Letter to the Editor

Shadow Mountain church sets up in Hillcrest

[continued] I guess that’s a big reason why my wife and I decided to start a church here in North Park. Because we think a lot of the issues at the heart of Christianity are systemic, and it’s going to take movements of new thinking to start truly making a difference. Simply criticizing the us-versus-them messaging and theology of churches like Shadow Mountain isn’t enough. And, quite frankly, won’t help in the long run. But getting a Gospel message out there that is centered around the love and grace of Jesus for all people? That recognizes everyone’s place as sons and daughters of the Creator? That does away with the insider/outsider language? A church that collectively drops the rocks of judgment, which in turn frees up our hands to reach out and grab someone else’s in a gesture of peace and unity? That, I think, is what Christianity can start humbly offering the world again. Sojourn Grace Collective is San Diego’s Progressive Christian Church. Ironically, we started holding services at Garfield Elementary School in North Park at about the same time that Shadow Mountain moved in to Hillcrest. Beyond responding to the call we felt to create a faith community that celebrates all, we adamantly believe that this world is more ready for a message of hope and love and peace and grace than ever before. So, if you live in the area and are bothered by the new Shadow Mountain campus, please know that there is at least one other church in the neighborhood that doesn’t see you as darkness that needs light. There is a church, a Christian church, advocating for a new understanding of the call of Jesus. That is what Sojourn Grace Collective is all about, and we are thrilled to be a movement of love here in San Diego. Colby Martin, North Park
— June 19, 2014 11:54 a.m.

Shadow Mountain church sets up in Hillcrest

Last week news broke that Shadow Mountain Community Church had taken over an almost-shut down church building in Hillcrest. The conservative Evangelical Mega Church from El Cajon saw an opportunity to acquire a building and expand their mission to “teach the truth of God’s Word,” as stated on their website. The new satellite campus was launched with a video that included one woman declaring how excited she was “to actually get a chance to grow and flourish in what would be a dark, dark neighborhood.” To be fair, we don’t know precisely what she meant. My initial assumption is that she is borrowing a metaphor used by Jesus to describe the church’s mission to be “lights of the world.” And the darkness she mentions? Presumably (and I don’t consider this a stretch, here) that is in reference to what many conservative Christians often call “the gay lifestyle.” Again, we may not know exactly what she meant, but I don’t think it’s a huge leap to go: A) Conservative Christian Church opens campus in Hillcrest; B) Church-goer uses typical metaphor to label a place as dark; C) Hillcrest is known for its strong LGBT presence; therefore D) The darkness of the neighborhood is linked to the gay community and the church sees itself as having an opportunity to be a light in a sinful place. As a fellow Christian pastor I am, in some ways of course, grateful for the years of service that Dr. David Jeremiah and Shadow Mountain Community Church have invested to proclaim the Gospel of Jesus Christ, even if he and I differ significantly on what that Gospel message actually is. And I can identify with the woman in the video who genuinely is enthused about the possibility of bringing the Light of Christ to other people. I was that woman for a number of years, confident that I knew what “light” and “dark” looked like, and certain that my mission was to seek out darkness and be a source of light. Confident. Certain. Two words that, incidentally, also describe the men who were caught throwing rocks in John 8 (you likely know the story by its other, less helpful or accurate name, “The Woman Caught in Adultery”). They were confident the woman was darkness and certain in their role to be light, i.e. execute judgment. And yet, Jesus forced them to reconcile with the fact that perhaps they didn’t know as much as they thought they knew. Their confidence turned to diffidence and their certainty to shame as they dropped their rocks and walked away, questioning their capacity to be arbiters in the whole game of light and dark. Both the men holding rocks and the woman in the video are products of belief systems they were raised and/or trained in. So rather than just attacking “them” by picking up our own rocks, what if we changed the conversation from the tired old us-versus-them language and theology, and instead leaned in to the words of Harvey Milk to reach out to all of humanity and “give them hope”?
— June 19, 2014 11:52 a.m.

Ferrets Eat Babies. They Shred Human Tissue. They Drink Blood.

