Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Life is suffering... another "Sweet" quote.

"To be in relationship is to suffer. To have, you must give. To grow, you must suffer. To live, you must die. That's it. Life is suffering. There's no use complaining about it. This is life. We are intstructed to seize every moment to speak a positive word. We can talk about how suffering can make us more alive or how suffering can be converted into art or how suffering can be a school of instruction in life's virtues. All of these are true." Leonard Sweet

This jumped off the page and made a direct hit to the heart. I really connected to "how suffereing can be a school of instruction". In this season of life, i have really been challenged to look at what i hold dear in regards to virtues and values. I was with a friend from high school that i hang out with once in awhile. he has three kids and went through a pretty crazy divorce. he stated that he was amazed at how well i have been able to hold myself together." In my mind i thought, that is all nice but i am not even sure what "together" looks like these days. if i am holding it together it is not on my own strength. but before i could give him some self righteous answer, he said, "but you can't fall apart, because people have looked to you for support as they go through 'stuff', so you need to hold it together."

I was not sure how to take those words, but after i read this statement today. I would have to say that my "suffering" still pale in comparison to so many other "sufferings" that people endure. it has been a teaching time of what do i value and if i truly believe following christ is the best choice no matter what other people choose. it has tested that belief system. i think everyday is a continual lesson to believe that and live that among whatever happens or seems to go wrong or RIGHT! Yes, my life has some great things (KADE, EVAN and more) going on!

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Some Links

Here are a few links that have good discussion going on in regards to our hot button:

  • MTV even had something to say... i thought it was surprisingly good.
I think the most interesting aspect that i read throughout these blogs were the peaceful mindset that the protest took. The protestors burned nothing down, they cleaned up after the protest and no massive acts of violence or looting. It seems it was done in good fashion.

I hope this helps some people (including me) better understand this whole situation.


H.R. 447

Here is the link H.R. 447 the actual document that is under protest.

Grab some coffee before you read it. It is not easy reading.

More Confusion

Los Angeles has been quite the hot bead for activists and protestors over this last week. I guess even some high school students marched from one campus to another to fight over these laws that could make it illegal to harbor an illegal alien. Later today, I am going to try and do some research on the whole thing and give my best attempt at my personal response. But my initial thoughts in regards to the issue is confusion, YES J-Lou is confused!

First, it seems a lot people protest out of ignorance and probably many of the 500,000 people who gathered in Los Angeles to protest were uniformed about the issue and just thought it would be cool to be part of this gathering. One of the things I really like about Jim Wallis (God’s Politics) is that he never just comes against a political or moral issue without a better way. As I try to take a better look at the issue, I think our concern as people of faith and those who follow Christ should be to try and find a better way. I’m sure the people who wrote the potential law are not bad people at their core, but may be disconnected from the people this will affect.

Also just because some people were protesting in ignorance does not mean that the protest was wrong or there are no problems with the pending law. It just means that some people like to protest. I am sure many people gathered with an intelligent reason and passion for gathering and protesting this law. I am sure the law had a very personal affect on their lives and the people who they love. I know they did not lead a gathering just for the fun of it.

As I follower of Christ, we must lean first on our faith in God and his value of people over our American allegiance. And if someone disagrees with a political issue that does not make them anti-American, it makes them against this issue. I read the following passage this morning,

"The LORD your God is the God of gods and Lord of lords. He is the great God, mighty and awesome, who shows no partiality and takes no bribes. 18 He gives justice to orphans and widows. He shows love to the foreigners living among you and gives them food and clothing. 19 You, too, must show love to foreigners, for you yourselves were once foreigners in the land of Egypt. 20 You must fear the LORD your God and worship him and cling to him. Your oaths must be in his name alone. 21 He is your God, the one who is worthy of your praise, the one who has done mighty miracles that you yourselves have seen. 22 When your ancestors went down into Egypt, there were only seventy of them. But now the LORD your God has made you as numerous as the stars in the sky!

