Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

The John 17:23 Network – February gathering

February 8th, 2012 by Beyth Hogue Greenetz

This month an informal gathering of The John 17:23 Network will be held on Sunday, February 11 (this coming Sunday), 7pm at Elmer‚Äôs (the Delta Park location ‚Äď 9848 N. Whitaker Rd.). Bob Wall will be sharing about his experiences diving into the work of gang prevention communities in Portland.

 

Please plan to join us for this informal coffee gathering. We’ll resume our regular formal gatherings next month, on March 11.

 

Since we’re gathering for coffee this month, here’s some food for thought: One in Christ or Coffee?

The John 17:23 Network – January gathering

January 3rd, 2012 by Beyth Hogue Greenetz

There will NOT be a gathering of The John 17:23 Network on Sunday, January 8 as had been indicated in some places. In lieu of that meeting, we would like to encourage those in the network to attend this event…

On Sunday, January 22 from 2 ‚Äď 3:30pm at the Hollywood Library (4040 NE Tillamook in Portland), The Conversation Project will be hosting a talk with PSU Professor Walidah Imarisha entitled ‚ÄúWhy Aren‚Äôt There More Blacks in Oregon?‚ÄĚ Have you ever wondered why the Black population in Oregon is so small? Oregon has a history not only of Black exclusion and discrimination, but also of a vibrant Black culture that helped sustain many communities throughout the state‚ÄĒa history that is not taught in schools. Portland State University adjunct professor Walidah Imarisha will lead participants through an interactive timeline of Black history in Oregon and will also discuss how history, politics, and culture have shaped‚ÄĒand will continue to shape‚ÄĒthe landscape for Black Oregonians.

This event is free and open to the public.

Why Aren’t There More Black People in Oregon?

December 21st, 2011 by Beyth Hogue Greenetz

On Sunday, January 22 from 2 – 3:30pm at the Hollywood Library (4040 NE Tillamook in Portland), The Conversation Project will be hosting a talk with PSU Professor Walidah Imarisha entitled “Why Aren’t There More Blacks in Oregon?” Have you ever wondered why the Black population in Oregon is so small? Oregon has a history not only of Black exclusion and discrimination, but also of a vibrant Black culture that helped sustain many communities throughout the state‚ÄĒa history that is not taught in schools. Portland State University adjunct professor Walidah Imarisha will lead participants through an interactive timeline of Black history in Oregon and will also discuss how history, politics, and culture have shaped‚ÄĒand will continue to shape‚ÄĒthe landscape for Black Oregonians.

This event is free and open to the public.

The John 17:23 Network – December gathering

December 8th, 2011 by Beyth Hogue Greenetz

The John 17:23 Network exists to encourage, exhort, and equip the multi-ethnic Body of Christ in the greater Portland area to fulfill Jesus’ prayer that we might all be one. We will be meeting on December 11 from 7 – 8:30pm at Daniels Memorial Church Of God In Christ (1234 NE Killingsworth St. in Portland). You are invited to attend this gathering, which will include a remembrance of gang prevention activist Rob Ingram and prayer for ministries working in the midst of gang violence and related issues in the Portland area. These events, sponsored by The John 17:23 Network in partnership with The Institute for the Theology of Culture: New Wine, New Wineskins, are a sustained effort to become more aware of and engage issues of gang violence.

Urban Renewal, Negro Removal

October 7th, 2011 by Paul Louis Metzger

Back in May of this year, I posted on Facebook and wrote, “A sobering, disturbing, significant article. While gentrification is a complex reality, we must work diligently to partner with vulnerable communities so that they are not displaced/replaced.”¬† The article itself begins with the words, “Portland, already the whitest major city in the country, has become whiter at its core even as surrounding areas have grown more diverse…Nearly 10,000 people of color, mostly African Americans, also moved out. They moved to the city’s eastern edges, where sidewalks, grocery stores and access to public transit is limited.”

One of my Facebook friends¬†wrote, “Help me understand what white people are doing wrong, Paul. (I don’t like looking at things with ‘color’ in mind to begin with‚ÄĒisn’t this more a basic issue of economics?) If they move out to the suburbs it’s bad. If they live in the inner city it’s bad. What is the problem and what solutions do you propose?”¬† These are great questions.

