Thursday, September 29, 2005

recreating life

Originally uploaded by dream awakener.

one of my consistent hobbies over the last couple years has been photography. i haven't read much or studied much at all, i just love taking pictures. i think this next year i may read a couple of books just to learn some of the basics.

as my appreciation for photography has grown, my desire to learn more has grown as well. i have taken over 15,000 photo's now and i am trying to go through some of the photos i like and post them. i still have a ways to go, but i just put together my personal favorites that i have posted on flickr.

if you get the chance, please take a minute and browse through my current 24 personal favorites. feel free to leave any comments or suggestions, as i love to improve. if you look to the top right, you can view the set as a slide show.

having a lot of responsibilities can make life feel weighty at times. engaging in hobbies and recreation is about re-creating life, so that we can better fulfill our calling with fresh energy.

if you are aware of any cool photography websites, please let me know. they could deal with learning about photography or posting photography or anything.

Wednesday, September 28, 2005

keeping warm

Originally uploaded by BrynJ.

if the world seems cold, then bring some warmth. if your heart feels cold then spend some time with the all consuming fire.

i wonder what our world would be like if we simply did to others what we want them to do for us. the most convincing apologetic is love

Tuesday, September 27, 2005


Originally uploaded by dream awakener.

"Nothing is as wonderful as knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. I have given up everything else and count it all as garbage. All I want is Christ and to know that I belong to him. I could not make myself acceptable to God by obeying the Law of Moses. God accepted me simply because of my faith in Christ. All I want is to know Christ and the power that raised him to life. I want to suffer and die as he did, so that somehow I also may be raised to life." Philippians 3:8-11 CEV

the more i get to know jesus, the more these words ring true in my heart as well. there is nothing in the world greater than getting to know jesus, learning to follow him, experience his power and share in his sufferings. it doesn't get any better than this.

Saturday, September 24, 2005

elegant leadership

Fire Canoe #2
Originally uploaded by peter bowers.

it is good to read leadership books from people who have led in various capacities. one author that seems to catch the eye of many christians is max de pree. three of his best known books are probably leadership is an art, leading without power, and leadership jazz.

i love how todd hunter in his blog gives a quick list of depree's marks of elegant leadership. these are marks any good leader will in the power of the spirit try to live out.

*freeing people to do their best, giving the gift of being understood as a whole person
*covenant relationships; not contracts, but abandoning yourself to the strengths of others
*intelligence and wisdom
*giving away involvement, not merely time; giving the gift of listening
*equality and an egalitarian spirit amid minimal hierarchy
*forgiveness and release
*appropriately matching a person's unique gifts to opportunity
*the joy of moral goals along with earned, joyfully given rewards
*equity in work and in benefits; say "thank you"
*we are not victims of our corporate cultures, we are co-creators of them. thus, grow and change as a person. learn to embody selfless, secure love. be a model, because leaders reproduce in kind.

if you want to read more about max depree, check out this book review by neil harvey, or this interview with max depree on the leader's legacy.

i will leave you with one max depree quote: "the first responsibility of a leader is to define reality, the last is to say thank you. in between the leader should be a servant."

Friday, September 23, 2005

the transfiguration

painting by Raphael Sanzio

raphael was a painter of the high italian renaisance born in 1480 and died at the relatively young age of 37. he was asked and commissioned to paint this picture of the transfiguration. his assistance had to finish the painting. what i like about the painting is that it contains both of the stories we find in mark 9:2-37, the story of the transfiguration of jesus and the story of the demon the disciples were unable to cast out.

i just did a talk on this passage recently entitled "the mountain and the valley." after the disciples heard that not only jesus would walk the path of the cross, but they themselves would have to pick up their crosses and follow him, it seemed as if God understood that they needed some encouragement for the journey.

it is interesting to note that marks audience was facing heavy persecution and their own lives were literally at stake. many if they stayed faithful to christ instead of capitulating to the roman empire would have died a martyrs death. so what jesus was telling them at the end of mark 8 was some tough stuff.