Deut. 10:17 – 21

This is my confusion... why does everyone have to be hostile about issues. It seems even Christians who I have read that are upset about these issues do not allow a biblical thinking to direct thier perspective, but allow an American nationalistic perspective to drive the issue. As i read the OT and the NT it does not seem to be about what nation you are from, but how you treat people. I am confused myself, why for so long i would try to remove myslef from the situation by not trying to understand either side and the personal issues that led people to those sides. I am confused at how many people act as if the other side is so illogical and evil to think a certain way. I am sure for every ignorant protestor that was in LA on Saturday (or any other protest). I am sure we can find ignorant people on the other side who just do not like the protestors and have no idea about the issues as well.

That is it for now, but i think i will talk about why people waive Mexican flags at rallies and sporting events tonite. I am sure it will be interesting. Sorry for the long post (Irene). I will stop now.


Friday, March 24, 2006


well i experienced another minideath last night as i watched the ZAGS choke out and allow the hated ones (ucla) score the last 11 points. but i always believe that watching sports is more fun when you talk smack. so i will enjoy and laugh off all of the bruin fans joy and celebration and smak talk, becuase i have just realized the i love memphis (for a few days) and these days will be more enjoyable listening to bruin fan continue to pump themselves up and as they rise fafther up. the crash will be even sweeter.

but all was not lost last night, as duke lost and as a unc fan that is very important. reddick and morrison for the zags both cried. they must of forgotten their is no crying in bas(k)e(t)ball. but texas one at the buzzer so that was a downer (left over resentment from the rose bowl).

anyways... all of that to say... GO MEMPHIS!


Thursday, March 23, 2006

Door of Hope: Monday, March 27

It has been two weeks since we had a great dinner with the Door of Hope in Pasadena. We will again be enjoying dinner with the familes and thier kids on Monday, March 27th @ 5:30 pm. The address is below:

669 N Los Robles Ave, Pasadena, CA 91101.

Tiffany Carr will be leading this trip. She will place a comment with the menu and what people can bring. I really encourage anyone to come out and enjoy themselves. We leave the home at about 7:15 each Monday. Hope you can make it out.


Orioles Update

Monday, March 20, 2006


"We face not one big death in life, but a series of minideaths. Relationships come and go, and we don't always get to choose which ones get restored." Leonard Sweet

this quote has been in my head for the last week or so. i really liked the thought of many minideaths. i guess my life has been full of minideaths, but this last year i have experienced a few restored relationships, while grieving over other minideaths. i could go on for a page about my personal journey, but i will spare all of you and just say that the soul is continually getting better. and i have jesus and his gospel message lighting the road in this journey and he has placed some great people to live this journey with.


i sat (more like stood) at my friend chris' house and watched my beloved tarheels fall to george mason. they started the game blowing them out and than turned over and died in the second half. well on the bright side, they had quite a good rebuilding season and should be top 5 in the preseason. so i now will put all of my energy this week in sending out my good thoughts ( a gatheirng inside joke) toward gonzaga to take down the hated ones. even though yepiz would be very happen and recover from his experience of hanging out with what definitely sounded like my friends i grew up with at anaheim stadium during the mexico usa baseball game.

i do have to say though a great four days of basketball. it lived up to all of the hype... unlike the super bowl. go ZAGS!

Thursday, March 16, 2006

The Greatest Time of Year

What is the greatest time of year?

  • It is the time of year when you can watch 16 hours of college basketball two days in a row.
  • It is the time of year when "a 12 beating a 5 seed" is language that makes sense.
  • It is the time of year when you can watch multiple buzzer beaters.
  • It is the time of year when the world stops, computer networks crash (more crashes than a victoria secret on-line fashion show) and people amazingly get sick and have to miss work
  • It is the time of year that helps us understand why Valentine's Day is in February.
  • It is the time of year that is called March Madness.
It starts today and currently i am the 94,000 person in line to be able to watch this on going event from my office at I will wait patiently for my turn to get a front row seat at my computer to the monumental event. I love this time of year. I just hope Evan or Kade get sick tommorrow and i can stay home tomorrow and care and comfort them in front of channel 2.

I will call some shots for the day right now:

  • UCLA will win today, but they still suck.
  • Syracuse will loose because they will have just run out of gas and a 12 always beats a 5.
  • I like washington, but i think they will be going home also this is the other 5 vs 12 matchup.

