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King of Kings Lutheran Church

Place

King of Kings Lutheran Church

2993 Macdonald Street, Oceanside




Membership: 325

Pastor: James Jerpseth

Age: 51

Born: Graceville, Minnesota

Formation: University of California-San Diego (Engineering); Pacific Lutheran Theological Seminary, Berkeley

Years Ordained: 14 years

San Diego Reader: What is your main concern as a member of the clergy?

Pastor James Jerpseth: I think the main concern I have is really for my children and their generation. I have kids that are 13, 11, and 2. I think about what kind of world we’re leaving them. What does it mean when there are fewer people who believe or act in a compassionate manner to those around them? What does that imply for our world, especially as we become a divisive country on so many different levels? The gospels seek to unify and build relations and talks about forgiveness. We live in a country that is bent on dividing itself into different colored states and different political parties; yet we’re called to a completely different message. It’s harder to get that message across and transmit it to the next generation.

SDR: Why is “sin” still a valid concept in your congregation?

PJ: We just went through a whole Lutheran basics course in Sunday school and some of the sermons we had as a reminder that for Lutherans sin is not that list of things your mother told you not to do. Sin is a state of being, a separation from God…. We are on our own, basically, in sin and not in complete relationship with God. But Jesus, who is in complete relationship with God, which is why he’s sinless, is not separated from God. He comes to redeem humanity and bridge that gap back to God, because there’s no way we can go from where we are to where God is on our own.

SDR: Where do you go when you die?

PJ: God is a whole lot more gracious than I would ever be, and he is more inviting and open than you or I could imagine. Just like a parent would never want his child to be exiled, God is our heavenly parent and he would not want us to be exiled from him. So, God wishes to draw us back home, just as a parent wants to draw a child back home for Thanksgiving or Christmas. I think that desire rules God’s heart more than what congregation or denomination you went to, or whether you said this or that prayer correctly or incorrectly. I think God’s love is more like a parent’s love, and for that reason God is more gracious and forgiving than we can be. He opens the doors we think are shut.

SDR: How does that graciousness and forgiveness relate to the afterlife from the standpoint of heaven and hell?

PJ: If heaven is being with God, then hell is not being with God. That’s a concept I picked up from C.S. Lewis in The Great Divorce. He says hell is a crack in the sidewalk of heaven, and it’s a place where God isn’t. Only those who wish to be absent from God send themselves there, but God wishes to draw us to heaven, to himself, to eternal life. But, like a parent, God can’t force us to do that. We have some choice in the matter and God wishes us to choose heaven, and he will be more gracious to open the door to heaven than we might think.

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Place

King of Kings Lutheran Church

2993 Macdonald Street, Oceanside




Membership: 325

Pastor: James Jerpseth

Age: 51

Born: Graceville, Minnesota

Formation: University of California-San Diego (Engineering); Pacific Lutheran Theological Seminary, Berkeley

Years Ordained: 14 years

San Diego Reader: What is your main concern as a member of the clergy?

Pastor James Jerpseth: I think the main concern I have is really for my children and their generation. I have kids that are 13, 11, and 2. I think about what kind of world we’re leaving them. What does it mean when there are fewer people who believe or act in a compassionate manner to those around them? What does that imply for our world, especially as we become a divisive country on so many different levels? The gospels seek to unify and build relations and talks about forgiveness. We live in a country that is bent on dividing itself into different colored states and different political parties; yet we’re called to a completely different message. It’s harder to get that message across and transmit it to the next generation.

SDR: Why is “sin” still a valid concept in your congregation?

PJ: We just went through a whole Lutheran basics course in Sunday school and some of the sermons we had as a reminder that for Lutherans sin is not that list of things your mother told you not to do. Sin is a state of being, a separation from God…. We are on our own, basically, in sin and not in complete relationship with God. But Jesus, who is in complete relationship with God, which is why he’s sinless, is not separated from God. He comes to redeem humanity and bridge that gap back to God, because there’s no way we can go from where we are to where God is on our own.

SDR: Where do you go when you die?

PJ: God is a whole lot more gracious than I would ever be, and he is more inviting and open than you or I could imagine. Just like a parent would never want his child to be exiled, God is our heavenly parent and he would not want us to be exiled from him. So, God wishes to draw us back home, just as a parent wants to draw a child back home for Thanksgiving or Christmas. I think that desire rules God’s heart more than what congregation or denomination you went to, or whether you said this or that prayer correctly or incorrectly. I think God’s love is more like a parent’s love, and for that reason God is more gracious and forgiving than we can be. He opens the doors we think are shut.

SDR: How does that graciousness and forgiveness relate to the afterlife from the standpoint of heaven and hell?

PJ: If heaven is being with God, then hell is not being with God. That’s a concept I picked up from C.S. Lewis in The Great Divorce. He says hell is a crack in the sidewalk of heaven, and it’s a place where God isn’t. Only those who wish to be absent from God send themselves there, but God wishes to draw us to heaven, to himself, to eternal life. But, like a parent, God can’t force us to do that. We have some choice in the matter and God wishes us to choose heaven, and he will be more gracious to open the door to heaven than we might think.

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4S Ranch Allied Gardens Alpine Baja Balboa Park Bankers Hill Barrio Logan Bay Ho Bay Park Black Mountain Ranch Blossom Valley Bonita Bonsall Borrego Springs Boulevard Campo Cardiff-by-the-Sea Carlsbad Carmel Mountain Carmel Valley Chollas View Chula Vista City College City Heights Clairemont College Area Coronado CSU San Marcos Cuyamaca College Del Cerro Del Mar Descanso Downtown San Diego Eastlake East Village El Cajon Emerald Hills Encanto Encinitas Escondido Fallbrook Fletcher Hills Golden Hill Grant Hill Grantville Grossmont College Guatay Harbor Island Hillcrest Imperial Beach Imperial Valley Jacumba Jamacha-Lomita Jamul Julian Kearny Mesa Kensington La Jolla Lakeside La Mesa Lemon Grove Leucadia Liberty Station Lincoln Acres Lincoln Park Linda Vista Little Italy Logan Heights Mesa College Midway District MiraCosta College Miramar Miramar College Mira Mesa Mission Beach Mission Hills Mission Valley Mountain View Mount Hope Mount Laguna National City Nestor Normal Heights North Park Oak Park Ocean Beach Oceanside Old Town Otay Mesa Pacific Beach Pala Palomar College Palomar Mountain Paradise Hills Pauma Valley Pine Valley Point Loma Point Loma Nazarene Potrero Poway Rainbow Ramona Rancho Bernardo Rancho Penasquitos Rancho San Diego Rancho Santa Fe Rolando San Carlos San Marcos San Onofre Santa Ysabel Santee San Ysidro Scripps Ranch SDSU Serra Mesa Shelltown Shelter Island Sherman Heights Skyline Solana Beach Sorrento Valley Southcrest South Park Southwestern College Spring Valley Stockton Talmadge Temecula Tierrasanta Tijuana UCSD University City University Heights USD Valencia Park Valley Center Vista Warner Springs
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