CAPC Oakland

News, Connections and Photos from the life of the faith community at CAPC Oakland

Public Theology : February Actions :: Fat Tuesday, Unplugging and More


Public Theology


We’ve talked in our church about starting a Public Theology Group which would discuss and develop ways in which we can engage our larger community theologically in terms of political discourse, social action, civil rights and a spiritual presence.  Many members expressed interest in such a group which would grow organically from our community discerned hopes, priorities and energy.


Here are two ideas that Monte is throwing out as potential ways to begin and foster such a spiritual disciplined group.  Take a read and leave a comment if you’re interested, intrigued or have thoughts….




Fat Tuesday  | Pancake Tuesday | February 28th

We traditionally do a family friendly pancake dinner on Mardi Gras (also known as Fat Tuesday and Shrove Tuesday).  This year that’s Tuesday, February 28th.  It’s an old tradition, a way to eat up all of the fat, butter and lard, and syruppy sugar in your house before the beginning of Lent (the next day).  In the past we’ve raised a bit of money from this event, focusing first and foremost on good clean fun and creating community connections.  Any profits have been given to our weekly free hot dinner program (The Friday Night Meal).


This year we could open the event to reflect our current societal situation and address it both theologically and practically.  Mardi Gras is about freedom, anticipation, community.  So why not change the evening, maintaining the good clean family friendly fun of pancakes and pancakes games, to also include some sort of community organizing and/or action around the question of immigration and refugee status.   This could involve several possible things:

  1.  Speakers (to be brief) to educate about the situation and possible action.  This could include a local immigration lawyer (we have some connected to our church community!).  It could include local organizing groups already working on  the issue, such as Oakland Community Organizing [OCO].  It could include local faith communities on the front lines of this work such as Primera Iglesia Presbiteriana Hispana de Oakland (with whom we already have a sister church relationship through ESL partnership).
  2. Action.  We could have tables, inviting groups, such a immigration lawyers, PIPH, OCO, maybe even OUSD in terms of their students, etc. to have tables with educational materials, and personal contacts for going farther.
  3. Be a safe place for educating our children. Create a kid-friendly and kid-empowering space in which to talk about immigration and refugees in our own city.
  4. Raise Funds.  It could be a fundraising event, we could change the way we have asked for donations to cover the costs of food, to donation based explaining how much the meal cost and how folks can give.  The donations could go to a local group…..OCO, PIPH, or another immigrant empowering, refugee-accompanying group.  We could decide in advance, or even vote as a gathered community on the night of the event to allocate the money we raise.


See photos of past years’ events HERE.



National Day of Unplugging | Friday, March 3rd – Saturday, March 4th


What is it?
Do you have multiple cell phones? Take your ipad to the beach on vacation? Ever find it hard to get through a conversation without posting an update to Facebook? Is your computer always on?
We increasingly miss out on the important moments of our lives as we pass the hours with our noses buried in our phones, chronicling our every move through social media and shielding ourselves from the outside world with the bubble of “silence” that our earphones create.
If you recognize that in yourself – or your friends, families or colleagues— join us for the National Day of Unplugging, sign the Unplug pledge and start living a different life: connect with the people in your street, neighborhood and city, have an uninterrupted meal or read a book to your child.
The National Day of Unplugging is a 24 hour period – running from sundown to sundown – and starts on the first Friday in March. The project is an outgrowth of The Sabbath Manifesto, an adaption of our ancestors’ ritual of carving out one day per week to unwind, unplug, relax, reflect, get outdoors, and connect with loved ones.


Who’s originally behind this?

The National Day of Unplugging is a project of Reboot, an organization aiming to affirms the value of Jewish traditions and creates new ways for people to make them their own. The national day of Unplugging grew out of both a commitment to celebrating the sabbath, and also encouraging others to unplug to reconnect with other people, life and God in the midst of our hyper-connected, always on yet incredibly isolating technological society.


Learn more at their official site:

Why should we connect with it?

We all recognize the monopolizing power of technology and social media in our lives. While it increases productivity and efficiency, it also creates bubbles, silos of thoughts, feelings of isolation and insecurity, online bullying. It’s both a beautiful tool and can be a dehumanizing weapon that we serve rather than it serving us.


This is recognized not just by religious people, but increasingly by everyone in our society. We might deepen our observation of this technological sabbath and empower others to reconnect with their communities, or find new ones, through


  • educating people about this event and the potential of unplugging as a spiritual practice
  • hosting an unplugging event
  • getting others to take the unplugging pledge
  • engaging our larger community with the topic of discussion with a booth/table at the BART station in Rockdridge, or in front of the church the week before the event, possibly even including the sleeping bags they mention….
  • provide other resources
  • possibly create a local online education drive to post the week prior to the electronic sabbath
  • hosting tech-free “sabbath” dinners in homes of our church community for one another
  • creating collaborative relationships with other religious communities, and/or local non-profits




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This entry was posted on February 1, 2017 by in Public Theology, Serve.
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