kind of power is scary. I need to be a bit more reverent when I remember this incredible (and a bit creepy) miracle.

Maybe we should reflect more on the resurrection during Halloween in order to restore our awe of the only man who has come back from the dead. Maybe we should be reminded of the scary part of the resurrection. Maybe we should carefully consider someone doing what we know is not "natural".

Monday, October 31, 2011

Can I pour it in the InterVarsity mug?

Danny asked me this the day after we moved into our new apartment. If the beverage had been coffee I would have said sure, even though the InterVarsity mug is not one of my favorites. We had just moved-in and were pulling our dishes out of boxes as we needed them. Drinking coffee out of my favorite mug was the least of my concerns. If the beverage had been milk, water, or juice, I would have agreed to consume my it from the blue, thick walled, mug. Shoot, even if I was handed a cocktail in that mug, I would have gladly accepted it at that point.

So why, when Danny asked this did I shake my head, pry my body, and slowly stumble (for I could barely walk from soreness) toward one specific box?

Because it was wine and it needed a wine glass.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Undiluted Joy

Mittersill, Austria 2005

Maybe it is due to the fact I got a part-time job that I am really excited about or that I got public recognition for a paper I wrote. Or maybe it is the fact that it is fall and I love fall. Or maybe because I feel as though I have finally let go. Or maybe it is because I am exactly where I am suppose to be. Or maybe it is due to the new adventures ahead. Or maybe it the fact that I love my friends.

Whatever it is, today I feel like skipping on the hills of Austria like I did so many years ago...undiluted joy.

Monday, October 3, 2011

Faith and Education Overlap

Honestly, I am still trying to find where this overlap happens. The other day, I thought to myself, FINALLY! My education and my faith are coming together...I should blog about it. But life happened and the seed was snatched off the pathway by the birds of busyness and distraction. Today, my papers and research project loom and as I contemplated more ways to procrastinate, a blog post presented a convient waste of time.

The fact that I still feel a tension between my faith and social justice theories in my education does not grieve me as much as it did last year. I am coming to see my Jesus in much of the theories that I study in my classes. He is everywhere. So much of what these great social justice educators theorize can be summed up in Jesus' ministry. So much of His ministry can be found in the lives of my friends who sacrifice their lives to serve those the world has forgotten.

For my thesis I want to make some general recommendations to teacher preparation programs. The goal will be to design a class that teachers in training would need to be better equipped to teach in urban schools.

My general recommendation for teachers in training? The "ghetto" is where you will be able to find a job. The "ghetto" is the place that needs good teachers. If you consider yourself a good teacher, you should teach in an urban area. It is not easy. Be prepared to die to all you think is the "best" and "right" way to do things. Be prepared to learn a new way of teaching and acting. Everything that you think about the world is about to be challenged. But if you teach in the hood, you will have more rewards than you can imagine. You will see students do things that no one thought possible. You will be apart of changing history. You will never be the same.

Sound familiar? If you say you follow Jesus it should:

  • "Come, follow me and I will make you fishers of men." Jesus in the Gospel according to Mark 1:17
  • "He must deny himself and take up his cross (a symbol of humiliation, suffocation, extreme pain, and death) daily and follow me." Jesus in the Gospel according to Luke 9:23
  • "It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. But go and lean what this means: 'I desire mercy, not sacrifice.' For I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners." Jesus in the Gospel according to Matthew 9:12. 
  • When the disciples were arguing about who was the greatest, Jesus replies "If anyone wants to be first, he must be the very last, and the servant of all" Gospel according to Mark 9:33
  • The many miracles of healing and redemption. 

Basically, I want to write a curriculum that trains and empowers teachers:

to give some good news to the poor who can't afford to pay the high cost of teachers with low expectations and colorblindness any longer
to proclaim freedom for the children who are locked in the prison of schools' tracking systems
to give back the sight they have stolen so the blind may see a way out of their conditions
and to proclaim that high expectations and a true caring will be the norm in their classrooms.
(Luke 4:18-19 in my own words)

I am coming to see more Justice in the church as well. Believers who care and believe deeply in the helping right the wrongs in our society. They are willing to make huge personal sacrifices in order to do it.

Maybe that is the overlap. Jesus is in what I am studying ...even if Christians don't embrace all the hard parts of Justice and the academia doesn't embrace Jesus. Jesus is in me. The overlap is happening in me. May both sides see more of the other in me.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Summer Job

I have a summer job. Just like in the old college days. I am teaching science for elementary aged kids. Some days are hilarious and others are exhausting. Today was one of the entertaining ones. Some highlights from things kids have said to me are:

"When you make that face, you look cute"-1st grader

"You need to tell me at least five sentences about space, because I know you know that much at least"-same first grader.