so God encourages peter, james and john by bringing them on the moutain. they are amazed as they get to see jesus interacting with elijah and moses, who represent the prophets and the law. and when God speaks once again, as he did at jesus' baptism, the disciples get confirmation from God the Father to listen to jesus and what he is saying.

this was definetly a mountain top experience for peter, james and john. in fact, peter seemed to want to enshrine the moment and so wanted to build a tabernacle for all three of them. but then before you know it, only jesus was left, and jesus was leading them back down the mountain to the valley below, where there were hurting people, unbelieving officials, ineffective institutions and the demons below.

these two stories are wonderfully protrayed in rapheals portrait. and i take away at least two basic things. when jesus invites us to the mountain with others in community, we should go. we need mountain top experiences like retreats and conferences to keep us encouraged to carry our crosses and follow him.

secondly, the test of any vision from God is what we do when we get back down the mountain. the story of the demon possessed boy and the inability of the disciples to cast it out reminds us that it takes both faith and prayer to live life fully in the valley and have the ability to cast out evil. we don't need a moutain of faith to move something as small as a mustard seed. no, all we need is a mustard seed of faith to move mountains.

Thursday, September 22, 2005

chronicles of the next big thing

poster from apple site

there are many reasons why the chronicles of narnia will be the next big thing in the movies according to moviefone.

a built in fan base: like the lord of the rings, narnia is based on a popular books series, having sold over 85 million copies

fantastic new worlds: discover new worlds populated by centaurs, giants, and some of the most amazing special effects

franchise potential: based on 7 books, there are already two more naria films that have a green light

a director with a vision: director of shrek and shrek 2

family appeal: christian allegory

when you get the chance, you should check out some really cool video clips that give you a look behind the scenes. clips on visual effects, the story, locations and sets, the director and other videos that will get you ready for the release on december 9th.

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

if rita hits oil refineries, what questions will people ask?

from fox news website

rita is looking a lot like katrina. she is already sustaining winds of 175 mph, which puts her in the strongest category of hurricanes - 5, and according to cnn rita has now become history's third most intense hurricane EVER. rita moved from 165 to 175 as predicting by fox news, because both the depth and warmth of the water in the gulf causes hurricanes to strengthen. she may strengthen even more. but then as the depth of the water lessens, and rita approaches land, she is predicted to become a little weaker, but at this pace could be stronger than katrina in strength with hurricane winds extending 70 miles from the center. unfortunately texas seems the most likely target for rita, though it looks like texans are better prepared to meet rita because katrina trained them well.

now as rita is predicted to hit an oil rich area, prices in gas are already increasing. if rita hits as projected, i wonder what those who believe that katrina was God's judgment for the decandence of new orleans are thinking.

if rita hits as projected, it will hit what is known as ground zero for the refining companies. for according to bloomberg texas is home to the biggest concentration of oil refineries in the U.S., accounting for 26 percent of the nations capacity. they quote rick mueeler, an analyst with energy security analysis inc. in tilburg, the netherlands, as saying, "If Houston suffers the scope of damage caused to refineries in Louisiana by Katrina, we could see rationing and queues at the gas pump.''

the palm beach post reports if rita hits the oil refineries bull's eye, the average joe could be paying $5 a gallon. the article also quoted meteorologist stacey stewart from the national hurricane center who said that "this is likely the first time two category 5 storms have spawned in the same region in such a short amount of time."

obviously oil is an important commodity today, as shown by the very recent dispute breaking out between japan and china, as china has started drilling for gas in disputed waters.

i wonder if those whom i mentioned in a previous article, who believe katrina was God's judgment on decandence, will ask: what connection do these natural disasters have to do with oil? i somehow don't think the question will be posed. so if rita hits, are there any questions that we should be asking ourselves?

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

happy to be connected

afp photo by jose luis roca

i'm happy to have both my phone and internet connection back. i'm feeling much more like this dog, laid back and happy, because i can freely connect in ways that i am used to. life is good in that way. i find it tough to live in a techno world where many in my community live, when i have no tech connections.