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Why do you follow Jesus?

i was part of a group of three (laura, tif and i) who were in charge of leading the discussion and worship time at "The Gathering" this week. I borrowed some thoughts from shane claiborne's book "the irresistible revolution". he has the following quote from tony campolo.

"would you still follow Jesus, if there were no heaven or hell? would you follow him for the life, joy and fulfillment he gives you right now?"

i really like this question. i believe it helps us better understand the depth of our faith. what is our purpose behind our relationship with jesus. does this relationship affect the choices we make on a daily basis? does this relationship affect what we value (maybe like budgets and politics)? does it affect how we interact with god and other people (maybe even transexuals or our ex-wives who cheated on you)? i think it does, but let me take a look at the lack of infatuation with the after life that the jews had in the old testament. Here are two interesting quotes about the Old Testament and the after life.

"Both the lack of obvious religious rites at burial and the lack of interest in graves confirm that Israelite life and faith were centered on the present life and relating to Yahweh in the here and now. Death was the end of this life, not the start of the next…”

Shades of Sheol by Phillip Johnston

The ancient Jews seemed to be focused on remaining part of God’s blessing or covenant on their land in this history, not on achieving life after death beyond history. They wanted to stay reconciled to God so that neither they nor their descendants would lose their land or status as God’s special and chosen people. The Jewish sacrificial system… was instituted to help the people deal with the gap between God’s law and their failure to fulfill it.

“The Last Word and the Word After That” by Brian McClaren

the quotes make it very apparent that the hebrew people were focused on following god in this present world. they were focused on god's promises and ensuring that those promises were passed on to their anscestors. it seems like many people who follow jesus, follow him out of an appreciation that they will not be sent to hell and it can become very selfish (maybe just my perception). most of the people that i meet who are focused on following jesus for the love, joy, fullfillment and mystery of it are usually more about other people and less about themselves.

the hebrews were great at passing thier faith on to the next generation. i think the younger generation want to see a faith that affects they way we interact with our world, people outside our belief system, the poor and those that are forgotten by society. if our faith only secures them a place in heaven (which by the way i do believe in heaven), we continue to raise children who believe our faith is out of touch with this world.

the scary aspect... i think jesus just might agree with them. will you follow jesus for the love, joy, excitement, fulfillment and mystery that it provides? will you live a jesus based faith and not a heaven vs hell based faith?


Crazy Busy...

well my life has been crazy busy, but i need the therapy of blogging so here is some quick comments from the last few days:

  • little league opening day got rained out, our first game is tonite... YEAH!
  • door of hope last night was a great time. tim, erik, devon and tif joined me and my boys for dinner with the community of families that live at the door of hope. and of course everyone loved my spaghetti sauce... who doesn't. after dinner we had a huge royal rumble pillow fight in the living room. it was great to see one girl (9 years old, going on 16) just laugh and have a great time. almaz, one of the workers at door of hope says that she harldly ever sees her smile.
  • the gathering on sunday nite was good also. laura, tif and i led the discussion for the evening. our conversation was centered around the following question: "would you follow jesus even if there were no heaven or hell, just for the joy, excitement and fullfilment of following jesus?" it seemed to be good discussion. i will blog more about this later tonite.
well just thought i'd get up a post with some thoughts. also great post at pablo's blog that has me really thinking.


Thursday, March 09, 2006

Door of Hope

Kade, Evan and I are dedicating every other Monday to hanging out and sharing a meal with our friends at the Door of Hope in Pasadena. The address is 669 N Los Robles Ave
Pasadena, CA 91101. I am inviting anyone who is interested to come out and join us. Here are the next two upcoming dates:

Monday, March 13 th @ 5:30 pm

Monday, March 27 th @ 5:30 pm

I will be bringing Spaghetti on the 13th. If you wish to come here are some options for you to bring:
  • Paper goods for 30 people (plates, napkins, forks, spoons, knives, cups)
  • Drinks (Lemonade, Soda)
  • French Bread
  • Salad and dressing
  • Some Dessert
If you comment on what you would like to bring than people will know what is still available. It is a great time and you can even bring your kids if you have them.

Hope some of you can make it out.

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

Our Moral Choice

A speech by Jim Wallis at a Rally in Washington DC yesterday.

