Tag: general

Back from NYC

I had the opportunity to spend the past 3 days in New York City for a series of meetings with the leaders of the various Communitas sites (New York City, San Diego, & New Orleans). It was a lot of fun and I think that our time together was really good both in getting to know each other better and in wrestling together through some questions of our future as a movement within CRM.

I really dig sharing in the experiment of communitas with these guys. They each are committed to exploring new ways to engage those outside the reach of the church with the beauty and reality of the Kingdom of God. They are a lot of fun too. We had a chance to explore a bit of Brooklyn and Queens while we were there as well as the obligatory tours of the Statue of Liberty, Ground Zero, Times Square, and Central Park and many a trip on the subway (which I am deeply jealous of New Yorkers for).

The sights, sounds, and smells of New York were overwhelming – so utterly distinct from those we experience in the desert. I want to take Kelli sometime soon and have the opportunity to explore the urban world of New York that we have little exposure to having lived in the West for all of our lives.

Above is a picture from the rooftop terrace of Phil Alessi – who we stayed with and who serves as the New York City Communitas site leader.

Coronado Community Gardens

Living in intention demands that we work hard to determine our convictions (that which shapes and defines who we are becoming) and then arrange the actions of our lives around the pursuit of these convictions.

As our family has done this, more than a few convictions have emerged that form a framework in which we hope defines our future. For more detail on the major convictions we live by, see our way of life. In a pursuit of an intentional life, we’ve been dreaming of starting a community garden on our street.  Community gardens are a great way to understand where our food comes from, to share in something with others in our neighborhood, and a way to beautify our neighborhoods in the process. All good stuff.

A few weeks ago, we got a call from a friend who works in the neighborhood that some neighbors were interested in starting a community garden. So I went to the initial meeting last Saturday and Kelli and I are planning on attending a site analysis and permaculture workshop at the garden this Saturday. Our role on the planning committee is to help with community outreach – specifically to get a wider demographic to participate in the garden than typically does in neighborhood functions.  We’re excited – especially since we no longer have to do the “creating” and can join others in our neighborhood.  I’ll keep you posted here on the progress.

Love the DBacks

One of the things we most enjoy about living downtown is going to AZ Diamondbacks games as a family. Typically we ride our bikes to the game, lock em up at the bike rack right in front of the gate (it’s great to never have to pay for parking), and get some cheap tickets. It doesn’t cost us much so we don’t sweat leaving early to get the kids to bed and we get a free fireworks show that can be seen from our front porch every Friday night the dbacks are in town.

not a good week for my car

Since we moved downtown, I’ve been driving my car less and depending on my bike as my primarly means of local transportation.  On top of that, I’ve been investigating the pro’s/con’s of exchanging the car for a scooter, eagerly anticipating using the new light rail coming to PHX in December, and seriously looking at using the new ZipCar recently parked downtown.  In short, my car’s future isn’t looking good.

Then this last week – a blown radiator assumably from the intense summer heat.  And then last night – a wicked monsoon rolled through with winds strong enogh to topple trees, toppling a tree on top of my car. Nothing too extreme, a cracked windshield, a couple of small dents, and some minor scratching, but still things that I must fix.  Might this be my car’s way of getting back at me for my wandering eye, or is this just the tipping point for me to rid our family of the car and move on to new (and more wallet/environmentally friendly) forms of motion?

I’ll let you know.

What the Heck AZ?

According to the Arizona Republic, Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio still holds a 54% approval rating. Cmon – have 54% of you out there not been reading the news recently.  Are that many of us really seduced by the media whoredom of the Sheriff’s office.  Are we really sitting in the back of the room flashing Arpaio and his henchmen a “thumbs-up” while he continues to do what-ever-the-hell-he wants, to racial profile, to inappropriately spend taxpayer money on pulling over illegal immigrants for broken tailights instead of those who we really need to put behind bars?  This is insane.