An eye roll with the the wagging of the finger from a five year old boy.

I was teaching a girl how to make a friendship bracelet and she turns to me and says, "You have nice eyes". Never heard that one before.

Ah it is good to be around kids again!

Friday, May 6, 2011

Enough with the Serious Stuff

There has been a lot of "serious" things I have posted recently, so in an attempt to lighten it up, I wanted to share some of the fun things that Danny and I have discovered/done in the city since we moved here.

Weekend in Carmel

We needed a getaway after Danny was finishing up with Revolution Prep and working for CB2, the general contractor where he currently is a Project Engineer. Carmel was just the place. We went wine tasting and the wine culture is very similar to SLO so it felt "known" in the midst of all the unknown in our city life. On Sunday we went to the "downtown" area that is full of cutesy little shops and we had the best pizza! It was a smoked salmon with some sort of cream sauce. The restaurant had a real Italian vibe which we both throughly enjoyed. It was just the relaxing and literally quite weekend we needed.

Mr. Toad's Tours

Danny set this up around Christmas time when all the Christmas lights were out. We went for the night tour. It was so fun! The car has no windows, so it made for a chilly ride, but we could see everything clearly. We snuggled in the back as the guide explained about each neighborhood and shared his favorite place to eat in said neighborhood. That was our first exposure to how much San Franciscans love food. He said that San Franciscans talk about where they ate earlier, where they are going to eat later, and where they will eat in the future. We laughed at the time, but the reality is folks that we now do exactly that! With so much good food, who could resist? The ride was so romantic and a great night out on the town!

Biking to Golden Gate Park

We are blessed to live twenty minutes away, via bike, from Golden Gate Park. We ride down our hill to the beach and then ride along the Great Highway. We love just getting lost through all the meandering bike lanes and paths at Golden Gate Park. Coming home is a bit more of an uphill climb, but we have found the least steep route. 

Conservatory of Flowers

Spontaneously one Sunday we decided to visit the conservatory. There was a simple exhibit of found items creating the scenery of San Francisco for a toy train set. It was pretty interesting to see how artists had created famous landmarks with all recycled material.  For pictures check out my Facebook album "mobile uploads".

SF Vintars Market

Danny is a groupon fiend. He found this awesome deal to the SF Vintars Market. We paid a flat rate for an afternoon of tasting Napa and Sonoma's finest wines. It was a lot of fun for us to get better acquainted with the wine up here, since it is a bit different than SLO's wine country. However, it must be said that other than a one really good Sauvignon Blanc and a Pinot that rivaled a favorite from a vineyard in Edna Valley, the wine was really comparable to the Paso/SLO wine that we enjoyed while living there. It is true...Napa is hype, pricey, and no better than the central coast. Still it was fun to talk with some wine makers, taste some amazing olive oils, and drink wine all afternoon!

SFMOMA Membership

My favorite part of living in the city is all the art. The "formal" art, the street art, the performing art, that is available. Since October we have had a dual membership to the SF MOMA and I love it! Because of our membership, we have free admission and special preview times and events just members. This means that I can go downtown any day, breeze through a gallery or two, and head home. I have taken my school work and studied at the roof top cafe. Danny and I have gone late on Thursday night for a date night. And the best part is that we have been able to get friends and family in for free as well...two guest passes come with our membership!

On that note, I will invite you all to come visit this amazing city and come do some of these fun things with us!

Friday, April 15, 2011

I'll just keep my blog open...

I am in the middle of writing a paper that's addressing white privilege in the church. To do this I am reading a book by Tim Wise (the book is White Like Me: Reflections on Race from a Privileged Son) who is a leading spokesman on "whiteness" in the secular world of academia. The voice from the church will be Being White by Paula Harris and Doug Schaupp. Doug Schaupp was my mentor and supervisor while I was on InterVarsity staff.

Tim Wise today's reading and I alway get so excited about quotes, so instead of changing my Facebook status every couple of minutes, I thought I would leave my favorite quotes from the day in a blog post. Thanks blog world for being my sounding board!

