Thursday, December 27, 2007
I've been in the "rabbit hole" for a while. The holiday has given me a chance to take a breather. I'll be catching up in the next few weeks and getting back at my regular pace.
I'm almost finished with "Everything Must Change" by Brian McLaren . I'll share some of my reflections on the book soon, but I thought I might share this picture that I took in the Dominican republic last month. It goes well with the following line from the book.
"I think about where the path of gross inequity leads - globally, nationally, locally. I think about the streets of Latin America and Africa, where every widow must be protected by iron gates and every wall topped with razor wire or broken glass to keep out desperately poor people who have found robbery the only way to survive."pg 248
Monday, October 29, 2007
Dear Park Slope Family,
I want to thank you for that unexpected surprise yesterday. You really got me! The gifts and words of encouragement really touched my heart. As a matter of fact I was a bit speechless. Thank you Missionettes for creatively disguising your award service and thank you leaders for putting it all together. The special Dinner was excellent. Thanks Emma & Ariel for lending us your beautiful home.
“I thank my God every time I remember you. In all my prayers for all of you, I always pray with joy because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now, being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.”
Saturday, October 13, 2007
Sunday, October 7, 2007
Wednesday, October 3, 2007
They incorporated media and arts into the gathering. Leslie Rios, an artist from Manhattan’s Lower East Side, did spontaneous painting while Pastor Jose preached on Mark 2, the story of the paralytic.
Jose and Mayra are committed to a wholistic praxis of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Last week they were able to collect canned goods and gently used clothes to be given to the African Services Committee, an organization in Harlem that works with African refugees and immigrants.
Jose and Mayra have been long time friends. I can attest to their heart for the city and a heart to serve people in an authentic way. Metro Hope is positioned to be a catalyst for revolutionary change in the city as well as an model for urban community.
Metro Hope Church is one of the churches that we support at Park Slope Tabernacle.
Let's continue to pray them....
Check out their blog CrackPots
For more info about Metro Hope check out http://myspace.com/metrohope
"Adelante como un elefante"
Monday, September 10, 2007
The Latino Leadership Circle is hosting a series of relevant movies that will encourage discussion and reflection.Movies will follow group discussion on topics presented in the film. Everyone is welcomed but seating is limited. Please register ASAP.
The Question of God, explores in accessible and dramatic style issues that preoccupy all thinking people today: What is happiness? How do we find meaning and purpose in our lives? How do we reconcile conflicting claims of love and sexuality? How do we cope with the problem of suffering and the inevitability of death? Based on a popular Harvard course taught by Dr. Armand Nicholi, author of The Question of God, the movie illustrates the lives and insights of Sigmund Freud, a life-long critic of religious belief, and C.S. Lewis, a celebrated Oxford don, literary critic, and perhaps this century's most influential and popular proponent of faith based on reason.
Wednesday, September 26, 2007
|Location:||The American Bible Society, 1865 Broadway, New York, NY 10023|
|Cost:||Free of charge, but registration is required|
For a recent interesting NY Times article entitled, "Defender of the Faith?" which argues that towards the end of Freud's life, he sees value in religion, click here.
I recommend this movie discussion for friends who struggle with belief in God and college students who, at best will confront an agnostic view of God in the classrooms.
Thursday, August 30, 2007
We're really soaking up all the great thing Puerto Rico has to offer. We visted "El Morro" yesterday and wandered around el "El Viejo San Juan." The people are "bien chevere" with us everywhere we go. The coqui lulls me to sleep at night and the warm Caribbean sun greets me at the dawn of each day.
Originally uploaded by pastorluisalvarez
Tuesday, August 28, 2007
My good friends David and Gigi let me tag along with them to PR. We're out here in beautiful Moca, Puerto Rico taking a few days of r & r. We've been hitting the near by beaches of Moca, Aguadilla and Cabo Rojo. What can I say, "la Isla del Encanto" it's a beautiful place. It feels good to get away.
I'll be posting some more photos and perhaps some reflections...
Saturday, August 18, 2007
Last week 9 leaders (Jeanette, Lolita, Vanessa, Samantha, Chris, Daniel, Gabriela, Noemi and Wanda) and I had the opportunity to attend the Leadership Summit this year at Christian Cultural Center. Once again it was an outstanding experience. Speakers included: Rev. Floyd Flake, Colin Powell, Jimmy Carter and of course Bill Hybels.