Saturday, September 17, 2005

when it rains it pours

photo by mark lorch

i am blogging from columbia missouri. we just had a great vision dinner for our west la church plant. things went well. the only problem is i lost my cell phone some time during the night. i tend to be absent minded, and when i am wearing new clothes, like a suit, and in new places, i find it easy to misplace things. oh well.

not only that, but before coming i lost my internet connection at my apartment, which is why it has been more difficult to post anything. someone for the cable co is coming by sunday to hopefully fix it. so i feel like i am missing two modes of communication.

on top of that, it is about 3:30 in missouri now. my ride is coming to get me. we have a 2 1/2 hour trip to the airport in kansas city. i get my plan at 7 a.m., arrive in la at 10 a.m. and have a lot to prepare for sunday. sleep is overrated. when it rains it pours, but you can find silver lining even in the clouds.

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

food for thought

today i had the opportunity to connect with kurt fredrickson the director of fuller's doctor of ministry program, which happens to be the world's largest. we met for the first time about a month ago. my time with kurt was both rich and encouraging. he asked me about myself and my ministry, and i learned more about what makes his heart beat. we have a lot in common. i had read half of a hundred page paper he wrote recently and was throughly encouraged by his paper.

he has read most all of the published works of dietrich bonhoeffer and some of the unpublished works as well. his paper is entitled "an ecclesiology for late modernity: the missio-ecclesiology of dietrich bonhoeffer. let me share just a few of the many nugets from this paper.

"The church can never be isolated from the world as God is not isolated from the world. Bonhoeffer notes: “God is the beyond in the midst of our life. The church stands, not at the boundaries where human powers give out, but it the middle of the village”

"For Bonhoeffer saw Christ is the one who present in the world and for the world, calling the church to follow him, and to be the church for others. Bonhoeffer presses for a new understanding of church of a changing time. This emphasis stresses four primary themes. First, the church for others is understood in light of Christ as the suffering God in this world. Christ on the cross was pushed out from the world and forsaken into the world by the Father. This paradox is resolved only by God’s love for the world. The church in the world in weakness, is, in small part, a realization of the longings of the Christ.

Second, in Bonhoeffer’s missio-ecclesiology transcendence is redefined. God is one who is beyond and in the midst of the world. So transcendence must be understood as the one who is beyond our reach and revealed only through points of contact, in our neighbor in daily life.

Third, the orientation of the church must change. The church must no longer function in a survival mode, but rather is renewed so that it might preach reconciliation and redemption to humankind and the world.

Fourth, the church for others means participating in God’s sufferings. The church encounters Jesus on his cross. The church shares in God’s sufferings at the hands of a godless world."

“The church moves forward not upon the enthusiasms and rapid successes of pragmatism, but rather upon emerging theological convictions that do not have a predetermined end in sight.”

i trust that is some food for your thoughts.

Monday, September 12, 2005

tracking news

it is quite fascinating to me to watch how communication happens in our world today. this buzz tracker which i keep at the bottom of my site is a great visual way to look at what it happening in our world. it helps me see how small our world really is. to think that a couple of utility workers connecting the wrong wires, according to an ap report, would cause so many inconviences and create so much news around the entire world, from london to japan and from south africa to china, simply amazes me. google news reported 550 stories within four hours of the power outage.

i wish the good news traveled so fast.

rolling power outages a day after video threat

so i was doing some studying at home and getting ready for a meeting and the power went out. i didn't think anything of it. i thought it may have just been my apartment, because i live in an old apartment building. as i went outside into my hallway, i realized it wasn't just my apartment, but my floor, as i traveled from the 5th floor to the first, i realized it was our whole building. as i was at the front desk, i learned from the radio that the guys were listening to, that it was rolling power outages in the whole city. all of this just a day after the surfacing of this terrorist video tape.

