Tag: church

Sketch 47

The biggest thing I did this past weekend was my trip to Phoenix.  Besides dinner at Pizzeria Bianco, it was a pretty low key visit.  I did go to church with my friend and her family on Sunday morning.  It was a non-denominational style church (though technically they have a denomination of some sort apparently).  The guy giving the sermon referenced the fast spreading coffee chain “Dutch Brothers” from Oregon.  He had gone there while in Oregon for a funeral.  He used the enthusiasm of the employees he encountered at Dutch Brothers as a good example of how we could be a “REP” for Jesus.  I found it a little amusing, because a bunch of my friends referred to the Dutch Brothers employees as “coffee tweakers” because they always seemed to be way hopped up on caffeine.  Other than that, I found the service mainly fluff, with little substance.  Basically, Jesus is cool and we are cool cuz we love Jesus.

Last night, a friend and I went and saw Spring Awakening at the Ahmanson Theatre here in LA.  It was the big musical winner at the 2007 Tony awards.  From wikipedia: “The musical is based on the controversial 1891 German play of the same title by Frank Wedekind. Set in late-nineteenth century Germany, it concerns teenagers who are discovering the inner and outer tumult of sexuality. The original play was banned in Germany due to its portrayal of masturbation, abortion, rape and suicide.”  I thought the musical was enjoyable, and it was nice to dress up and see a show.

I’m still not really sure what I’ll be doing for Thanksgiving.  Perhaps a smallish dinner at home with a friend or two.  Perhaps nothing.  Who knows.

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Sketch 28

Despite not really having any money, I’ve had a decent enough week.

Tuesday through Thursday of last week, I had a short-term temp assignment at the corporate offices of the Metro YMCA.  It was a nice little break from the joblessness, and its especially nice to have some money coming in this week.

Saturday, I went for a short hike in Topanga State Park.  On the way back out of the park, I even hiked barefoot for awhile.  It was nice.  When I got home, I took the bus downtown to catch the evenings show at Grand Performances series at the California Plaza.  The artist was Rachid Taha a French-Algerian artist, most famous in the US for a Arabic version of The Clash’s Rock the Casbah.  There was a small dance area, packed to the brim, with many French and Arabic speakers around.  I had a blast dancing.

Sunday, I went on a hike with Progressive Christians Uniting in the San Gabriel Mountains.  We went up to a spot on the San Gabriel River, that is quite popular with the latino population of the San Gabriel Valley cities.  The sections alongside the road are a bit overused.  We hiked aways down a trail towards the wilderness area, and were eventually able to find some space without other people.  We even took a little dip in the river, which was really nice on a warm and relatively humid day.

I’m officially helping out with the 10:15 service at church now.  I’m still not that sure how I feel about church in general, but I do like this service…and its nice to be helping make it happen.  I’m in charge of making sure things are set-up before the service this coming Sunday.

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Sketch 26

The end of my friends visit was punctuated by a little freaking out about my lack of job and money in my bank accounts.  I placed a call into the Diocesan’s insurance administrator to check the status of my unemployment benefits application, and was told that they only cut checks once a month and that is around the 15th of the month.  So it would mean that I wouldn’t get a check until mid-July.  Thankfully on Thursday (the 26th), a check arrived with my first payment (which was backdated to include everything from my last day of work (May 15th).  That took a big weight off my shoulders for sure.

I signed up at a temp agency downtown.  They have mentioned a few opportunities, but I haven’t been sent out on anything yet.  The person there did give me some resume tips…so I’ve made some updates and plan on bringing them in Monday after the long holiday weekend.

I saw the movie Wanted, on Friday.  It is directed by the same director as the Russian films Nightwatch and Daywatch.  It was pretty enjoyable, lots of action, a cool car chase, and fun with trains.  Its not going to win any major awards or anything…but it was fun and worth the $14 (gotta love weekend movie pricing in LA).  The car chase almost overtook my previous favorite car chase in a movie (Ronin Car Chase), but its more special effect created, while the Ronin chase was just driving. (Wanted Car Chase Part 1, Part 2)

Other than that, it was a pretty slow week.  Still trying to be frugal with the funds, trying to read, trying to spend time at the beach avoiding the heat.  I got to do the prayers of the people at church on Sunday.  That was cool, my first involvement in a church service since finishing at Canterbury.  I’m really liking the new 10:15 service.  Its keeping me at Beverly Hills right now.  I might be getting more involved with this service in the near future.

…and wow, the year is half over.

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Sketch 21

Things are going pretty well these days.  I’m really happy with my job at the coffee shop.  I’m really happy with my new apartment and roommate.  Mainly, I’m just pretty happy at the moment.

Last Friday I saw the new Indiana Jones movie.  I won’t say much about the movie, but its Indy and cheesy…but fun.  I met up with a bunch of people I didn’t know to see the movie.  My connection was the friend of one of my old middle/high school friends.  We met at a restaurant called the Hungry Cat, which is right around the corner from the Arclight.  I only had a cocktail, which was good, but also $12.  Welcome to Hollywood.

Saturday was a pretty lazy day.  I did some reading, watched a movie at home, and pretty much nothing else.  Sunday was more of the same, except for church and buying groceries.  I’ve been going to this new service at church.  It’s cool, its an alternative eucharist, that looks nothing like the service from the prayer book.  I like the service itself, and the people leading it, but…I think I realized whats been missing for me at Beverly Hills.  I just don’t feel connected to the church community.  I’m sure some of that is my own fault (and how busy I was during the school year), but still its just not working for me at the moment.  I’m thinking that I’m going to check out Pasadena sometime soon.  Since I already have some friends going there, maybe I’ll be able to connect easier.