Here's a link with video recaps
Monday, August 13, 2007
Apparently, new fossils found in Nairobi, Kenya are challenging the traditional notion of evolution. Scientist believe that human evolution occurred in linear succession, Homo habilis to Homo erectus to ourselves, Homo sapiens. This new discovery shows that Homo habilis and Homo Erectus were actually contemporaries. One couldn't have evolved from another. Interesting stuff...Of course this doesn't dispose with evolutionary science, but it certainly casts doubt on how we think humans evolved.
Check the article out in the NYU Public Affairs site.
Friday, August 10, 2007
Dr. George O. Wood was elected the 12th general superintendent of the Assemblies of God General Council, August 10, at the 52nd General Council. Having served as general secretary since 1993, Wood fulfills the unexpired term of Thomas Trask, who stepped down during the middle of his four-year term. Needing a two-thirds majority, Wood was elected on the sixth electoral ballot, receiving 70 percent of the vote. Read Wood’s biography.
I've meet Wood in 1999. He's a brilliant seasoned minister. Wood should finish Trask's term with faithfulness and distinction. Lets continue present the AG before the Lord.
I had the pleasure of attending the wedding of Mr. and Ms. Steven Sanabria, at the Woodbury Country Club in Long Island. It was a fantastic wedding.
Many blessings on your marriage guys!
Here's the Flickr Photo Set.
Thanks Pastor Jeremy.
Thursday, August 9, 2007
I was at JFK International Airport a few days ago to pick up my friends from their vacation in Puerto Rico. I waited outside of the airport arrival area for quite a long time. I remember doing this when I was about 10 years old or so. I remember picking up my grandmother as she arrived from the Dominican Republic one cold winter. Back then JFK was the only airport I knew about. We stood in crowds of people eagerly waiting for a glimpse of her. When we finally spotted her there was a sense of joy and relief.
That night reminded me of a time when picking someone up from the airport was an event. I was happy to see it still is for many people. The gate was filled with people from different nationalities Jamaican, Puerto Rican, Salvadorian, and Israeli. All were part of an audience in hopeful anticipation. Some held humorous signs, husbands and boyfriends had flowers in hand waiting for their "one and only," (yes it's true...chivalry is not dead). The appearance of an expected passenger brought shouts. Some passengers felt like celebrities on the red carpet. Rendezvous were endearing. Some were just smiling gazes and one word greetings. It was refreshing to see.
I reflected on how airport pickups embody acceptance and hospitality. They contain encouragement, cheer leaders and personal rooting squads. They bring to the surface thoughts and feelings that are too often not spoken or taken for granted. I wondered how our lives would change if we made most of our meetings "airport pickups". If we saw people as always "arriving," we would express our love to one another more frequently. We would appreciate each other more. We in turn would feel appreciated, cared for and encouraged.
"Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing."
1 Thessalonians 5:11
Friday, August 3, 2007
In Increments, Senate Revisits Immigration Bill
Last week, the Senate approved $3 billion for border security as part of a Homeland Security Department spending bill. Democrats and Republicans have also begun laying ground for a bill to create a new temporary immigrant worker program for agriculture.
Another bill, also with bipartisan support, would give a path to citizenship to high school graduates who are illegal immigrants if they complete two years of college or military service. Senator Richard J. Durbin, Democrat of Illinois and a sponsor of the bill, attached it as an amendment to the military authorization legislation that the Senate last month put off until September. Mr. Durbin said he would seek to move it again then.
The agriculture and student measures “have a decent chance of passing this Congress because they have strong champions, broad bipartisan support and they have been around for a long time,” said Frank Sharry, executive director of the National Immigration Forum, which supported the broad bill. But he cautioned that they would have to overcome a “toxic” atmosphere on immigration in the wake of the defeated bill.
The college bill attracted renewed interest this week because of Juan Sebastian Gomez, a student who just graduated with honors from Killian Senior High School in Miami. On July 25, immigration agents in Florida detained Mr. Gomez, 18, his brother and his parents, all illegal immigrants from Colombia, and prepared to deport them. Immigration officials delayed the deportation on Wednesday after a group of Mr. Gomez’s high school friends roused support in South Florida and then flew to Washington to pound on doors.