it hasn't taken long for different news sources to report the power problem. reuters seems to have reported it just a minute after it happened. cnn followed up saying how the police department "went on full alert". also tying the fact that "the blackout came a day after ABC aired a videotape of a purported al Qaeda member making terrorist threats against Los Angeles and Melbourne, Australia."

just now the la times put out an article basically saying the same things with a few more details. it is funny that the times article was written by an associated press writer and not someone from the la times.

right now i am just posting this info, but i have a meeting now. i have a lot of reflections from these events.

planning for a greener la river

photo by john humble copyright 2005

the la times reports that there is a series of 18 public meetings which will help set priorities for restoring habitat and creating parks by the la river. the article starts off by describing the la river, posing the question: "Is it the city's most prominent gutter or a river waiting to be reborn?" my hope is the later. mayor antonio villaraigosa and councilman ed ryes are hoping to "establish the new face of the city." one item up for discussion at these public meetings "is the possibility to removing portions of the river's concret lining which was installed beginning in the 1930's to keep low-lying areas from being inundated during winter storm."

here are a few sites to check out if you have an interest in learning more about the la river.

the los angeles river exhibit: probably my favorite la river site. you can take a tour from the past, to the present and possibilities of the future. if you click on what you have an interest in, it will take you into these three different worlds. the pictures are great, and i can tell that those who designed this website have great hopes for what the la river could be. check out their links, and you will find most every other site you will want to see about the la river.

photo's of the la river: this is a site of john humbles photos of the la river, as well as the la landscape, life guard station 26, people and editorial. great pictures of the river. a book of john's photographs will be released in the fall of 2006 entitled "Manifest Destiny: Photographs of Los Angeles" and published by the center for american places. this is a great site.

the river project: an organization dedicated to planning for natural resource protection, conservation and enhancement in los angeles county.

los angeles river connection: you can find a virtual tour, learn about the history of the river, see some views from the river's edge and related websites.

friends of the los angeles river: you can sign up to be a friend of the river, learn about some of the programs they have, some history and other links.

Sunday, September 11, 2005

al-queda threatens los angeles

news 24 reports "A suspected american member of al-Qaeda threatened attacks against Los Angeles and the Australian city of Melbourne in a videotape shown on Sunday by ABC television as the United States marked the fourth anniversary of September 11."

one expert from the university of virginia feels that the video tape threat is a stunt. he says in an article at an australia website "What I find odd is that he is a relatively low placed individual and out of the mainstream of the al-Qaeda leadership. Why send the third stream cricket player if you've got the star of the team?"

an article in the los angeles downtown news mentions that l.a. is bidding for the summer olympic games of 2016. mayor antonia villaraigosa in a press conference on wednesday said, "We believe we have everything it takes to show that Los Angeles is the worlds best place for the 2016 Olympics." l.a. hosted the olympics in both the 1932 and 1984.

life giving liberator

jesus painting
Originally uploaded by dream awakener.

when i think of jesus, i think of a wild and unrestrained rabbi who was both a life giver and liberator.

jesus is life giving. life is the opposite of death; it is hope in the face of death. life is reconciliation with God, the forgiveness of sins, the release from overpowering guilt. life is becoming more whole, experiencing healing, moving from self-centeredness to becoming others centered. life is the end of meaninglessness and despair. we experience joy, suffering and even dying for the sake of life, because following jesus is a life giving experience.

but I’ve also come to know jesus as the great liberator. he is the God of the exodus. i've come to realize that jesus’ care for the poor and the oppressed is not simply an ideological preference but it is foundational to his ministry. he came to bring “good news to the poor.” the Holy Spirit is God’s power for liberation – “for where the spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.” jesus is the way, the truth and the life. he is about social liberation and personal liberation from sin and guilt, through the grace of God’s unconditional love. jesus is able to release us from self-centered concern about our own righteousness to a free and vigorous concern for our neighbor.

