Focus on Love

Interesting — during the most divided time nationally that I have seen in my lifetime, locally I see people working together. Nationally, politics are ugly and people seem so divided. But I attended two events today that made me feel pretty good about our local community and some of the good work being done. 
In the morning I attended a meeting of CASP (Community Alliance for Safety and Peace). This alliance is made up of pastors, social service organizations, school officials, law enforcement, and city officials. It was founded to try to reduce violence in Salinas. Our police chief, Adele Frese spoke to us and reported that violent crimes and homicides are down. She spoke of the new focus of community policing. This is all about building relationships in the community and seeing the community as partners in prevention and solving crime. There is also an officer who is now assigned to work with the homeless. I left this meeting feeling inspired and enthusiastic about our community and the way people work together and support each other.
At noon I went to a faith leaders lunch with the mayor. This was simply a chance for local pastors to meet the mayor and for him to thank the pastors for the work they are all doing throughout Salinas with youth, gang prevention, recovery groups, homeless ministry, and in many other ways. I would not agree with many of these pastors on theological fine points and would probably find myself on the opposite side of many of the social issues that are tearing the country apart. But on love for Salinas and making it a stronger community we could all agree and appreciate each other. 
There is a lesson here. Focus on love for community and country, know that there will be strong disagreements, but work together wherever you can on making life better for everybody. Insist that our leaders serve the common good and not their own egos. I see this in Salinas and that gives me hope. 
In service,

“The Soloist.”

Last week I was given tickets to hear Steve Lopez speak at the Hyatt in Monterey. Steve Lopez is a columnist with the LA Times. Several years ago he met a homeless man in a park playing a violin with two strings.He was looking for something to write about, so he struck up a friendship. This led to a book and then a movie called “The Soloist.” Lopez has a deep and compassionate understanding of homelessness and mental illness. Listening to Lopez renewed my commitment to the work that we do through The Neighborhood Services Center. 
I thought it might make for a meaningful evening to have a movie night and watch the movie, “The Soloist” and then discuss it. Soup Supper is next Thursday, February 7, at 6:00 PM. Come and see “The Soloist.” 
By the way, we still need two or three pots of soup. Give me a call or send me an email if you can bring soup. 
By the way, the Steve Lopez speech was a fund raiser for Interim Inc. Interim does incredible work with the homeless mentally ill in Monterey County. The Neighborhood Services Center benefits from having a couple of Interim Social Workers with us five days a week. This has added so much to what we can offer in the way of assistance to those in need. 

Pastor Steve Lundin