Wednesday, August 31, 2005

prayer day announced, calling on intercessor's

photo courtesy of bbc news

from the governor of louisana's office:

"Governor Blanco Announces Day of Prayer

"As we face the devastation wrought by Katrina, as we search for those in need, as we comfort those in pain and as we begin the long task of rebuilding, we turn to God for strength, hope and comfort.

"I have declared August 31, 2005, a Day of Prayer in the State of Louisiana.

"I am asking that all of Louisiana take some time Wednesday to pray. Pray for the victims and the rescuers. Please pray that God give us all the physical and spiritual strength to work through this crisis and rebuild.

"Please pray for patience for those anxiously waiting to hear from family members or to get word about their homes. Pray for the safety of our hard-working rescuers and those they are bringing to safety.

"I know, by praying together on Wednesday, that we can pull together and draw strength we need; strength, that only God can give us.

"In my prayers, I will also thank God for the strong and resilient people of this state and how they are working to meet this challenge."

here is the latest on katrina's aftermath from aol.

death, damage and choas continue

photo from bbc news

reuters lastest news begins like this, "Hellish scenes of death, damage, and chaos wracked the U.S. Gulf Coast on Wednesday as overwhelmed authorities tried to rescue the living and count the dead amid the destruction left by powerful Hurricane Katrina."

helping victims of hurricane katrina

hurricane katrina with winds of 175 mph on august 29th at 0045 photo courtesy of Univ of Wis.

it looks as if hurricane katrina will become the deadlest hurricane since hurricane camille in 1969, which killed 256 people, according to wikipedia. they also say that some experts predict that 1 million people could become homeless because of the storm. on top of that currently 5,000,000 are without power, which isn't expected to be fully restored for another two months.

my heart goes out to the many victims of this storm and the familes that are suffering. currently, i am encouraging those who are a part of our community at kairos los angeles, to bring some money to our weekly gathering this sunday, or to consider giving to their favorite relief organization. if you don't have a favorite, you can read about a number of good organizations, their mission, vision and values and find one that fits best with you.

here is the latest news article from the la times. "Misery and Water Keep Rising"

when the world gets dark, the people of God are called to be the light. after all jesus said, "you are the light of the world."

Tuesday, August 30, 2005

launching the light giver site

one project that i have been excited about for some time is helping develop more resources for equippers in the church. there are many projects i am involved in this regard, one such project deals with having different equippers from around the world share what they are learning in that particular area of equipping.

when i say equippers, i mean the five different equippers mentioned in ephesians chapter four. you check out this article at the kairos los angeles website to get a little picture of these different equippers and the contemporary names that we give them.

one such equipper is the teacher, or what we like to call a light giver. the light giver's role in the church is to help the community to immerse themselves in the text and live faithfully in the story of God. some of the themes that this equipper deals with is the big picture of scripture, hermenutics, how to study and apply scripture in today's context, ect.

we are just beginning to launch the light giver blog site. currently we are gathering different light givers to contribute what they are learning. in the future, we will put these entry's into 10 different categories, as well as have a list of different recommended books for those getting started, intermediate and advance levels.

so take just a moment and get to know some of the contributers who have already began to introduce themselves and share some things they are learning.

Sunday, August 28, 2005

let the whole world fall in

"True evangelism, based on the example of Jesus, does not suggest the "missionary zeal" of self-righteous proselytizers. It implies, on the contrary, the kind of all-embracing universality evident in Mother Teresa's prayer: "May God break my heart so completely that the whole world falls in." Not just fellow nuns, Catholics, Calcuttans, Indians. The whole world. It gives me pause to realize that, were such a prayer said by me and answered by God, I would afterward possess a heart so open that even hate-driven zealots would fall inside." - David James Duncan

Jesus said, "Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You travel over land and sea to win a single convert, and when he becomes one, you make him twice as much a son of hell as you are."

some words to think about.