i have come to realize that true liberty is not simply the “unlimited freedom to make the world as we want.” but jesus, his life, his teachings, his symbolic actions, parables, death, and resurrection define liberty. jesus is where life and freedom lie. love, justice and power come together in him, giving us ultimate hope in victory over oppression and injustice. specifically, jesus’ own practical option for the poor and the oppressed define for us what life and liberation mean. true life and liberation for the happy, the healthy and the prosperous cannot be had, except in solidarity with those who are poor, sick or oppressed. following jesus means an end, or at least the beginning of the end, of personal selfishness and greed and the triviality of a life oriented around consumption.

i have also come to realize that the work that God started in me will continue until jesus comes back. he still has a lot of work to do. if you want to learn more about jesus, his life and mission, check out the lastest series on mark.

Saturday, September 10, 2005

understanding hurricanes

with so many hurricanes last year in florida, and after katrina, and with the growing interest in ophelia, which became hurricane strength again, there is a growing interest in understanding hurricanes and many websites and books that help us understand them better.

wikipedia's entry on hurricanes: if you have never checked out this free online encyclopedia, you are really missing out. here isw some great stuff on hurricanes.

storm track of ophelia this usa today site enables you to track the hurricane, looking at where it has been as well as it's projected path.

hurricane basics: a site that guides you to resources on hurricanes and tropical cyclones.

in the eye of the storm: an article to help understand hurricanes.

the futures channel: this weeks special on-line movie is understanding hurricanes. playing through september 14th.

hurricanes bring more than destruction: hugh ross in his design updates tells us how hurricanes are both an effect and a cause of life-essential balances on earth.

fema on hurricanes: we can educate ourselves about hurricanes and what we should do. there are some great learning links to this site.

hurricane tracking: a great site to track current hurricanes and tropical storms. you can also look at projected paths of different hurricanes.

Friday, September 09, 2005

tracking the buzz

one of my desires with this blog is to pick up the la times and the sacred text and figure out how to follow jesus more fully in this world. since i gave my t.v. away last year, i rarely catch news on tv, unless i am at a friends house or public place, so the internet is my main new source. as a result i have become more internet savy lately, though i still consider myself a neophyte. i regularly post links of interest at our kairos los angeles website, but i don't always get to post all the links i find interesting. so maybe occassionally i will randomly post a set of interesting links.

buzztracker: recently i came across this visual way to capture the news at a glance. i keep this link at the bottom left of my webpage. obviously new orlean, dc, gaza and bagdad are big at the moment.

california earthquake could be the next katrina according to seismologist lucy jones, fema in august of 2001 dicussed the three most likely catastrophes to strike the u.s. first on the list was a terrorist attack in new york. second was a super-strength hurricane hitting new orleans, and third was a major earthquake on the san adreas fault. will los angeles be next?

parable of the good church: neither the fury of katrina's nor inefficiencies of government can stop the people of God.

pastoring a church in diaspora: a new orleans pastor takes care of his scattered flock from houston.

the message new testament remix mp3 you can now purchase a cheap audio version of the message from amazon. check it out.

the constant gardener: a movie you gotta check out. fernando meirelles is the director, same director of city of god. it is based on john le carre's book.

nariaweb: the latest movie news on the chronicles of naria.

Wednesday, September 07, 2005

katrina - the wrath of God?

it is fascinating to see the many different theological reactions that people have to katrina. both al qaeda and a few from the far religious right feel that it is the wrath of God being poured out on america. of course they have their different reasons. according to an article from reuters, al qaeda says "God attacked America and the prayers of the oppresed were answered." and "The wrath of the All-powerful fell upon the nation of oppressors. Their dead are in the thousands and their losses are in the billions." while michael marcavage on his website repent america is saying "Although the loss of lives is deeply saddening, this act of God destroyed a wicked city. From 'Girls Gone Wild' to 'Southern Decadence,' New Orleans was a city that had its doors wide open to the public celebration of sin. From the devastation may a city full of righteousness emerge." it seems as if j. grant swank of michnews agrees with michael. fred phelps on his westboro baptist church website entitled "god hates fags", not only declares that katrina is God's wrath, but he thanks God for sending katrina to new orleans. and while those who host these websites are at one extreme, i have heard a number of christians who aren't so extreme, voice this idea in some way or another, or ask me if i thought this was God's judgment on america.