The friends pointed to Mr. Gomez’s academic record — a near-perfect 3.96 grade-point average — and top scores on 11 Advanced Placement exams. They said he should not be punished for his illegal status because his parents brought him to the United States when he was 2.
The sweeping Senate immigration bill, which included a path to citizenship for illegal immigrants, was defeated by opponents who said it would reward knowing lawbreakers and the employers who hired them. But many legislators, including some who opposed the broader bill, see the student measure differently because it would benefit immigrant teenagers who are illegal only because of decisions their parents made when the children were young.
“It’s unfair to make these young people pay for the sins of their parents,” Mr. Durbin said.
The Migration Policy Institute, a nonpartisan research organization in Washington, says nearly a million immigrant students across the country could gain legal status under the bill, whose backers call it the Dream Act.
While the bill’s prospects seem favorable in the Senate, the outlook is not as bright in the House.
“We call it the Nightmare Act,” said Representative Brian P. Bilbray, a Republican from California who leads the Immigration Reform Caucus in the House. “We’re giving status to immigrants based on the fact they are here illegally. It really sends a mixed signal to both legal and illegal immigrants.”
Support has also re-emerged for the agricultural bill as labor shortages have hampered harvests this summer in states like California, Michigan and North Carolina. The bill’s supporters include growers, the United Farm Workers, conservative Republicans like Senator Larry E. Craig of Idaho, and Senator Dianne Feinstein, Democrat of California.
The bill would expand and streamline the existing agricultural guest-worker program and offer legal status to illegal immigrants who are experienced farmworkers. At least 70 percent of the workers in agriculture are illegal immigrants, says the Agriculture Coalition for Immigration Reform, a national trade group.
The bill’s supporters say they are looking for ways to bring it to a vote before the year’s end. In one effort last week, during the debate on financing the Department of Homeland Security, Senator Edward M. Kennedy, Democrat of Massachusetts, sought a vote on an amendment that would combine the agricultural bill and the illegal immigrant student measure, but he did not succeed.
Mr. Gomez’s case has given Washington a vivid illustration of the issues behind the illegal immigrant student measure.
An affable teenager who attracted friends at Killian High by tutoring classmates in subjects as diverse as European history and biochemistry, Mr. Gomez seemed likely to be an exceptional college candidate. A volunteer at a neighborhood homeless shelter, he often did his schoolwork on the computers of friends because his parents could not afford one.
(Page 2 of 2)
Mr. Gomez’s parents, Liliana and José Gomez, brought him and his brother, Alejandro, who is a year older than Juan, to the United States from Colombia on tourist visas in 1990. The parents stayed and started a small catering business in Miami, and the boys went to public school.
Barbara Gonzalez, a spokeswoman for Immigration and Customs Enforcement, said Mr. Gomez’s parents applied for legal status but were denied in 2002. They have been facing deportation orders since then.
Mr. Gomez, barred from applying for financial aid because of his illegal status, enrolled in a Miami community college for the fall.
“All I’m hearing now is that I’m Colombian, but I’ve never really been there,” Mr. Gomez said in a telephone interview from Miami. He said he had no memories of the country where he was born and does not speak articulate Spanish. “They are taking me from my home in America,” he said.
The family was arrested as part of a nationwide immigration agency operation to track down immigrants scheduled for deportation, agency officials said.
From the vehicle that took Mr. Gomez to an immigration detention center, he made furtive cellphone calls to his high school friends. They opened a site on Facebook to signal his plight and contacted the news media.
A week later, Mr. Gomez’s site had more than 2,000 members and seven of his friends were working the hallways on Capitol Hill.
In interviews here, friends recalled Mr. Gomez’s spurring them through a three-day sleepless marathon of studying for an Advanced Placement exam in world history.
“I truly see Juan pursuing a career that does America good,” said Andrew Dubbin, 17, a junior at Killian. “He could do anything. He’s just genuinely smart and sociable.”
On Monday, Representative Lincoln Diaz-Balart, Republican of Florida, offered a private bill to the House Judiciary Committee asking for legal resident status for Mr. Gomez and his brother. Representative Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, Republican of Florida, delivered an appeal for the brothers to the White House, and Senator Bill Nelson, Democrat of Florida, called immigration authorities.
