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Book of Deuteronomy: love everyone to life

The difference between living and intentionally choosing life

Karla Shaw
Karla Shaw

Point Loma Community

  • Presbyterian Church
  • Contact: 2128 Chatsworth Boulevard, San Diego 619-223-1633 www.pointlomachurch.org
  • Membership: 965
  • Pastor: Karla Shaw
  • Age: 45
  • Born: Bismarck, North Dakota
  • Formation: Messiah University, Mechanicsburg, PA; Fuller Theological Seminary, Pasadena
  • Years Ordained: 10

San Diego Reader: What is the mission of your church?

Pastor Karla Shaw: Our vision is to love everyone to life with everything we have. That idea comes from the Book of Deuteronomy, when Moses was expounding to the Israelites to choose life and you will live. There’s a difference between living and intentionally choosing life in order to have abundant living. We as a church believe loving everyone to life with everything we have involves not just the spiritual nature of a person, but also the physical, mental, emotional and communal parts of a person.

SDR: Where is the strangest place you found God?

PS: I went through a period of about six years during my time in seminary when I wondered whether I believed in God. I wouldn’t go so far as to say I didn’t believe – but I certainly engaged in a rational thought process as to whether this belief in God was all total crap. At the end of that six years, I remember sitting at a desert at the Getty Center in L.A. — there is a desert portion to the Center, and I was there to spend a quiet day with a group. We could choose anywhere to go in the Center, and I chose the desert because that’s how I felt internally. I remember, though, that I was bowled away, sitting in that desert, by the presence of God — I hadn’t felt the presence of God in years. I sensed the presence, not in the desert, but far away on a balcony I could see in another part of the Getty Center. I sensed God saying, “I see you. You’re OK. Stay there as long as you want. I’m still here.” Even though it took me another year to come out of what I called the dark night of the senses, it was a very powerful experience for me in my faith journey.

SDR: Where do you go when you die?

PS: Scriptures don’t talk much about that. There is a lot of theology that has come out about a lot of things that scripture doesn’t talk about much. I believe who we are in this life and the relationship we begin with God continues in the next, which includes being in the presence of God in a powerful way. But heaven is not a place; it’s a person and a presence, and it doesn’t start when we die. It starts now. And don’t ask me about hell, because I don’t really know. I think hell is just the absence of God, and if it’s God’s desire that all people come to know him, which scripture says is clearly the case, then does God not get what he wants? Because this arbitrary thing we call death is the end of life as we know it, biologically, we assume that’s the final door. But who knows? There might be another door, and another door, and another door, until God gets what he wants. I’m not a Hindu, but I can understand the idea of reincarnation. It’s not part of the Biblical text, but it does fit with the sovereignty of God. How do we know? We don’t.

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Karla Shaw
Karla Shaw

Point Loma Community

  • Presbyterian Church
  • Contact: 2128 Chatsworth Boulevard, San Diego 619-223-1633 www.pointlomachurch.org
  • Membership: 965
  • Pastor: Karla Shaw
  • Age: 45
  • Born: Bismarck, North Dakota
  • Formation: Messiah University, Mechanicsburg, PA; Fuller Theological Seminary, Pasadena
  • Years Ordained: 10

San Diego Reader: What is the mission of your church?

Pastor Karla Shaw: Our vision is to love everyone to life with everything we have. That idea comes from the Book of Deuteronomy, when Moses was expounding to the Israelites to choose life and you will live. There’s a difference between living and intentionally choosing life in order to have abundant living. We as a church believe loving everyone to life with everything we have involves not just the spiritual nature of a person, but also the physical, mental, emotional and communal parts of a person.

SDR: Where is the strangest place you found God?

PS: I went through a period of about six years during my time in seminary when I wondered whether I believed in God. I wouldn’t go so far as to say I didn’t believe – but I certainly engaged in a rational thought process as to whether this belief in God was all total crap. At the end of that six years, I remember sitting at a desert at the Getty Center in L.A. — there is a desert portion to the Center, and I was there to spend a quiet day with a group. We could choose anywhere to go in the Center, and I chose the desert because that’s how I felt internally. I remember, though, that I was bowled away, sitting in that desert, by the presence of God — I hadn’t felt the presence of God in years. I sensed the presence, not in the desert, but far away on a balcony I could see in another part of the Getty Center. I sensed God saying, “I see you. You’re OK. Stay there as long as you want. I’m still here.” Even though it took me another year to come out of what I called the dark night of the senses, it was a very powerful experience for me in my faith journey.

SDR: Where do you go when you die?

PS: Scriptures don’t talk much about that. There is a lot of theology that has come out about a lot of things that scripture doesn’t talk about much. I believe who we are in this life and the relationship we begin with God continues in the next, which includes being in the presence of God in a powerful way. But heaven is not a place; it’s a person and a presence, and it doesn’t start when we die. It starts now. And don’t ask me about hell, because I don’t really know. I think hell is just the absence of God, and if it’s God’s desire that all people come to know him, which scripture says is clearly the case, then does God not get what he wants? Because this arbitrary thing we call death is the end of life as we know it, biologically, we assume that’s the final door. But who knows? There might be another door, and another door, and another door, until God gets what he wants. I’m not a Hindu, but I can understand the idea of reincarnation. It’s not part of the Biblical text, but it does fit with the sovereignty of God. How do we know? We don’t.

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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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