I intended to respond in May, but then my Dad passed away.¬† I have not had the opportunity or emotional strength to write this piece until now.¬†¬†I would like to begin with remarks made by Paul Kurth, who also wrote me in May in response to my post.¬† Paul is a designer at a Portland architecture firm.¬† Paul argued, “Architecturally, the city is an evolving organism and must change to survive‚ÄĒsome buildings and neighborhoods get worn out and need to be fixed, but after reconstruction the neighborhood isn’t the same because it’s hard to make new buildings affordable without subsidies. Good city planning mixes uses and income levels. Affordable housing should be built alongside the more expensive homes. The segregation of higher income areas (the Pearl District) isn’t helping to ease economic tensions/imbalance. It’s up to the people who have the means and choice to make changes to integrate their own lives with people who are different than themselves and don’t have many choices.”

Sometimes we don’t determine to integrate our lives with people who are different¬†because of lack of bandwidth and/or interest.¬† Sometimes we aren’t even aware of gentrification’s evolution and negative impact on some vulnerable (yet resilient) communities.¬† But if we are really about community, we must be diligent to diversify.¬† While people are often well-intentioned who claim that we should not look at things with color in mind, the lack of awareness of color is problematic for various reasons.¬† For one, we are not color blind; nor should we be.¬† Attention to color is attentiveness to¬†the richness of cultural diversity.¬† Moreover, we often associate with those who are most like us.¬† So, if we are not intentional, we will not engage those who are of different ethnic backgrounds, especially when they belong to a different economic demographic.¬† And in America, race and class issues often track with one another historically and presently.¬† While I appreciate people’s desire to be color blind in the sense of not prejudging people, we must be intentional and see people for who they are in the fullness of their ethnic and cultural identity, including the color of their skin, though not exclusively so.¬† Moreover, given how racial profiling often occurs today in unimaginable ways (such as the racial profiling of a student I know in Portland by a white police officer last spring), we would be blind to injustices if we sought to be blind to matters pertaining to the color of one’s skin.

Back to my Facebook friend’s concerns.¬† I have no problem with people of diverse ethnicities moving into or out of Portland’s heart.¬† What I have problems with is when it is against their will.¬† There used to be a thriving African American community in¬†what is now the Rose Quarter.¬† Then the community was displaced to Northeast Portland as a result of city planning endeavors.¬† I doubt if city planners would ever restructure thriving affluent communities on the Northwest side of town for whatever the reason, if such restructuring would threaten to displace them.¬† Given the recent migration of young Bohemians¬†with bistros and¬†art studios¬†to Northeast Portland, African Americans¬†living there have been displaced to places like Gresham and Beaverton.

My friend Robert Wall, a former Portland government official, reflects on Portland‚Äôs patterns of gentrification: ‚ÄúIn most of these cases the driving force is the planning process without the incentives to remain.¬† I find it interesting that in almost every redevelopment there are huge profits made. Most of these profits are funded by the set aside tax dollars paid by the land owners prior to the redevelopment. So, in part we have a planning problem and a greed problem that adds up to racial discrimination. It used to be called red-lining. Now it’s mainly green-lining (of someone else’s pocket).‚Ä̬† Mr. Wall maintains that whenever a few people benefit economically from decisions that they know negatively impact many, it is greed.¬† Doesn‚Äôt that sound like greed to you?

The African American church has been significantly impacted by this trend.  So, what can be done?

Sister churches of diverse ethnicity can partner with them to minister effectively in their increasingly diverse context by working with African American pastors and congregations to reach out in these increasingly diverse settings.  This may include doing service projects together in the community, or sending a team of people to the churches in the historically African American community who would become members of those African American churches.

Moreover, one can work with one’s neighbors to keep the community intact.¬† A¬†friend of mine who lives in Northeast Portland worked with his neighbors to make sure that one family would not have to move when the cost of living and taxes rose.¬† That family switched houses with another family: the family who could no longer afford their house moved into their neighbors’ house that was more affordable, and those¬†neighbors moved into theirs, which they were able to afford.¬† While this is not often possible for a variety of reasons, it¬†became reality for this neighborhood.

It is also important to be in contact with one’s city commissioner and one’s neighborhood association, advocating for equality and diversity.¬† When neighbors partner together in this way, the possibility exists that unjust forms of gentrification will occur less often.