Monday was a pretty full day.  I walked over to Sunset and Vine to have a late brunch with a friend.  It took about a half hour, a doable walk, but probably better as a bike ride.  We went to The Waffle, a newish upscale diner.  I wasn’t really that impressed.  The staff/management wasn’t prepared for a busy day (it was Memorial Day), so they were all a little frazzled.  The waffles weren’t that exciting and the portions were pretty small for being over $10.  If they had been in the $5-7 range, it would have been ok.  After, brunch I went to the beach for a little bit to read.  I didn’t end up staying terribly long, because it was pretty windy and the tempature started dropping after 5pm.  Later on, a friend came over to see the new apartment.  We hung out and watched movies and drank wine.  It was nice and relaxing.

Yesterday I was pretty excited to be able to work.  I know…crazy…I was excited to work.  While I was at work, my roommate texted and let me know she was having some folks over for dinner and asked if I wanted to join.  So our first dinner party happened pretty impromtu like.  It was great.  Good food, good conversations, good time (and yes more wine).  One of the guys who stopped by was a professional hula hooper.  Now that is a niche job.

Did I mention that I’m happy?

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Sketch 16

Ahh…a little late with the weekly post yet again.

Last weekend, I went on the spring retreat with the Faith Activism Collective.  It was really nice getting out of the city and going to this rustic camp setting.  The retreat involved an approx. 4.5 mile hike into Sturtevant Camp in the Big Santa Anita Canyon.  Sturtevant camp is a hold over from the glory days of the hiking resorts in the San Gabriel Mountains (which were popular in the 1900’s to about the first world war).  So basically most modern technology was left behind (though the camp did have such amenities as electricity and heated cabins).  There were just under 20 of us there for the weekend.  It was a great time for me to relax, and be in a place where I didn’t feel so weird about my doubts about the church.  Each night ended with some acoustic karaoke/sing alongs.  Popular where 80s hits like Hungry Like a Wolf, Here I Go Again, Livin On a Prayer, Like A Prayer…and a rendition of Young MC’s Bust a Move with yours truly rapping.  Oh dear.

It seems I’ve got a part-time gig as a barista to fall back upon when my job is essentially over next week.  I’ll need something else to survive financially…but its a start right?

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Sketch 12

Its the end of the month, and that inevitably means a late weekly post.  Work of course has been incredibly busy, with the monthly MiX event and the upcoming Prov Gathering happening at the same time.  I’m behind in my job search, which is to say, I’ve only applied for one job and never heard back.  I’ve basically got a month to find a new job.  Yikes!

Easter was ok.  As I said in my last post, I didn’t really enjoy the Maundy Thursday service at Beverly Hills.  I missed the Good Friday service at Beverly Hills, because I thought I had to work (which I found out I didn’t 3 hours after the Good Friday service).  I ended up not going to one of the evening options for Good Friday, because I wasn’t feeling well after eating too much pizza while watching basketball in the afternoon.  The Easter service was pretty good though.  It was a little long for my sore back (I had pinched a nerve or something, somehow).  After service, I drove out to Pasadena and met the Canterbury Group for Easter Brunch.  So I at least got a Easter dinner of sorts as well.

I’m off to Salt Lake City for the annual Province VIII Gathering for Ministry in Higher Ed this weekend.  It’ll be nice to get out of the smog of LA.  It may even snow in Salt Lake City.

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Politics and Religion

I knew a little about this back in 2004 when it first came up, on Crooks and Lairs today there is a piece about the IRS investigation of All Saint’s Episcopal Church in Pasadena, CA.  Why Doesn’t the IRS Investigate James Dobson?  Basically a former rector of the parish delivered an anti-war sermon a couple of days before the 2004 elections.  Not long after that the IRS came knocking threating to revoke the parish’s tax exempt status.  The reason: The Rev. George Regas’ sermon was seen as “endorsing or campaigning against a candidate in an election.”

So why isn’t organizations like James Dobson’s Focus on the Family being threatened with revocation of tax-exempt status?  Many of the “christian right” groups are activively campaigning for and against candidates.  Yet few of these groups are being investigated for violations of the tax code.

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Maundy Thursday

I feel such a visceral connection to the services of holy week.  None more so than maundy thursday service though.  I would like my life to mirror the prinicples of the Maundy Thursday service.

And during supper Jesus, knowing that the Father had given all things into his hands, and that he had come from God and was going to God, got up from the table, took off his outer robe, and tied a towel around himself. Then he poured water into a basin and began to wash the disciples’ feet and to wipe them with the towel that was tied around him. He came to Simon Peter, who said to him, “Lord, are you going to wash my feet?” Jesus answered, “You do not know now what I am doing, but later you will understand.” Peter said to him, “You will never wash my feet.” Jesus answered, “Unless I wash you, you have no share with me.” Simon Peter said to him, “Lord, not my feet only but also my hands and my head!” Jesus said to him, “One who has bathed does not need to wash, except for the feet, but is entirely clean.

 When we are down on our knees, washing anothers feet, we are completely vulnerable.  But more importantly we are in service to them, humbling ourselves to them.  It is something I always want to be concious of, being humble and in service to all around me.

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