I want to begin with what the Religious Community said all last year: A budget is a moral document! That was our clarion cry in the 2006 budget debate. If some political leaders haven't got the message yet - just wait until this year.

You see, we believe that fiscal choices, economic choices are also moral choices and, for us, even religious choices. Who is important? And who is not? What is important? And what is not? Who do we most value? And who don't we value at all? They are fiscal choices, but also moral and religious matters.

Jesus actually got uncharacteristically judgmental about these kinds of choices. He said, "As you have done to the least of these, you have done to me." Are you paying attention yet, members of Congress?

Because of moral pressure - much of it from the religious community who every day care for the poor that our national politics neglect - last year's budget almost didn't pass. It took a fast trip home from Dick Cheney to pass the budget in the Senate and, in the House, the final budget measure only passed by a few votes. Some elected officials were making new moral choices. But the White House and the Republican leadership seem not to have gotten this message from the religious community, by the look of the new budget they now propose. I thought we were supposed to be their base?

You see a budget process is just a series of moral choices: tax cuts for the wealthiest, or services for the poorest? Congressional pork and earmarks, or investments in the common good? Searching for security through endless expenditures for war, or seeking to end the insecurity of poverty to make our nation stronger? Ignoring the costs of deficits for our children's children, and making the most vulnerable pay the price of fiscal responsibility; or sharing the burdens of financial responsibility more fairly by not asking the poor to carry the heaviest load?

These are all moral choices. Those with the power to make budget proposals have made their moral choices; and so will we. They are choosing to bestow more windfalls of benefit on their wealthy donors - that's their moral choice. We will stand up for the low-income families that we know and serve and whom they will again ignore - no, assault - that's our moral choice.

They are choosing the corruption of rewarding the special interests who pay for them - that's their moral choice. We will defend those who have the most need - that's our moral choice. They will place no limits on money for wars that have no end, and weapons systems that have no need - that's their moral choice. We will not let them cut vital programs of nutrition, health care, child care, and education to pay for their bad choices - that's our moral choice.

Here is what the biblical prophet Isaiah says about their moral choices: "Woe to the legislators of infamous laws, to those who issue tyrannical decrees, who refuse justice to the unfortunate and cheat the poor among my people of their rights, and make widows their prey and rob the orphan."

Last Dec. 14, 115 Christians who work with the poor every day, interrupted their works of compassion to come to the Capitol-to pray, preach, and prophesy. And we were taken to jail. Mary Nelson, from Chicago, looked up at the congressional staff and members looking out their windows and invited them, "Come walk with us."

John Perkins, 75-year-old evangelical and Black church leader who has spent his life in faithful ministry with poor people, told the story of his mother's death from a nutritional deficiency when he was seven months old. John said he was breastfeeding at the time and thought for years that he had killed her. Only later, he said, did I realize that a white society doesn't care about the nutrition of poor black women and their families. And now they're trying to cut food stamps from this budget. Then he emotionally said, "This is my last stand," before he was arrested.

Due in part to the pressure from religious community - we saved food stamps from cuts. Now, the proposed cuts stamps are back. People should know that many of those arrested last December voted for George Bush, some twice. Now they get arrested to protest his moral choices. They were his base, they are no longer.

The media noted that the words religious, Christian, even evangelical, are no longer just alongside the words abortion and gay marriage, but now alongside words like food stamps, health care, and education. Get used to it. When the politicians pat faith-based organizations on the back for doing such a wonderful job, they are now turning around and saying, "Stop hurting the people we work with and care about!" Come walk with us.

After the vote, Republicans e-mailed me, "I just want you to know that I voted against this budget and am listening to the religious community." Bless you. Overcoming poverty must be a bipartisan commitment and a nonpartisan cause. The religious community will ask Democrats to stand firm against this budget violence against poor people, to make the moral choice of favoring the poor over the rich - which is also a biblical choice. Democrats must get religion on the budget.

And we will ask Republicans: Follow your conscience, not your party. Help your party make better moral choices than favoring the rich over the poor - stop turning the biblical wisdom upside down - and then having the nerve to claim that you are the religion-friendly party! It's time for Republicans to get religion on this budget.

We've had a year of organizing around the budget in the religious community. We are watching this debate very carefully. We will hold our elected officials accountable in 2006 and 2008 for their votes on this budget - whether they vote for or against poor families.