others are saying this is more evidence that we are living in the final days. this seems to be what george noory has said in his radio program, according to worldnetdaily. this is stated very clearly in the article nearing midnight at the rapture ready site. some consider this judgment for encouraging israel to pull out of gaza strip as mentioned in the article "escape all these things."

so while some from al queda and the far right are proclaiming with great confidence, that katrina is God's judgement on america, and some are saying this is evidence of the last days, others like billy graham and tony compolo are claiming that we shouldn't be focusing so much on the WHY, but rather on the WHAT. "what" should we do in light of this tragedy?

billy in an article listed on the christian post says “Whenever any disaster like this strikes, we often ask ourselves why. Why did God let this happen? I have been asked that question hundreds of times, and I have to confess that I do not know the full answer." then he points us to what we should do, "May this tragedy make each of us realize our need of God, and may we turn to Christ in repentance and faith and find our hope in Him."

tony compolo in an article on beliefnet says, "There are Christians who, in the weeks to come, can be counted on to thunder from their pulpits that Katrina is God’s wrath against the immorality of this nation, pointing out that New Orleans is the epitome of our national degradation and debauchery. To all of this I say, "Wrong."

The God revealed in Jesus did not come into the world "to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved." (John 3:17) There can be no arguments over the claim that, for a variety of reasons, our nation deserves punishment. But when the Bible tells us about the grace of God, it is giving us the good news that our loving God does not give us what we truly deserve. Certainly, God would not create suffering for innocent people, who were--for the most part--Katrina’s victims." he ends the article sharing what we should do: "Instead of looking for God in the earthquake or the tsunami, in the roaring forest fires blazing in the western states, or in the mighty winds of Katrina, it would be best to seek out a quiet place and heed the promptings of God’s still small voice. That voice will inspire us to bring some of God’s goodness to bear in the lives of those who suffer."

i find it interesting reading some of the reactions to andrew zimmerman's article "katrina, louis armstrong and job". here are just a couple responses as posted on the site:

"Dont put the blame on God. It is our own collective sinfulness in a variety of ways that empowered the storm to wreak her vengeance and unmask the false systems that keep so many impoverished people down. White upper class folk would never dream of building their homes in the area hardest hit. Why would we think anyone else would want to live there. The poor don't have options and choices. Nor are they respected. These people are a reflection of our own selfishness and greed which we dont like to look at cause it isnt any prettier than gazing upon the face of the crucified Christ who first bore our sinfulness." Elizabeth Green from Missouri

"I think its time for the american people to wake up from committing too many sins and to know that Katrina is a message for those who are submerged in sins. I am not going to say that americans deserve the hurricane because there are some little innocent children who have nothing to do with it while there are more sinful who deserve it, especially the dumb rulers concerning what they are doing in iraq and supporting isralian movement in gaza (palistien)...secondly is the american people don't stand up for the system that the country going under it with bush's false decisions ....i wish they wouldn't be easily convinced once again." Chaachaa Yassine

"Is lung cancer "Gods wrath" for self-destructive behavior? Of course not. It's the result of a bad lifestyle choice. And so it is with Katrina. Humans have mowed down more than a million acres of Mississippi Delta wetlands, which has increased the intensity of the regions hurricanes, resisted common sense efforts to cut oil consmption- which means the Gulf oil rigs continue to foul the Gulf waters and pollute the air- all under the yoke of denial about New Orleans below sea level address. There isn't a shred of divine retribution in this tragedy: what do we expect to happen when we live this way? This concept of a punishing God is an outdated organ of human consciosuness that, hopefully, we are slowly outgrowing, although Zimmermans essay would suggest otherwise. Even if we do view the tragedy as punishment, the real question is not "how could God let this happen?" but "how did we contribute to it and what now?" If we batten down the hatches and retreat to our barren fortresses of religious icons, false piety and useless dogma, it'll happen again, and the next hurricane will make Katrina will look like a garden hose leak. If we dont change our behavior-on a wholesale, global level, and stop choking our hearts with the iron claws of selfishness and small-mindedness, there wont be anyone to even debate these things, because well be extinct." Patrick Miller from New Mexico

