1. Several of us neighbors successfully blocked a city construction project that would have directly affected our neighborhood. We went door to door, collected petitions, had neighborhood meetings, spoke at the planning commission meeting, spoke at the city council meeting, etc. As a result, many of us neighbors have gotten to meet one another; it’s been great. Slowly, I am befriending more and more neighbors. I certainly know most of the people on my street now.
Sadly, much of the motivation to oppose the city project was suburban xenophobia which I tried my best to downplay. I’m trying to think and feel like a missionary–taking on their concerns–but that sort of fear I cannot easily stomach from the perspective of the Gospel.
2. I’ve somehow become in charge of the neighborhood email list. To date, we have 136 email addresses (some people with multiple emails); we have about 200 homes in the neighborhood.
3. I’m thinking about organizing another block party for Labor Day. With at least half of the households on the email list, the turnout will probably be amazing. Not really sure what my reservation is. Does everyone get Labor Day off?
4. I’ve recently become friends with Paddy, the owner of a local Union City cafe, Paddy’s Coffee House (www.paddyscoffee.com). He’s an Indian guy with a real sense for coffee and tea. He also displays a huge affection for the local community.
- This Friday, he’s holding a “Rock the Vote” type event during which he is inviting local
politicians to teach young voters about getting involved in the
democratic process. Voter registration will also be available.
- This Friday, he will also be having open mic night for poetry, art, and entertainment.
- Every Friday in September, he will be hosting the 2nd Annual “Film Festival 2006 at Paddy’s Coffee House.” To submit your own film, email Paddy.
- October 21st he is hosting the 2nd
Annual PaddyPalooza music festival, featuring local bands. To submit your band, email Paddy.
5. I’m still uncertain what God has in store for me with respect to my neighborhood and the city. For now, I am trying to take literally the command of Jesus to love your neighbor as yourself.