If you think we were aroused last year, we were just getting started. Budgets are moral documents and we will fight this budget. And that's our moral choice.

Monday, March 06, 2006

Alhambra Young People

I just left a great meeting with Mary Glenn from Kingdomcauses in Alhambra. She has been networking with local churches, city leaders, and local business people in Alhambra for the last couple of years. She truly has a heart for the city of Alhambra. We were discussing what are the immediate needs and concerns in the city of Alhambra.

It was amazing that what Pablo and I had heard from local young people. She had been hearing from churches and even a survey that the local library had done. Kids have no place to go. The city probably has over 5,000 kids in junior high and high school, but no community center to hang out in. The city has no active mentoring program for young people either. The city probation officers and school social workers are overrun by kids wanting and needing someone to talk to, a person that will value them and point them in the right direction.

As we talked, we all saw a clear dream of a place kids could hang out after school and meet people who care about them and want to see them suceed in life. We saw a mentoring program for adjudicated youth that as they are released from juvenile hall. They are directed to a program that will help them navigate themselves back into society. We saw a place that bands and hip hop artists could record albums. We saw a place that valued youth and would allow them to express themsleves. I was so excited. I saw a glimpse of the Kingdom of God. A place of inclusivness and a place that true incarnational ministry could happen, as Christ became flesh and lived among us. I saw a place that followers of Christ could live among young people and help transform their lives.

If I may ask, I would ask that you pray. Pray for Mary Glenn, as she will be the lead person to gather six different churches to begin to dream this dream together. Pray for Pablo, Tim Logan (a high schooler that I love to get mixed up in my dreams), myself and other people from the Gathering (our faith community) to better understand our role as servants for the Kingdom of God. As we follow Mary into this endeavor, we pray that God would clear the way for a miracle. Pray also as i draft a proposal to the police department to attempt to create a trial run of a mentoring program for adjudicated youth, God has a heart for those that the world has given up on. Jesus spent his time having meals with tax collectors, prostitues and zealots. I pray that we could potentially throw the type of party in honor of kids who need another chance and that they would be able to see the Kingdom of God as something to join and revolutionalize thier lives and their community.

Sunday, March 05, 2006

I like this picture

 Posted by Picasa

I am excited to present to you Johnny and Kristen Garcia!

It has been one exciting week of events that was capped off by Johnny and Kristen's Wedding on Saturday evening. I had the privilege of being able to marry them in Anaheim at the White House. Johnny lost is the moment she turned the corner and he could see her in the dress. I looked over at him and his eyes were starting to gush. It was beautiful and his brother "Jai" was just smiling away. (Jai was another story from Thursday night... we will save that for offline conversations.)

The highlight of the ceremony was when I asked Johnny if he had a ring to express his love for Kristen and as he answered YES! Kristen remembered that her ring for Johnny was still in the car. Her friend tiffany raced to the car, grabbed the ring and the ceremony continued. The second highlight was as a I prayed for them, a helicopter came right over the restaraunt. So i hope Johnny and Kristen heard something, but i am pretty sure the rest of the place missed it.

But we made it through the ceremony, Johnny kissed the bride and the guests headed upstairs.

It was a great time celebrating Johnny and Kristen coming together to be a family. And all of our freinds from La Habra welcomed her into our extended family. As Chris, Jose, Jake and I caught up and drained the $500 tab Johnny had at the bar. We also ate the prettiest food we had ever seen. We ended the evening with some great toasts from family and friends and devoured some cake. We than sent Johnny and Kristen off to Mexico for the week. And I made sure that as Johnny returned he would have a great time with one of their presents as I bought him a new PS2 for a wedding present. I'm sure Kristen got everything else they wanted, so I had to make sure Johnny got something off HIS list.

Well for those of you, who do not know Johnny. He is family and i love him as a brother. So i hope you enjoyed the Wedding Post.


Team Orioles!

Our first game will be Saturday, March 11th at 2:00 pm.
Game 2: Tuesday, March 14 at 5:15 pm.
Game 3: Saturday, March 18 at 1:00 pm.
It is on!!

Orioles All-Star and the Bat Boy!

Kade would call this the silly pose!