Saturday, August 30, 2008

More Stories From Turley, Part Two

I like to balance the commentary here with some actual reports from the ground. More Stories from Turley, part two:

on Tuesday night we were featured in the news by Tulsa Channel 6 news for our efforts to get people to vote on Election Day yesterday. We live in the area with the worst voter turnout in the County, and that doesn't count those who don't register. We have on a good turnout day about 30 percent of registered voters going to the polls compared to some 67 percent in the south tulsa precincts and in the wealthier suburbs. And in an election like yesterday's the turnout is barely a blip. Lots of reasons for this as we told the TV news people (no access to information, or limited access, means people don't feel they know enough to vote, plus apathy, plus cynicism, etc.) And yet yesterday was national women's rights day celebrating women getting the right to vote, and in our area we also have 66 percent African Americans who have historically been oppressed in voting rights, and so we need to focus on voting responsibilities now. It is a deeply faithful and spiritual matter. It holds up one of our core principles that everyone is a child of God and worthy. The welcome table of Jesus is also part of the government participation process and all need to be encouraged to feast and celebrate. And this includes the many felons in our area; and will be the focus of a project here through our area this Fall heading into November's elections; many people think felons can't vote, but they can if they meet some time requirements. The news crew took a picture of the sign we had out front of A Third Place yesterday--it said on one side, Vote Today Celebrate Democracy, and on the other side it said Thank You Candidates Vote Today. I couldn't find any video posted on the website but if you find it let me know and let them know you appreciate their coverage of our efforts.

Church gathering tonight and each Wednesday from 6 to 8 p.m.--ish, the all important "ish" of the organic church; personal spiritual check-ins during conversation; planning for a spiritual retreat; and more....Be thinking of the topics you want to cover, the lectures you want to bring to Turley, this year.

This past Saturday's big event with the Univ. of Okla. was wonderful. About 100 people showed up for free dinner, kids area, a local farmers market, booths and information on Turley volunteer opportunities, chances to sign petitions, and to see a video made about the treasures of the Turley area, plus three bands---gospel, bluegrass, and rhythm and blues. We continue to raise the Spirit around us.

Coming up: Tuesday, September 9, community and public gardening projects, 7 p.m. at the Center. Keeping going with our projects at the school and businesses and the Center and also starting a welcoming bed at O'Brien Recreation Center. Let Turley Bloom.

Saturday, Sept. 13 big day of events. community breakfast at the odd fellow lodge, followed by our random acts of kindness events from 10-noon, followed by volunteer orientation session at the Center, and then that evening at 7 p.m. continuing a monthly free music series for residents in our area. This time featuring Turley resident Johnny Cervantes and his Johnny and the Oklahomans classic country band playing music of Bob Wills Hank Williams and others. If you know of others who would like to be a part of providing this service of spirited entertainment where none exists in our larger area, have them contact me.

We are setting up our A Third Place meetings and deciding those, as well as planning our first A Third Place Volunteer Appreciation Dinner. September will be a watershed month for events that will help us to keep going and growing.

Everyday at the Center lots more going on. We have worked to finish putting the final touches on the health clinic that is now inside in our building, and we have upgraded the free internet center and we continue to expand our free meals with a new additional refrigerator donation, and we have gotten a thank you card from Cherokee school for our help and donations of clothes and more for the children there; continue to bring kleenex, clorox wipes too. More and more people are becoming owners of the Center and keeping it open and helping out one another and all those who happen by or come in. After Labor Day and as it gets a little cooler and people feel like getting out and walking more during the day I think we will see even more come by. And we are looking at possible larger buildings already for possible purchases and renovation to help our area. Stay tuned, or better yet, come by and catch the Spirit.

In all of this, and as we plan ways to continue becoming more a part of the community in order to transform the community, we are freeing the spirits that have lain dormant for so long within us as well as others, and through it all we are simply being the kind of leadership we want to see spring up in others who will begin projects right around their own neighborhoods and in their own churches. This coming second year through church as a community center is going to be full of even bigger dreams, bigger failures, bigger hopes. We are getting ready to get started now to plan a renewal of a community spirit parade in Turley for next September. We have our big Halloween party just around the corner in October.

Leadership is about simply being present with a mission mind-set, living out moment to moment the kind of core values that you wish to see spread to others, and looking for ways to celebrate, connect, celebrate. That's the Jesus way; no fancy programs in it you have to attend, no workshops or classes; become embodied with the spirit of Jesus that everywhere he went good things happened and greater things were even done by others in his spirit after him, as he said. And sometimes, oftentimes, don't forget to just sit back and Enjoy The Show.

blessings, RonType rest of the post here