It is also critical that we make ourselves aware of past and present tensions.¬† One reason why Portland’s central city is so white is because it was intended to be so historically, as one African American pastor reasoned with me recently.¬† A friend who teaches urban studies at a local university informed me that for many African Americans urban renewal is Negro removal.¬† He often cites the expansion of Emmanuel Hospital in the 1970s as one such example (See discussion on this expansion and its impact).¬† Moreover, red lining along with city developments historically in thriving African American sections of town along with laws on the books in Oregon and Portland in days gone by certainly made it extremely¬†difficult for African Americans to live in Portland and Oregon generally.¬† The impact of those decisions is still felt in the city, even though those laws are no longer in place.¬† With this long-standing impact in mind, we¬†need to restructure our laws and neighborhoods so that people of diverse ethnicities will feel more welcome and their businesses can survive and thrive.¬†(See one recent proposal).¬† Cities and states offer such benefits for thriving companies to move to their regions.¬† The same kinds of incentives should be offered to those communities and businesses that have been impacted negatively from various¬†forms of gentrification and urban renewal.¬† While some might take the following statement by an African American business woman in Northeast Portland¬†for sour grapes, I take it to be more in keeping with what occurred to the migrants in Steinbeck’s Grapes of Wrath, albeit in a less overt and more subtle manner: “A black person’s¬†property has no value until a white person owns it.”¬† It’s so easy to try and deny her view¬†when one is white.¬† But one cannot deny her experience, if one has not lived in her shoes.

This point on experience and interpretation of events also calls to mind the statement made at a public gathering in one Northeast Portland neighborhood a few years ago.¬† A group of young white business owners of cafes and bistros and other such shops were meeting to protest the impending attempt of Starbucks to enter the neighborhood.¬† Those gathered there were recent transplants, and they were afraid that Starbucks would hurt their businesses.¬† It was almost as if they were saying, “A small business owner’s property has no value until Starbucks owns it.”¬† One African American man standing in the back during the gathering finally spoke up and said something to the effect, “To the traditional community (African American), you are the Starbucks.”¬† So, it is.¬† I often am.¬† So, now that I know that I am will I become more sensitive, as Starbucks has been known to do in many cases, or will I keep on¬†pouring lattes laced with opium¬†for the¬†masses?

Upcoming Events in Portland

March 25th, 2010 by Bryan Dormaier

In early April, Drs. John M. Perkins and Paul Louis Metzger will be teaming up to speak at a handful of events in the Portland area.

Friday, April 9th An Evening of Inspiration: Breaking Down Barriers
Location: Emmanuel Temple Church
Drs. Perkins and Metzger will speak in this introductory event for the Saturday New Wine New Wineskins conference.
Link: Go here for more information

Saturday, April 10th New Wine New Wineskins Conference – Owning the Pond Together: Developing Communities through Entrepreneurship
Location:
Eastside Foursquare Church
The New Wine spring conference will feature keynote addresses from Dr. John M. Perkins, Dr. Paul Louis Metzger and Pastor Eric Bahme and and idea party hosted by Tony Kriz. Drs. Perkins and Metzger and Pastor Eric Bahme will assist us in understanding the key role of entrepreneurship and micro-enterprise as it relates to community development.
Link: For more information and to register, click here

Sunday, April 11th An Evening of Prayerful Repentance and Reconciliation
Location: Allen Temple CME Church
As a part of their Drum Majors for Love, Truth and Justice partnership, Drs. Perkins and Metzger will join Dr. Leroy Haynes Jr. to lead a focused time of seeking God’s transformation of the broken relational structures that have erected barriers between the white church and African-American church.
Link: Invitation from Dr. Metzger

Duke Summer Institute: Ministry of Reconciliation in a Divided World

March 25th, 2010 by Bryan Dormaier

We’re excited to tell you about the 2010 Duke Divinity School Summer Institute (presented by the Duke Center for Reconciliation), ‚ÄúThe Ministry of Reconciliation in a Divided World‚ÄĚ will be held May 31 ‚Äď June 5th. It will be five days of reflection, formation, renewal and going deep for Christian leaders.

The Duke Summer Institute is not a conference for the many but a learning space limited to 200 Christian leaders to go deep. Over five days of renewal and learning with Christian leaders from across the U.S. and world ‚Äď through worship, shared meals, plenary sessions, and in-depth cohorts ‚Äď you will be led by world-class theologians and practitioners of reconciliation and justice ministry. In 2009 there were participants from 23 states and 7 countries. Your fellow participants this summer will include a cohort from east Africa, senior leadership teams from national organizations, several groups from cities and Christian colleges and universities, and leaders from the grassroots to churches to national and international organizations as well as lay Christians concerned about their families, communities and places of worship, work, and life. Scholarships are available through April 9th. Applications will be accepted online through May 7th. Click¬†here for more information and to apply.