Three good books and a query: Is it SPIJE not SPICE?

I've recently read three interesting books in a row:
  1. A New Kind of Christianity, Brian McLaren

  2. If the Church Were Christian, Phillip Gulley

  3. The Case for God, Karen Armstrong
I'd recommend reading all three of them, at least for my Quaker friends and anyone who identifies as "spiritual but not religious." All three authors are doing their best to come up with or describe religion that encompasses the spirituality of compassion, love, and grace as foremost.

The McLaren and Gulley books are about praxis, how to form a new kind of church that would actually embody the values of Jesus, instead of just talking about him. Armstrong's is about history—understanding how we got "here," a world where many people identify religion with fundamentalism and dismiss it altogether, and where many others identify their religious truth as the only true truth and dismiss everyone else.

I hope to take time to write more, especially about the praxis books. However, my nightstand now has on it Diana Butler Bass's A People's History of Christianity, and it's beckoning to me, more than three months after Robin M. gave it to me. (In between the food pantry debut, a baseball game, Quaker Heritage Day tomorrow, and meeting for business on Sunday, it's simply going to have to wait just a little bit longer for my attention.)

One brief note from Gulley's book: He lists the desirable testimonies of a congregation as being simplicity, peace, integrity, justice, and equality—which you can abbreviate as SPIJE. I like this as an alternative to the mnemonic of "the" Quaker testimonies of simplicity, peace, integrity, community, and equality, which are an extension of something Howard Brinton originally synthesized in Quakers for 300 Years. (Here's an old post I wrote in 2006 about doing a workshop on the "SPICES" testimonies—the extra S is for Stewardship.)


News: Food Pantry and an Op Ed in the Merc

First news item: The neighborhood food pantry starts this Saturday, 4/10/2010, at the San Francisco Friends Meetinghouse, 65 9th Street, between Mission & Market Streets, San Francisco. Volunteers will arrive at 11 to sort food and set it on tables in a farmers market style. This is the SF Food Bank's preferred form of distribution, so that participants can select the items they want rather than take whatever is in a bag or a box. Distribution begins at 12:30 and is open to the first 50 people who arrive.

Second news item: The 4/8/2010 issue of the San Jose Mercury News is carrying an op ed piece I wrote about a housing issue here in the SF Bay Area -- the issue being the lack thereof. Despite the economic downturn, there is a real need for more affordable homes, especially for working families.

One newly built development, Trestle Glen at the Colma BART station, had 1,500 applicants for 119 affordable apartments. (Trestle Glen's grand opening will be a featured event during Affordable Housing Week in San Mateo County, May 8-15.)

Here is the link to the Mercury News article: Court ruling points up Bay Area's housing challenge