Category Archives: friends

how do you know?

“You keep telling yourself what you know. But what do you believe? What do you feel?” said Mal to her husband Cobb.

There are many layers to the movie Inception and on my second viewing with new friends from my new doctoral cohort, I was captivated by the questions surrounding how we know, believe, feel and experience reality.

As a part of an earlier conversation in the day, Len Sweet shared that we can recognize reality by it pushing back. This is the future story we will live with holograms and avatars. Inception poses the solution of knowing reality by the physical marker of a totem–a physical item with specific characteristics and weight unique to every person. This makes a great deal of sense to me when I think about the Reality of God.

What are your totems that bring you back to the Reality of God?


the burn of horseradish

Last night a group of 13 of us ate a Passover Seder meal together at our house; it was a very unique time of looking forward to Easter and the fulfillment of this meal. One of the most unique elements of the meal is Maror (bitter herbs) as represented by horseradish.

Have you ever eaten raw horseradish? We all picked up a small piece at the same time and ate it together. As we took our first bite together, everyone was gasping for air, looking for something to drink and choking back tears. It was honestly five minutes of hilarity as I was nearly dying and looking around at everyone else’s reaction.

One of the participants last night shared this article with me this morning so we can grown our own horseradish for next year. Anyone interested?

engaging the world we live in

Yesterday, I caught up with a friend from Seminary named Shane Hipps who has published a few books both focusing on how media influence and affect our lives and perspectives of lives.

I admit that I haven’t read either of his books yet but would love a free moment to do so at some point in the near future. What I find engaging in my conversations with Shane is that he has a remarkable way to engage personally and think deeply. It is always refreshing to engage with him and I remember this back to conversations in seminary. There are just some people that give and bring life to my life and Shane is one of them. Although I haven’t read his books, I imagine they are deeply personal and get underneath our assumptions about life and faith. Hope to read one or both in the coming months.


Last night, I had the opportunity to anoint with oil half of our 545 Gathering and I found myself honored as people from our community moved forward toward me, allowed and even welcomed me to put my finger on their foreheads and make the sign of the cross as I said this simple phrase, “I anoint you with oil but be filled with the Holy Spirit.”

There are certain tangible acts (the Lord’s table, baptism, laying on with hands and anointing with oil) that our community participates in that transcend basic acts of worship. When I engage in these acts, I am consistently left contemplating how amazing God is to work through people like me (frail, despicable, sinful and at the same time holy). As I connected with people through this simple act, I looked people in the eye, put a small amount of oil on my finger and then when I could, I would address them by name and say the phrase above. It was a unique and special night for me.

There were many people there last night that are special in my transition to Solana Beach PC. At one point in the process of anointing, I realized that there was a young couple that was moving forward for me to anoint them who would be moving this week to work in another church in Champaign, Illinois. As they made their way closer and closer to me, I felt emotion that I did not expect.

I had mixed emotions as they moved closer to me. There was a longing inside of me that said, “Stay! Please, stay and join with us in our movement to become a missional church. We need your help. I need your help.” And at the same time, I wanted to celebrate with them as God will use them in incredible ways as they move to Illinois and use their gifts for his movement in our world.

As I anointed them with oil, I had tears in my eyes at what God was doing in our community of faith as they move on and what God is doing in their lives as they move. I will miss you Kamin’s. I hope we keep in touch and if it doesn’t work out in Illinois, I hope and pray that God would lead you back to our community.

This story is just one of many stories of movement in and out of our community of faith in the past year and a half. These stories of movement make me think about the transitory state of young adults and what a moving target we are. This movement of people to and from our community, makes me realize how out of control much of life is.

My primary role in our community of faith is to cultivate an environment where young adults (18-35 year olds) find life in Jesus Christ and his community of faith. In the last year, I have experienced highs and lows of this role and call to cultivate this kind of space for young adults. In our transitory cultural setting of North County San Diego, how do we create this space where young adults intentionally put down roots, use their gifts and invest in our community? Yes, I want the gifts of young adults recognized, used and sent out across the world (even Illinois) but I also long for people to settle in and make a home in our larger community. At this point in my life, I have more questions than answers.