Saturday, August 27, 2005

the downward spiral of violence

proverbs say, 'with many words, transgression is unavoidable." this is a tough proverb for us all, but especially for those who talk a lot in mass media. if you keep up with the news even remotely, you have heard pat robertson's latest news making remarks about how the u.s. should "take out chavez" the current president of venezuela. this is how pat stated in on the video clip i saw from the 700 club at the cnn website: "You know, I don't know about this doctrine of assassination, but if he thinks we're trying to assassinate him, I think that we really ought to go ahead and do it. It's a whole lot cheaper than starting a war. And I don't think any oil shipments will stop." though pat has attempted to clarify his words, on t.v. and his own website, and has apologized for his words, his remarks continue to echo throughout the world and illicit various responses.

media matters is calling on abc family to discontinue robertson's broadcasts that airs three times a day, while the helsingin sanomat the biggest daily subscription-based newspaper in scandinavia reports that "the finnish christian digital tv channel stops broadcasts of pat robertson's 700 club".

an article entitled "Furor erupts over Robertson's call for assassination" chronicles many responses to pat robertson's words, including responses from officials in venezuela. there have been various responses from the christian community as a whole. jim wallis at sojourners is calling for pat robertson to retire, in his article "Pat Robertson: An embarrassment to the church," while ted haggard is trying to be a peacemaker between the media and pat, as well as president chavez and u.s. missionaries. the bbc news reported that "the venezuelan government temporarily suspended permits for foreign missionaries on friday so regulations for preachers in the country could be tightened." christianity today chronicles different responses from other leaders in the christian community, as well as article entitled "Latin American Evangelicals' Life Just Got Harder" which shares some of the unfortunate damage that these words may inflict upon some evangelical christians in venezula. james talks about the tongue being like a small flame that sets a whole forest on fire.

proverbs says, "life and death is in the power of the tongue." in other words, our words make a difference, which is why we should take james' admonition and be slow to speak and quick to listen. when i read and think about all of these words and reaction to words, i am left thinking more deeply about the words i speak. more than that, about the meditation of my heart and what i really think about jesus' mission and the endless cycle of violence. for the mouth simply speaks from that which fills the heart. so what we think about violence may be the larger issue here. when i look at jesus' life, i see a man who conquered evil by laying down his life, not by picking up his sword. what does that mean for those of us who call ourselves christ-followers?

my recent studies in the gospel of mark have taught me a lot about jesus, his mission and his ways. it doesn't take long to realize how much jesus says through his actions, and so when jesus is casting out "legion" not only is he casting out demons, but through this very real and "symbolic action" jesus seems to be saying something about violence. for the roman army was broken up into what? legions. if you want to learn more about this, you can download this talk for free from the the resource page at kairos los angeles. you can find it under the series entitled "living in reality." the talk is entitled "traveling to the other side" and was given on june 26th, 2005. the issue of violence is addressed at the later part of the message, though best understood by listening to the entire message. there is obviously much more to understand about this difficult and controversial topic. which is why i have posted a listmania on books that have shaped my thoughts about nonviolence at amazon.

let me leave you with some words to ponder from martin luther king jr. - who seemed to understand the words and life of jesus in many profound ways, as well as the downward spiral of violence:

"Violence as a way of achieving justice is both impractical and immoral. It is impractical because it is a descending spiral ending in destruction for all. The old law of an eye for an eye leaves everybody blind. It is immoral because it seeks to humiliate the opponent rather than win his understanding; it seeks to annihilate rather than to convert. Violence is immoral because it thrives on hatred rather than love. It destroys community and makes brotherhood impossible. It leaves society in monologue rather than dialogue. Violence ends by defeating itself. It creates bitterness in the survivors and brutality in the destroyers."

Friday, August 26, 2005

appreciating life

photo by helga kvam - iceland

i have to say that i am so thankful for the amazing goodness of God. its not that life is always easy, its not. life is filled with temptation, struggle, sickness, emotional tensions, misunderstandings, suffering, and so forth. but when i just take a minute and think about all the wonderful gifts that God has given me, i stand amazed. lately my love for photography has caused me to want to have a photo with every entry to my blog. for some reason it just brings a greater since of life to me when i see great photography. i hope it does that for you as well. i think by having a photograph for every blog it also brings a greater aesthetic quality to my blog. i need all the help i can.

one thing i have noticed ever since i have a photo for every blog is that my appreciate for photography has grown. i look at my own photos and realize how much more i must learn about photography. i will still be showing some of my photos, but of course sharing the work of many others as well. my photo's are distinguished by uploaded by dream awakener. i will try to give the name of any other photos i use.

so what do you appreciate about your life? what do you appreciate about God? about your community? it is always good to give thanks for all the good things in our life. it is amazing what it does for our own well being and wholeness.