Chapter: Born to Belonging
In 1977, when my third grade teacher would encourage the students to trace our family was apparent that the white kids, who could go back much further and with less pain than the black kids, had gained a sense of pride, even "rootedness", as a result. p. 5

Genealogy itself is something of a privilege... p. 5

A work ethic is rarely, if ever, enough on its own to make the difference. After all, there had been millions of black folks with work ethics...millions of peoples of color had lived and toiled in this land, typically for far longer than [his ancestor who frist immigrated to the United States], and yet with few exceptions, they could not say that within a mere decade they had become successful shop owners, or that one of their sons had gone on to graduate from one of the nation's finest colleges. [All things this man had done or could say.] p. 10-11

His very arrival in the Untied States was nonetheless made possible by immigration policies that at that moment (and for most of our nation's history) have favored those from Europe over those from anywhere else. p.11

The upshot of all this is simple: I am where I am today, doing what I am doing today, in large part because I was born white. p. 16

It doesn't matter that today's whites never owned slaves, never killed any Indians, and never stole land form Mexico. We are here now, and so are the black and brown descendants of those persons of color whose ability to accumulate assets, professional credentials, education, and homes, was restricted for so long. p. 16

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

I will opt to be manipulated in person

A recent encounter with a teenage girl at 10pm on Van Ness Ave. had me picking up Robert Lupton's Theirs is the Kingdom. I haven't read it since living in Fresno during the summer of 2009, but it always gives me things to wrestle with. It offers challenges to truly engaging the city. This story was especially powerful for me last week and I wanted to share it with you. Enjoy.


For a long time we sat on my front porch as Kurt unburdened his soul. I listened mostly. I couldn't comprehend that in thirty short years one person could experience so much pain. Kurt spoke about the horror of finding his mother's life-less body, nude from the waist down and suspend between two utility poles. He told of the hate he felt for the men who molested her and then threw her off the roof of a tenement building. Rage had driven him for two years until he found one of the men responsible, but the torturous vengeance he extracted at gunpoint gave him no satisfaction. 

In the years that followed Kurt suffered from alcoholism and drug abuse. There were months lost forever from his memory. He described the pain of having his face and jaw crushed with a baseball bat, and the constant fear of being found again by the men against whom he had turned state's evidence. 

In spite of the brokenness of his life, Kurt seemed remarkably hopeful. He spoke happily of his marriage and his toddler son. He seemed motivated by his latest job and the better life it promised. Of course I would give him two dollars for his bus fare to and from work. It was only a small way of caring for a neighbor who had taken me into his confidence. 

Alas, the two dollars never reached the coin drop on the bus. Kurt purchased a bottle and dropped out of sight. The familiar cycle of deceit, dependency, and failure began again. I had been used.

Kurt had been honest with me, at least in most respects. The story of his traumatized life was true. His emotions were and are real. There may even have been redemptive value in our long talk together. I hope there was. But when I realized that Kurt had a hidden story, one he carefully kept from me, I could not help feeling violated. 

The affluent and the disinherited have frequent contact in the city. When impoverished people become desperate for food or a fix, satisfying that need becomes more important than anything. Pride diminishes and schemes emerge. The resources of others become their mark. Those who rob are perhaps he most desperate and daring, but those who manipulate are often the most skilled. The use of truth and half-truth, colorful descriptions, moist eyes, and urgent tones are powerful tools for eliciting compassion and dollars. 

I tire of being hooked, deceived, taken from. But when I consider the safer ways of giving, the impersonal media appeal, the professional mailings that would free me from contagion and protect me from seeing the whole picture, I know I must continue touching and being touched. At least I am touched by persons with names and familiar faces. I can confront. I can express disappointment to the one who has betrayed my trust. I can be angry with or embrace the one who has taken from me. 

And I can grow. I can see the conditions I place on my giving, my own subtle forms of manipulation. I am confronted with my pride that requires others to conform to my image. I see my need to control, to meter out love in exchange for the response I desire. 

I will opt to be manipulated in person. For somewhere concealed in these painful interactions are the keys to my own freedom. 

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

A stranger picked up some trash...

...and I began to wonder why people do nice things. Why do people stop to pick up someone else's litter? Why do people give you the ten cents you need to buy a cup of coffee? Why do they send cards at birthdays or in times of illness or death? Why do people give you a chunk of money when you don't deserve it?

I know that often my acts of kindness are motivated by my love for Jesus. He would want me to take care of the earth and people around me. I love him more than anyone in this world and trust him completely. He would ask this of me. But what about other people. What motivates people to be kind to one another and this earth?

-Musings while studying at Starbucks on a rainy morning

Saturday, February 5, 2011

me and the Church

Believing in God is less risky than believing in the Church.

I'm not talking about belief as in proof-of-existence.  Better synonyms might be hope. expectation. anticipation.

God has this defining characteristic where He comes through.  God exceeds expectations.  But people don't.  People are selfish, lazy, arrogant, insecure.  People are me.