On Wednesday, officials stayed the family’s deportation and released them for 45 days to give Congress time to consider their bill, Ms. Gonzalez, the immigration agency spokeswoman, said.
On Friday, Representative Zoe Lofgren, Democrat of California and chairwoman of the House Judiciary immigration subcommittee, will hold a meeting to consider private bills for three other illegal immigrant students facing deportation.
Ms. Lofgren said she hoped to take up Mr. Gomez’s bill after the August recess.
Wednesday, July 18, 2007
Monday, June 25, 2007
Tuesday, June 19, 2007
Saturday, June 16, 2007
I attended the National Hispanic Prayer Breakfast, hosted by Esperanza. A couple of us from the Latino Leadership Circle were there. I had the opportunity of connecting with Hispanic Clergy from around the nation and neighboring countries, to pray and act on behalf of the Hispanic Community in the United States. Of particular concern was the current Immigration Reform Bill. To our dismay the bill was almost dead when we arrived in Washington. But after much lobbying by the President, media attention, particularly Latino Radio Personality, Piolin's more that 1 million letters, our lobbying on Thursday and our prayers, the bill was resurrected. My colleague, Pastor Jose Humpheys said that "it was as if everything aligned." We felt that we were part of history as we received the news that Thursday night that the bill was back in the Senate.
President Bush made an appearance Friday morning at the Esperanza Breakfast. He expressed that Hispanic Clergy
The Esperanza Spirit Award was given to Dr. Virgilio Elizondo and to the Rev. Eldin Villafañe, Ph.D., for exemplary ministerial service. And the Esperanza Advocate Award was given to Mr. Juan Hernández and to Mr. Eddie Sotelo “Piolín” for advocacy on behalf of the Hispanic faith based community.
The Immigration reform bill is currently in the Senate and looks to be heavily amended, and rightly so, its implementation seems unclear in many cases and at least 3 million of the undocumented would be left out if it were to be implemented as is. Nevertheless, this bill represents an opportunity to set things in motion and give a path of legalization to over 12 million good and hard working members of our society. Please continue to pray for this reform.
Click here to support Comprehensive Immigration Reform
Thursday, June 7, 2007
A couple of weeks a go I was at Princeton with the Latino Leadership Circle, for a strategic retreat and on our off time we had an opportunity to walk through the campus. We came across an intriguing statue outside McCormick Hall called "Big Figures". The sculpture is composed 20 bronze figures created by Polish sculptor Magdalena Abakanowicz. The figures, which form the sculpture stand 9 feet tall and weigh 600 pounds each. Abakanowicz, who says she became “obsessed by the image of the crowd, manipulated like a brainless organism and acting like a brainless organism,” describes her work as “a sign of lasting anxiety.”
The sculpture is a great metaphor for clueless leadership. The figures are Tall and heroic looking and tall. They don the garb of public figures, like politicians, businessmen and many clergy. Their formation speaks of succession or of a historical parade of men. They look gallant and intimidating, but a vital part of their anatomy is missing, the head. I got to thinking of how easily we follow such "figures" in life. It seems that much of leadership is devoid of true direction and understanding. Abakanowicz's "Big Figures," presents us with headless leadership. As leaders are we simply headless suits and is society simply following a brainless cadre?
In Colossians 1:18 Paul, using the body as a representation of the church, says " And he [Christ] is the head of the body, the church;" The guidance of church leadership and ultimately the church itself is divine. As followers of Christ, it is Christ himself who directs us individually and who provides the "senses" to church.
If our ultimate guide is Jesus Christ (John 14:6) then we are not direction less, but heading on a clear path of life (John 10:10). I pray we don't lose our "head."
Wednesday, May 23, 2007
Check it out
Tuesday, May 22, 2007
Sunday, May 13, 2007
Saturday, May 12, 2007
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.
These moments cause me to continue unravel Jesus' mention of children in Mat.19:14
Jesus said, "Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these."
Could it be that children just by their presence have the unique ability to remind us of what the kingdom of heaven is all about, love, acceptance and faith. I wonder, could it be that our Lord was blessed as he blessed the children. Did he find love and acceptance in his busy day as children came to him? I did, and as these children hugged me I felt God's and their affirmation for me and my ministry.