Thursday, August 25, 2005

looking ahead

"What is faith? It is the confident assurance that what we hope for is going to happen. It is the evidence of things we cannot yet see." hebrews 11:1 nlt

Wednesday, August 24, 2005

getting your feet wet

so what is one good thing that you have always dreamed of doing, but for some reason or another have never actually done? what has kept you from doing it? fear? lack of time? lack of resources? lack of confidence? past failures? afraid what others may think?

one of my life values is to plan as if i were to live to be 100 yrs old, but live each day as if it were my last, because it might very well be my last.

think about that one good thing that you have always wanted to do, and even felt led to do, and go and do it! JUST GET YOUR FEET WET. joshua did. moses did. mary did. paul did. esther did. martin luther did. corrie ten boom did. martin luther king jr. did. mother theresa did. st. francis did.

jesus did. will you?

Monday, August 22, 2005

la downtown coming alive

part of the development of downtown los angeles involves a $1 billion sports and entertainment district called "LA LIVE." los angeles downtown news in an article this week was told by city officials that la live will be breaking ground on sept. 15th. they reported that the anschutz entertainment group which owns staples center will be spearheading the development of la live. the first phase of development is supposed to include a 7,100 nokia theatre as well as the nokia plaza. nokia theater will host more than 100 events a year such as concerts, award shows and short run productions. another part of la live will be a 15 screen movie theatre run by regal will rise on olympic blvd next to the 110 freeway, the largest theater will seat 700 people. in all, 4,000 underground parking spaces will be built. many hope it will mark the beginning of construction for the 1,200 room convention center hotel as well. the $350 million hilton hotel would be topped by 100 luxury condos on floors 45 to 55.

other development plans include a 156 unit apartment tower at 1717 W. olympic blvd as well as a seven story $43 million structure which will rise on at 12th, pico, figueroa and flower, and a 1,700 unit resential complex for the fashion institute of design and merchandising. over the next 10 years, there are plans for 12 new high rises in downtown la.

as la live starts to get off the ground, along with all the development happening on grand avenue, it looks like downtown la is coming alive and will be another viable city center in the la area, joining sunset strip, the grove, venice beach, hollywood, griffith park, beverly hills, santa monica and ... you name it.

Sunday, August 21, 2005

adequate theology - reflecting on praxis

photo by johannes burge

as i have been studying and thinking as a practitioner i have realized more and more how much our theology shapes our practice and how much our practice informs our theology. there is a word that is used that best describes this interaction - "praxis". praxis is basically practice in dialectical relation with thought. the point of praxis is a unique convergence of thought and action or theory and practice. praxis is practical action, but would better be defined as practical action that is informed by theory, in such a way that the theory is in turn informed by action. praxis is probably one of five vital elements that is needed if one desires to have an adequate theological perspective.

james probably said it most succintly: "do not merely listen to the word, and so decieve yourselves. do what it says." 1:22

james throughout his book helps us realize that if our theology is simply heard and thought about and "believed", it is not christ-like theology, rather it is a false and deceptive theology. the only way to develop a christ-like theology is by practice. as we practice, we will find our theology is shaped through our practice, and as we think more deeply, we will find that our practice is shaped by our thinking about God. so, if we want to develop an adequate and healthy theology, we must remember the importance of praxis. i hope to share more thoughts on developing an adequate theology later this week.

Thursday, August 18, 2005

what are we chasing?

there are so many things we chase in our life, but few that bring a profound sense of satification and wholeness. when i was in paris, as i was reading through victor hugo's book: les miserables, i found a treasure box of rich paragraphs.

the context of this next paragraph was that vitor hugo was describing monseigneur bienvenu - a very humble priest who cared deeply about others and had a healthy sense of self forgetfulness. he was one who didn't run after the same things that the crowds chased, namely the shallowness of contemporary admiration. listen to how he puts it:

"Beyond the five or six exceptions, the wonders of their age, contemporary admiration is nothing but shortsideness. Gilt to gold. To be a chance comer is no drawback, provided you have improved your chances. The common herd is an old Narcissus, who adores himself and applauds the common. That mighty Genius, by which one becomes a Moses, an Aeschylus, a Dante, a Michelangelo, or a Napoleon, the multitude attributes at once and by acclamation to whoever succeeds in his object, whatever it may be. Let a notary rise to be a deputy; let a sham Corneille write "Tiradate"; let a eunuch come into the possession of a harem; let a military Prudhomme accidently win the decisive battle of an era; let a pharamist invent cardboard soles for army shoes and put aside, by selling this cardboard as leather for the army of the Sambre-et-Meuse, four hundred thousand livres in income; let a peddler marry usury and have her bear seven or eight million, of which he is the father and she is the mother; let a preacher become a bishop by talking platitudes; let the steward of a good house become so rich that on leaving service he is made Minister of Finance - men call that Genius, just as they call the face of Mousqueton, Beauty, and the bearing of Claude, Majesty. They confuse heaven's radiant stars with a duck's footprint left in the mud."