rob noll of christianity today shares many other reactions in his blog entry "in every thing give thanks" while religion and ethics newsweekly has a number of different theologians who speak to the issue of "why". i think it is helpful to reflect on both the "why" and the "what should we do", though for me the "what" seems a little easier to address. it was st. francis who said, "I have done what was mine to do. May you find what is yours and do it."

so WHY do you think katrina hit new orleans?

and WHAT are you going to do?

obviously there are many good relief organizations to give to. but more than that, did you know that, according to an article in the washington post, katrina will go down as the largest displacement of americans since the civil war? so obviously many people need a place to stay.

it has been so encouraging to see how many people are taking victims of katrina and finding them places to live. msnbc has an encouraging article entitled "thousands offer shelter to katrina's victims." and in the article they site a number of websites that are helping connect those who want to host victims to those who are homeless as a result of katrina, including open your home and katrina housing. maybe you should join up with many other people and invite someone to live with you in your home.

another way you can help is by leading some kind of worship service in response to katrina. calvin college on their website give some helpful resources for leading a small or large worship service in response to natural disasters. during this time you could encourage others to help in anyway possible. we should think about what kind of response would we hope for if we were found in the same situation. that is what jesus meant when he said, "love one another as you love yourself."

we are the body of christ, we are his hands and we are his feet. let us love with our actions and our words.

Tuesday, September 06, 2005

convention center hotel in the plans

rendering by gensler

it looks like the community redevelopment agency board approved a $16 million load to develop the 1,100-room convention center hotel. according to the la downtown news, this green light is the final step before a city council vote later this month.

the article goes on to say,

"The $412 million hotel is expected to rise on the west side of the Staples Center parking lot as part of the $1 billion LA Live entertainment district being developed by Anschutz Entertainment Group. (AEG)"

later in the article it talks about the whole la live complex:

"Pending Council approval, AEG plans to break ground on LA Live Sept. 15, and announce a number of major tenants for the 400,000 square feet of retail and restaurant space.

The first element of LA Live slated for completion is the 7,100-seat Nokia Theater. Construction of the headquarters hotel would start no later than October 2006, with completion in four years, according to CRA documents.

Designs by Santa Monica-based architecture firm Gensler show a sleek 55-story tower fronting Olympic Boulevard and Georgia Street. The crown of the edifice would act as a beacon to attract visitors, and would light up with different colors depending on the season. The Downtown hotel would provide easy access via a bridge to meeting space and ballrooms, as well as a link to the entertainment district plaza."

Saturday, September 03, 2005

broken flowers, broken lives

so here is an article that i posted on the rotten tomatoes website, one of the links on the left column of my page under film.

here is an excerpt from the article i posted. it is a review of the most meaningful film i have seen this year, so far. if you find this excerpt interesting, then you may enjoy reading the entire article.

"This masterfully told story prods our souls to ask what we believe about the meaning of life. The movie has shocking parts in which any sensative soul must close their eyes because of the ackwardness of the moment. It also has a style that is classic Jarmusch in that the transitions are barely present and very awkward, the theme is formatted around a journey and the end of the film leaves you with more questions than answers.

Solving the mystery of the movie requires one to leave the world of fiction and dive into the world of non-fiction. In the end, each person must discover the meaning of life, which may only happen if we dig deep. If your life were a flower, would it be rooted, or cut off from any lasting source of life?"