To wit, as to Ferrets eating babies, etc.... I've been an owner of ferrets, both age's of 4 months and up to 6 yrs of age, and none of mine have ever attempted to eat my kids, or chew on any of my family and relatives and nearby friends that have come with their children to visit and play with any of the ferrets of their choice. I have at least one 6 year old female that is a mouser, when allowed out of the main habitat to exercise about my home....sometimes you'll see her come from the back pantry room with a small mouse in her mouth and she'll take it to her hideaway she has underneath my cedar chest. When she's finished with her meal of it, she often brings out the last of it within my reach to toss it out. I know when she wants something from me, as she will tap my foot and then dook 3-4x to get my attention...she is the more tamed and behaved of the bunch, and also 1 of 2 that are considered to be the leaders, as they both were acquired together and act as a mated pair, (although neither are breedable,) but they show they care for each other. Of all of the ferrets that I now share my home with, I just find it very odd, for the article to be of a factual nature...now I could believe it, if the dogs had been starving and they attacked and chewed on the child because of the smell of Milk on the childs' lips, as in the article that happened in Chicago, ILL back in the early '70s...that one story just un-nerved me so much I couldn't stand the sight of a Dob or a Shepard for a long, long time. But I had raised toy poodles at that time and none of those ever showed any signs of aggressive behavior toward, my then baby daughter, instead; they were the best protection a child could ever had, cause my mothers' white poodle, thought the baby belonged to my mother, and barked up a storm when I attempted to pickup my daughter, then age 8 months out of her crib, until my mother woke up to silence the dog, and explain to the white poodle that I was the mother, and she was the 'grandmother'. (After that there was not anymore problems from my mothers' little toy guardian poodle and/or my tiny toy silver poodle, that would also stand guard underneath the crib while my baby was asleep. :) But back to my current ferrets and their habits, I've taken mine outside on several walks about the neighborhood, and we often take them to one of the local parks, so they can play on and around the dual slide's, that they have there. It's amazing what you find that what can entertain a child, and/or even be used for a child; can also be used for a Ferret too! *Just a small tip for new owners of baby ferrets that are teething, look in the children's baby accessories for items that have hard plastic ends or a partial stuffed animal with a solid plastic teething hands and feet on it, you're ferret will love it, just like our 4 month old baby 'Meka' loves hers' :) Jacqueline
— June 16, 2014 9:38 p.m.

Horizon Christian Fellowship, Clairemont

As a long time attendee/member of the fellowship (Horizon Christian), I need to make straight some of the statements by your article author. First, where Horizon has been at the head of 100s of churches starting all around the globe, it is not in control of those churches. They may have been blessed to go out: Win, Disciple, Send; mission statement, but they are not under any governance of Horizon San Diego. There are no honchos of the fellowship. There is a staff, and Mike (MacIntosh) is the Lead Pastor. He is the founder of HorizonSD, but just one of many (many) that have helped to develop the fellowship. Now, where the author of the article suggests that the buildings of the Scripps Ranch property have been unoccupied for over 15 years, that is wrong too, as the School of Evangelism was there just a few years ago. But because the community really doesn’t want a church there, or the City doesn’t want the property not to collect large property taxes, Horizon has not been able to establish the land for worship either through direct use or selling to other house of worship group. Horizon is just looking to get back what it has put into the property & really could use the income as they might be out of a home for the fellowship soon as the SD School district has sold their Mt. Alifan property that the church put in well over a million dollar$. We’ve always wanted to be good neighbors, and thought beautification & improvement would help not only help the school: Horizon High, & daycare, but would also make a more appealing place for the neighborhood. The property was leased to Horizon many decades ago because it was being vandalized, was dangerous, and a major eye sore to the community. Horizon doesn’t care what is developed on the Scripps Ranch property as long as they can get the needed funds out of the property. Well, let me re-say that, they care, as a Christian organization, but it is not ultimately up to them. They, WE, need the funds put into the property to prepare for our next 30 years here in San Diego. We want to keep hosting one of the best high schools of the region. We want to grow back the body of believers that once numbered in the multithousands, if not double digit thousands that once attended the church(es) weekly. We have been a good neighbor and look forward to many many more decades of helping those less fortunate to find a better life, whether or not they attend the fellowship. — Daniel Beeman, 25-year attendee of Horizon Christian Fellowship of San Diego.
— March 27, 2014 5:34 p.m.

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