Tuesday, August 16, 2005

under the eiffel tower

under the eiffel tower
Originally uploaded by dream awakener.

my guess is that the eiffel tower is the most photographed piece of construction in paris. it of course has become the most known monument in paris and maybe all of europe. for according to the official eiffel tower website, over 200 million people have come to see the eiffel tower since its beginning. the plan to build the tower was conceived as part of the preparations for the world's fair of 1889. here are just three different angles of some photos of took of this interesting monument.

the race is on

the race is on
Originally uploaded by dream awakener.

i haven't studied photography much at all, i just enjoy taking pictures as a hobbie, but of course it is always nice to get some different angles of common sites. so i just adjusted the aperture a bit, extended the exposure, and moved my camera four times and held it for a moment, to burn the eiffel tower on the picture four distinct times, while slightly tilting the camera each time, to give the appearance like the eiffel tower is in a race or something. it was kinda fun.

dancin by the eiffel tower

dancn by the eiffel tower
Originally uploaded by dream awakener.

one of the cool things while being in paris was seeing some break dancin' in front of the eiffel tower. the breakin wasn't quite like la or nyc but the background was awesome.

Saturday, August 13, 2005

my favorites

i love to read, i enjoy music and films are the new soul shaping stories of our day. so i have been wanting to put up a selection of some of my favorites for some time, and now is that time. i want to thank kevin wylie for helping me with this part of my blog project.

in the category of books, i have shared with you some of my favorite books in different categories. i don't list the categories, but if you know me well, you might figure it out. if i just had to strictly pick my top 15 books, the books i would have chosen would have been different. what i put under my favorites are my favorites from different categories including non-fiction. my favorite books, music and movies are not in any particular order.

when it comes to my favorite music, it is music that is my favorite at this point and time, stuff i like to listen now.

when it comes to my favorite flicks, it is some of the films i have watched more recently that i have liked, with the exception of one or two that fit in the older category.

so if you want to check it out, feel free to browse the right side of my blog. you can also just click the image and order it through kairos la, and a portion of the profit will go toward helping a worthy mission.

Thursday, August 11, 2005

the church and the west

moses - photo by jr woodward
Originally uploaded by dream awakener.

a front page article in usa today reads: Religion Takes a Back Seat in Western Europe. the article sites a values survey which was conducted in 2000 by the swedish-based group that shows how more and more people in western europe are in the category of people who "never" or "practically never" attend church.

according to the survey in 14 different democracy's in the west, when comparing people who never or practically never attend church, only the united states and italy's numbers decreased, in the other 12 countries the number of people never attending has shot up. France tops the list with 60% of the people never or practically never attending church. Britain is second with 55% in that category, and the Netherlands is third with 48% in that category. The interesting thing is that in the US only 16% of the people "never" or "practically never" attend church.

the other interesting stat in the article was that in france, sweden and netherlands, church attendance is reported less than 10% in some areas. the article states that "The forces driving the decline include Europe's turbulent history, an increasing separation between the church and government — and perhaps ... most of all, the continent's unprecedented affluence."

it is interesting that this article mentions that affluence is possibly the greatest contribution to the lack of people involved in church, saying "World Bank data show the per capita gross domestic product in Western Europe has tripled since 1980." it seems to me that Jesus said something about how it is harder for rich man to enter into heaven than it is for a camel to go through an eye of a needle. and while western europe is seemingly growing less God focused, in eastern europe where things are more unstable and the economy is much weaker, more people are coming to faith. james does mention that the poor are rich in faith.

and while the stat in america as far as people who never go to church went from 18% to 16%, it doesn't reflect the fact that there has been a basic decline in regular church attendance compared to 1970. according to the isr national election studies, those who attend church every week has gone from 38% in 1970 to 25% in 2000. it seems to have leveled off over the last 20 years.

but the sad trend is when you track the age groups. according to the isr, 52% of people 80 and over attend church every week, 44% of those between 70-79, 40% of those between 60-69, 26% of those between 50-59%, 22% of those between 40-49 attend church weekly, 20% of those between 30-39 and finally 13% of those between the ages of 20-29 % attend church weekly in the u.s. does this age statistic indicate that america is going to follow western europe in time?

i don't believe it has to, if the church would fully understand and live out her God given mission and unselfishly devote herself to bring more of heaven to earth neighborhood by neighborhood. for when the church does that, more and more people can't help but want to be involved. this of course should effect how we view economics and every area of life.