There is some good news though, this approval rating has dropped 10% since March of last year.  It seems the public is starting to recognize that Arpiao is beginning to hang himself, but will it be fast enough for change in the Sheriff’s office?  I hope so, but fear not.

The article also tells of Arpaio’s political challenger, Dan Saban, having a potential 38% vote come November.  For sure, to get Saban elected and Arpiao back to the trailer park he came from, Saban’s going to need more to get on his bandwagon.  So my little piece of help in helping that to happen, is encouraging the 2-3 people who read this blog to investigate Saban and seriously consider voting for Saban come Novermber.  So Take a few moments and learn about Dan Saban and what he’s about:

Dan Saban’s Offical Website

Heading to Portland

Kelli and I (sans kids) are headed to Portland tonight to spend some time with some close friends of ours – the Atkins and then we’re on to the CRM US Ministries conference hosted there. Should be a good week – full of rest, relationships, learning, and hopefully some new experiences. I hear great things about Portland and we are really excited about seeing it for ourselves.

Rising Gas Prices and the Future of Phoenix


[image from a documentary entitled, "The End of Suburbia"]

Recently I've been thinking a lot about the rise of oil/gas prices here in the US and wondering what affect it will have on us long-term.  I (like many others) are convinced that high gas prices aren't going away anytime soon. Our economy is not so good at going backwards when it comes to pricing.  We will inevitably (and it is scary that this is so) adjust to the cost of $4/gallon gas and forget that we once complained that gas was $2/gallon or then $3/gallon.  

While this may be the case, high gas prices will certainly affect the future of the United States of America.  We are already adjusting and beginning to imagine life beyond the automobile, or least to life with less automobile. We are driving less, using public transportation more, and inventing new words like "staycation.  I personally am excited about the renewed value many are putting on riding a bike and focusing more on local consumption. But despite these new and creative ways we are getting by as Americans, we are still doing it with a sense of hostility toward high gas prices.  In other words, our negative postures toward these news ways of life imply that if and when gas prices roll back we'll return to our gas-guzzling car-loving ways. The implication is that we'll sell our new Prius for that SUV, allow our bicycles to grow cobwebs and dust once again, and return to our excessive carbon-footprint ways.

I want to suggest we take a different view to all of this.  Sure the pain of $70 tanks of gas leave us wondering how we'll stretch our paychecks to survive and we get less product for more money all the way around (high oil prices affect everything from food costs to electricity costs).  But maybe this is the best thing that could happen to our future as a people.  Maybe this pain we currently feel will finally force us to reimagine what it means to be an American. Possibly we will finally have the creative courage to look at other ways of living – one that are more responsible, other-focused,and ecologically-friendly.  I sure hope it will.

As I have been imaging the affects that this gas crisis might have on the US, I can't help but begin by imaging what a new Phoenix might look like as a result of raising gas prices.  Here are some initial thoughts:

– might residential development in Phoenix look more urban as opposed to the typical Phoenix suburbs.  Will this finally force us to value high density residential living and to see it's value as sustainable development in contrast to suburban development?

– will we finally take public transportation seriously? I am wondering how many of the numerous people who've told me that, "the Phoenix light rail project is the biggest wste of money" might be rethinking that perspective.

– might we move from automobile-driven development (high parking space per capita) to community-driven or sustainability-driven development.?

– we will finally take our existing urban spaces seriously and attempt to make up for the decades and decades we've neglected them?  Might new urban spaces emerge throughout the valley?

– will this all lead to the rise of an "ethos of the other" for those who call Phoenix home?  In other words, will we discover what it means to deeply share life and city with those our live on our streets?  Will we remember how to be neighborly?

– will we through all of this discover a new commonality as Phoenicians that bind us together into a city not of buildings, infastructure, and municipalities, but a city of people sharing a common identity of place, story, and common dreams.


I for one, sure hope so.


 BTW: I wonder how the crash of the housing market will play into all of this as well


Some Links:
"Downtown Phoenix sees benefits from the economic slump" from ABC15
"Is America's suburban dream collapsing into a nightmare?" from cnn.com

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