Thursday, September 01, 2005

being crazy so you don't become crazy

reuters photo by albert gea

in the midst of the heavy news we encounter about katrina and many other things, i think it is important that if we want to keep our sanity and actually be people who live life in such a way to bring life to others, we need to learn what it means to have deep joy in the midst of a world filled with pain. of course we are to have empathy and mourn with those who mourn, but at another level we are to be a people of joy. let me try to explain what i am feeling.

it has been stated by many that we live in the information age. we live at a time in world history that we tend to hear of every possible problem that is happening in the world, from collasping bridges in iraq to hurricane's in the gulf. if we were to take all of our day every day and just contemplate the problems in our lives and the problems that are happening all over the world, we would probably go crazy and be of very little help in bringing any type of relief.

that is probably why nehemiah in the midst of a greiving congregation told them to take God's holy day and eat some food, drink some wine and share some wine with those who don't have any. then he reminded them that the "joy of the Lord" was their strength. interesting, joy=strength. maybe that is why paul when he was in prison facing possible death, wrote "rejoice in the Lord, again i say rejoice" because he knew something about the importance of us having a deep abiding joy if we were going to have any moral strength to do what is good and right.

as i was at my friends apartment watching some of the news stories coming from new orleans, i watched one where the news reporter was taking note of the way some children were reacting to the aftermath of katrina. in this one clip, the camera focused in on this asian kid who was missing more than a few teeth. we could all see this clearly because he had a big fat smile on his face. the reporter observed how it seemed as if the kid, even though he was going through a horrible disaster, was able to somehow find joy in what was around him, like his two friends. interesting.

without being too long winded, i just want to remind you to do good to those around you and those in need, but also take some days where you eat, have some wine with some friends and become like a little kid, knowing that ultimately your father in is charge. i felt like this article and picture from reuters about this annual tomatoe fight that takes place in velencia spain, was God's reminder to me to make sure i take a little time to get crazy, so that i don't become crazy.

so get joy and do good, send relief for the hurting.

putting a face to the hurricane victims

reuters photo by rick wilking

nola view is a weblog by jon donley that is posting different stories about different people's stories in new orleans, in the aftermath of katrina. here was one just posted yesterday by diania boylston a new orleans inner-city teacher:

"I had to leave my students behind.

Much of inner city New Orleans is filled with indigent or low-income families with no transportation. These people didn’t stay in the city, for the most part, because they were “attached” to their homes. Most have little to attach to and no money or means to leave. Instead, many either rent one side of a shotgun double house or “stay” in one of the city’s five huge housing projects. And that’s where I had to leave my students: on the second floor, in their neighbor’s apartment in the Lafitte Housing Project.

Dwight and Dwan, twin brothers who just turned 17 years old, first became my students at one of the lowest performing middle schools two years ago. Their individual stories are sad before Hurricane Katrina and maybe too intensely painful for the average parent or reader. But their reality was to call Children Services themselves last Friday when they came home to find their circumstances unlivable, once again. That day, they asked if they could live with me, but it wasn’t possible Friday. We agreed to meet on Sunday and plan their future. Hurricane Katrina made all that impossible when I evacuated Saturday night.

We spoke several times trying to coordinate how to drop-off food for the storm but officials issued a curfew by 7p.m.on Saturday night making that impossible. I asked their neighbor to take them to the Superdome, but she said it was a bad experience two years earlier when they evacuated for a tropical storm and that they trusted God.

We spoke at 4:00 a.m. and the storm hit Monday morning at 5:00 a.m. We spoke a few hours later and I haven’t been able to reach them since. From a hotel room in Houston, I sit tortured in from of the TV hoping to see a shot of their building or a face. The news just reported that the Orleans Parish School System would be closed for the next two to three months. What I want to know is… will my students be alive.

Diana Boylston
(504) 914-5302 (cell)
(713) 586-2444 (Room 826 till Sunday a.m.)"

jim wallis of sojourners writes an article about how those who live in poverty, which is 28% in new orleans, have it much worse when it comes to natural disaster.

again, if you want to give to help victims and are a part of kairos los angeles, bring your offering to one this weeks weekly gatherings, or if you just want to give directly to a relief agency, consider one recommended by fema (federal emergency management agency) your bound to find one that suits you.