Tuesday, August 09, 2005

theologians to know

Originally uploaded by dream awakener.

one of the new elements on my blog are theologians you should know. today i wanted to feature henri nouwen's site. i consider him to be a soul healer, whose ministry helps us to understand God better, to remember what is important, and ways in which we can become more whole and help others become more whole.

Sunday, August 07, 2005

why we flee

taken at picasso museum in paris
Originally uploaded by dream awakener.

"unfortunately, in seeing ourselves as we truly are, not all that we see is beautiful and attrative. this is undoubtedly part of the reason we flee silence. we do not want to be confronted with our hypocrisy, our phoniness. we see how false and fragile is the false self we project. we have to go through this painful experience to come to our true self.

it is a harrowing journey, a death to self - the false self - and no one wants to die. but it is the only path to life, to freedom, to peace, to true love. and it begins with silence. we cannot give ourselves in love if we do not know and possess ourselves. this is the great value of silence. it is the pathway to all we truly want." - m. basil pennington

Friday, August 05, 2005

aborting the hungry?

"hanging on" photo by la times photographer evelyn hockstein

while in paris, though i took a break from my day to day tasks, the heart of God's mission always remained with me, in a different way. the art i saw and the books i read constantly reminded me of our central mission as God's people, to partner with God to restore shalom to this world.

so when i got back and looked at the front page of the la times, i was struck with both gladness and sadness by what i saw on the front page. i was glad to see that the los angeles times of all papers, is not letting the issue of hunger die. weeks after the live 8 conference and the g 8 conference, they are keeping the problem of hunger on the front page, in an article entitled "niger, hunger hits crises level."

in the picture above, the article shares the thoughts of the mom about her boy who is dying, "i hope God will give us life and health and take us out of this poverty." lying on a blanket at the feeding center she was able to get to, while leaving her sick husband and other four children with no food, she said, "i cry because i cannot understand what is happening to my son. i cry because i don't know what to do. i have been crying every since i got here. i'll do anything for him to get better," she said, gazing down at her baby with melting eyes. there's nothing more precious than a child."

as people of God who care about children in the womb, do we not care for those who have come out of the womb, in circumstances that they themselves cannot help? who is the one who will hear their cry?

Wednesday, August 03, 2005

leaving paris

leaving paris
Originally uploaded by dream awakener.

so i'm packing my bags and getting ready to leave paris. it was a good trip. i exercised a lot just riding the metro and walking around. i can see why people in europe tend to be a bit thinner.

i'm looking forward to coming back home to los angeles, to meet up with friends and get back in the thick of things. i probably won't put too many more of my photos on my blog right away, though i will put them on flickr at some point for viewing. i will put other photo's up intermittingly.

as you may have noticed, it is my goal to have a photo for every blog i write. some of the photos will be mine, others may be from other sources. i just think photos bring things to life. if you haven't seen all my paris photo's yet, about 20 from day 1 and 2, be sure to scroll down and take a look at them all.

good night and pleasant dreams, whenever you go to bed tonight.

kicking back

kicking back
Originally uploaded by dream awakener.

so one day i didn't do much photography, or much visiting of anything. i walked a lot, went to luxebourg gardens and read a little more of les miserable after visiting victor hugo's old residence. it's really cool reading this book while strolling through paris. it is a book on my top ten list.

Monday, August 01, 2005

friday night roller blade in paris

one of the coolest things to do while in paris is to roller blade through the city at night, from 10 p.m. to 1 p.m. i heard about this right before i left and said, "i must do this." i heard that this 3 hour trail through the city was very difficult, so i was only planning on going for an hour. but after one hour i felt invigorated and knew that i must finish the race, and so i did. it was intense, amazing and unforgettable.

above on the map you can see the route that we took. we went up and down hills and across cobble stone pavement at times. the downhill was the craziest for me. if you ever come to paris and are here on a friday, and you enjoy roller blading, you have to check this out. in the summer over 15,000 people start. there aren't as many that finish.