I want hope. expectation. anticipation. for our new home, SF Lighthouse.  So much is happening that my soul resonates with.  But it's risky.  I'm in the infatuation stage of a dating relationship.  Eventually I'll be hurt. disappointed. let down.  There are just too many people in the Church.  There is just too much of me in the Church.

To be clear, I'm not coming from a negative church experience.  Agape Church in SLO was instrumental in my spiritual growth over the last 5 years I attended.  It's not any one church.  Instead, I find I continually have doubts about the Church as an organization.  Damn postmodern child that I am, I question anything structured, advertised, or non-organic (except Apple products, of course).

Perhaps I need not worry so much about my faith in God right now and concern myself with my faith in his Church.  It's a different kind of faith.  Not a faith like I have in God, that belief that he will exceed expectations.  But the faith that He knows what he is doing with his Church as an organization.  And the faith that every once in a while, his Church glistens in the pre-dawn light, and for that moment the Kingdom of God seems very much at hand....

To recover that faith, SF Lighthouse seems a good place for the journey.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Church Found!

After much searching we have found a church to call home. During our search for a place to worship, I grew discouraged that the Church as Jesus intended, is disappearing. Our home church in San Luis Obispo was a church that sought Gods heart even when it was difficult, had a Godly passion for justice, for the Word of God, and for healing in God's people. This church was growing and had some beautiful visions for where they were moving in the future. We were very sad to leave it.

I believed that finding a church in San Francisco would be easy. After all, there are so many social justice happenings in San Francisco I assumed that God's people would be doing God's work. There is such a diversity of people, that I assumed the Church would reflect that. It turns out that Christians, even with suffering and poverty surrounding them, are still able to be cliquish, self centered, rich, pious, and segregated. The brutal reality is that the church is in full of broken people who do not want to be broken, even in a city where brokenness is all around. I fell into the trap that once we left the idyllic San Luis Obispo, Christians would be more aware of the marginalized, because they would walk past the marginalized every day. It is not so. Christians here, just like in San Luis Obispo, can choose to ignore the call to truly follow Jesus. And then it hits me. So can I. Although I am pursuing a degree in social justice and equity, I had left my Savior out of the redemption process. I relied on social justice theorist to teach me how to bring justice. I had forgotten that Jesus had already shown me how. I had forgotten that he is the only reason I am even here.

While struggling with my ability to betray Jesus every day by claiming to be my own savior and struggling with the hypocrisy of Christians, God brought a miracle into our lives.

We were down to two other churches that were very different and had things we liked and didn't like. We were struggling with were God wanted us, because we weren't feeling very called to either. After Danny found Lighthouse Church on Yelp and suggested we go. The service we went to in late November touched me in a profound way. Jesus reached down to me and comforted my lonely, broken, and bruised heart. All that I had been struggling with before moving to San Francisco and since living here, seemed a lot less heavy and overwhelming. Jesus reminded me that he had the answers and I could just relax and be with him. I felt so free to love my Jesus again.

I knew that this was the place for me. It had been the only place that I had met with Jesus in the city.

We continued going for a couple of weeks around the holidays. We attended a small group which they call Beloved Communities. We have been included in bbqs and softball games. Just last week Danny asked if we were ready to start giving our tithe to this church. I looked at him and said, "I think so. I think this is our new home."

I feel like Peter...I followed Jesus out onto the water (San Francisco and seeking justice in the education system) fully believing in him and his ability to have authority over darkness. However, at some point I became too centered on worldly justice, too disappointed in my fellow Christians, and too overwhelmed by the enormity of suffering that happens in the 46.7 square miles of the city. But God, in his merciful love, reached down and pulls me out. He didn't let me drown. He asks why I ever doubted him. He assures me he had a place for us all along. A place where I can wrestle with these issues social justice and Christians with other like minded people. A place where I can cry. A place where he will give me healing. I just needed to be reminded, as a good friend told me, Jesus is the only one who brings true justice in the world and in my life.

So, we have found a home to be ourselves, to be broken, to seek Jesus, to love the city, and friends to do life together.

Monday, January 3, 2011

Happy New Year

As I walked home tonight from my local market carrying my locally grown and sold produce, I saw the ocean reflecting pink puffy sky.

As I walked home tonight in my new toms from my adoring husband, I saw people hurrying home and wondered if they will be greeted by someone they love.

As I walked home tonight, past the Thai ice tea place, the pizza joint, the french bakery, the library, Walgreens, and the Chinese restaurant that has become "our" place, I am filled with love for my home.

As I walked home I realized that I am ready to let this love for Taraval St. overflow to my neighbors. It has been a year and half since I returned from my summer in Fresno and I am once again ready to ask: What does it look like to love my neighbor?