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One thing worth saying all the time

I like to introduce other ways of following Jesus

Rebecca Littlejohn
Rebecca Littlejohn

Vista La Mesa Christian Church

Contact: 4210 Massachusetts Ave., La Mesa 619-463-9909 www.vlmcc.org

Membership: 120

Pastor: Rebecca Littlejohn

Age: 42

Born: Peoria, IL

Formation: Carleton College, Northfield, MN; Pacific School of Religion, Berkeley

Years Ordained: 17

San Diego Reader: What is your favorite subject on which to preach?

Pastor Rebecca Littlejohn: There is only one thing worth saying all the time. For me, each one of my sermons will often have two points – God loves you very much and God loves everyone else very much. If you love God, you have to love what God loves and live your life that way. It’s a multidirectional love. If we say we love God, we are called to love what God loves actively. We can’t simply say we do this, but must live it in our lives.

SDR: What is the mission of your church?

PL: We recently finished a mural on the retaining wall behind our parking lot. The slogan on the mural is “Celebrating the unity and diversity of the body of Christ.” We had a seminary intern this last year and the mural was his spring project. He did interviews and surveyed the congregation to find out what needed to be represented in the mural. Somehow we managed to put all of that together and get it up on the wall, and had a professional muralist help us. But we did a lot of the painting ourselves.

SDR: What book has had the greatest influence on your formation as a pastor?

PL: Woman Hollering Creek and Other Stories by Sandra Cisneros. The book is a collection of short stories. I think in some unusual ways, it helped me cement my attachment to alternate images for God. It helped me explore the image of the abuelita or grandmother god. One part of my calling is helping people accept Christianity. Many reject it because they have a particular idea of what it is, but that idea doesn’t have to be what Christianity is. I like to introduce other ways of following Jesus. Half of what people say they hate about what they think Christianity is happen to be things that I hate too. Yet here I am, being a pastor. No one in this church is going to force that down your throat. Most of us here don’t buy that line either.

SDR: Where do you go when you die?

PL: I am a hopeful agnostic on that question. I believe God is good and we are all held by God. There are many people for whom the idea that they will see their loved ones after death is extremely comforting. I am comfortable talking about that authentically in a worship service. I don’t necessarily literally believe that is going to happen the way we picture it, but firmly I believe it’s going to be OK. And that’s what matters. I’m not afraid of death.

SDR: What happens to people who reject God?

PL: When you look at the levels of injustice, hatred, greed and corruption in the world, it’s hard to admit that people who do such things at some level and in some way are beloved children of God and can be redeemed. I don’t think that death is so final that redemption can’t happen after death, but the phrase “special place in hell” is satisfying for us. It’s a temptation, though; it’s not a holy thing to think that. I don’t really believe in hell and sometimes I wish I did.

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Rebecca Littlejohn
Rebecca Littlejohn

Vista La Mesa Christian Church

Contact: 4210 Massachusetts Ave., La Mesa 619-463-9909 www.vlmcc.org

Membership: 120

Pastor: Rebecca Littlejohn

Age: 42

Born: Peoria, IL

Formation: Carleton College, Northfield, MN; Pacific School of Religion, Berkeley

Years Ordained: 17

San Diego Reader: What is your favorite subject on which to preach?

Pastor Rebecca Littlejohn: There is only one thing worth saying all the time. For me, each one of my sermons will often have two points – God loves you very much and God loves everyone else very much. If you love God, you have to love what God loves and live your life that way. It’s a multidirectional love. If we say we love God, we are called to love what God loves actively. We can’t simply say we do this, but must live it in our lives.

SDR: What is the mission of your church?

PL: We recently finished a mural on the retaining wall behind our parking lot. The slogan on the mural is “Celebrating the unity and diversity of the body of Christ.” We had a seminary intern this last year and the mural was his spring project. He did interviews and surveyed the congregation to find out what needed to be represented in the mural. Somehow we managed to put all of that together and get it up on the wall, and had a professional muralist help us. But we did a lot of the painting ourselves.

SDR: What book has had the greatest influence on your formation as a pastor?

PL: Woman Hollering Creek and Other Stories by Sandra Cisneros. The book is a collection of short stories. I think in some unusual ways, it helped me cement my attachment to alternate images for God. It helped me explore the image of the abuelita or grandmother god. One part of my calling is helping people accept Christianity. Many reject it because they have a particular idea of what it is, but that idea doesn’t have to be what Christianity is. I like to introduce other ways of following Jesus. Half of what people say they hate about what they think Christianity is happen to be things that I hate too. Yet here I am, being a pastor. No one in this church is going to force that down your throat. Most of us here don’t buy that line either.

SDR: Where do you go when you die?

PL: I am a hopeful agnostic on that question. I believe God is good and we are all held by God. There are many people for whom the idea that they will see their loved ones after death is extremely comforting. I am comfortable talking about that authentically in a worship service. I don’t necessarily literally believe that is going to happen the way we picture it, but firmly I believe it’s going to be OK. And that’s what matters. I’m not afraid of death.

SDR: What happens to people who reject God?

PL: When you look at the levels of injustice, hatred, greed and corruption in the world, it’s hard to admit that people who do such things at some level and in some way are beloved children of God and can be redeemed. I don’t think that death is so final that redemption can’t happen after death, but the phrase “special place in hell” is satisfying for us. It’s a temptation, though; it’s not a holy thing to think that. I don’t really believe in hell and sometimes I wish I did.

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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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