They want to be leaders. Jesus has something to do with leading.

I will spend the next four Tuesday nights in Oakland with a group of immigrants from Guatemala who want to lead.  Our task together is to think about leadership in light of Jesus.

Where do they lead? If by “leader” we mean someone who shows the way for others, or someone who redefines the future, then these immigrants are already leading in multiple contexts.  Some might find it surprising to think that they lead on a global stage–even though many might consider them to be victims of globalization.  But their leadership extends beyond the local.  They lead their families who are scattered in Continue reading “They want to be leaders. Jesus has something to do with leading.”

Todos Santos Cuchumatán in Oakland, CA

A few weeks ago my student Mario invited me to the ninth birthday celebration for his church in Oakland where he is a leader in training.


The church is made up of immigrants from just one village in Guatemala:  Todos Santos Cuchumatán.

That Sunday at Iglesia Eben-Ezer, I thought about the meaning of the gospel in light of a gathering of 800 Mam speaking Christians in Oakland.  Their story signals a surprising and dramatic reversal in the direction of Christian mission and it should affect how we understand the gospel. Continue reading “Todos Santos Cuchumatán in Oakland, CA”

God Bless America.

Thursday is my favorite day of the week.

All day, I look forward to my evening class at a local seminary. I teach in Spanish to 12 hard working immigrants and we are looking at the first five books of the Bible.  I sometimes post things for my students on this site.

We use Spanish in the class, but Spanish is a second language for nearly half of us.

Five of my students learned a Mayan language from their mothers. There are 30+ Mayan Continue reading “God Bless America.”

What kind of place is Oakland?

Oakland has a reputation as a violent place.   It is interesting to stop to think about how Oakland has become associated with violence.  The label covers over lot’s of other realities about that place.  There are lots of Oakland residents who are peaceable people.   The “bad” neighborhoods are also full of peacemakers, like my student whose story I tell below.  In Oakland, as in so many places and times the lives of the poor are threatened by the violence.  At the same time the well-to-do in the hills see themselves as the victims of the violence of the flatlands.   Continue reading “What kind of place is Oakland?”