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Stories by Joseph O'Brien

Like getting to the center of a jelly-filled donut

“When I said, ‘Yes,’ it became a journey of understanding and discovery”

Parkway Hills Church Contact: 1227 Eastlake Parkway, Chula Vista 619-656-3697 www.phnaz.com Membership: 150 Pastor: Tim Fillmore Age: 57 Born: Placerville Formation: Nazarene Bible College, Colorado Springs, CO; Point Loma Nazarene University Years Ordained: 19 San ...

A Mai Tai that courts the palate with a flourish of flavors

Find the enlightened purity of the Buddha himself at the Monkey King

The Monkey King (aka Sun Wukong), a Buddhist superhero of Chinese legend, carries a 17-ton staff and can travel 13,500 miles in one somersault. He can also effortlessly transform into any inanimate object or living ...

Is human nature inherently good or bad?

Yang Xiong's The Fayan collects dialogues and aphorisms on a wide variety of philosophical questions

Yang Xiong As for the sage’s governance of all under Heaven, he uses li and music as the standard. If there were no li and music, then people would be the same as beasts. If ...

“Keep the party going”

Building my heart for homeless neighbors

First Baptist Church of Bostonia Contact: 1025 N 2nd St, El Cajon 619-444-1374 www.firstbaptistchurchofbostonia.weebly.com Membership: 150 Pastor: Van Tarpley Age: 46 Born: Baltimore, MD Formation: Johns Hopkins, Baltimore; Indiana University, Claremont school of Theology, San ...

His tenderest mercies

Known for his polemical works against anti-Catholic laws

Charles Plowden, SJ Ages succeed ages; empires subvert empires. But the empire of Jesus Christ perseveres ever one and the same, ever persecuted and ever conquering. Because all human revolutions are entirely subservient to it, ...

Catholic means “universal”

I think God honors our choices. That’s the scary part.

Marine Corps Recruitment Depot Contact: 1600 Henderson Ave, San Diego 619-524-8720 www.mcrdsd.marines.mil Membership: “More than a thousand.” Chaplain: Father Joseph Coffey Rank: Commander Age: 58 Born: Rochester, MN (grew up in Philadelphia) Formation: La Salle ...

Is man by nature good or evil?

The Book of Rites is part of the core Confucian canon

The Book of Rites As ruling over all, under the sky, (the king) is called “The son of Heaven.” …His death is announced in the words, “The king by (the grace of) Heaven has fallen.” ...

Teaching the individualism of Christianity led to the basics

In Japan, there is a responsibility to the collective whole but not to the individual

Atonement Lutheran Church Contact: 7250 Eckstrom Ave, San Diego (Balboa) 858-278-5556 www.atonementlutheranbalboa.weebly.com Membership: 45 Pastor: Kate Schlechter Age: 59 Born: Glendora Formation: California State University-Long Beach; Luther Seminary, St. Paul, MN; Pacifica Institute, Carpinteria Years ...

Joseph Reeve, SJ: writer of the history of the Catholic faith in England

"It is not necessary to ascend in spirit into Heaven, as if he resided nowhere else"

Joseph Reeve, SJ To enjoy the presence of God in the manner that is suited to our mortal state, it is not necessary to ascend in spirit into Heaven, as if he resided nowhere else. ...

To glorify God, edify the body of Christ, and reach the lost

We give to various ministries worldwide

New Paradise Baptist Church Contact: 420 68th Street, San Diego 619-266-0214 www.newparadisebcsd.com Membership: 350 Pastor: James Moore, Jr. Age: 56 Born: San Diego Formation: Southern California Bible Institute, San Diego; Faith Evangelical Seminary, Tacoma, WA. ...

Chinese philosopher Mencius asserted that human nature was innately good

And only society’s influence caused bad moral character

Mencius If a man love others, and no responsive attachment is shown to him, let him turn inwards and examine his own benevolence. If he is trying to rule others, and his government is unsuccessful, ...

A little sanctuary surrounded by buffalo wings and Guinness beer

These people were telling stories of hurt, vulnerability, divorce, drug addiction

A little sanctuary surrounded by buffalo wings and Guinness beer

A free-thinking view of Christianity

An excerpt from God and the World by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

A free-thinking view of Christianity

In our marriages, our friendships, our children

Christian leadership: from a position of self-awareness, security, and being able to serve or lead the people around us

In our marriages, our friendships, our children

Hybrid Mule in Pacific Beach

Good for breakfast, brunch, lunch and/or dinner

Hybrid Mule in Pacific Beach

A change in the aura of the world

Where the Yin and Yang were out of balance

A change in the aura of the world

We’re fearfully and wonderfully made

God asks us to fully participate in bringing the kingdom of heaven to earth

We’re fearfully and wonderfully made

Your visit to that temple invisible

I cannot teach you the prayer of the seas and the forests and the mountains

When you pray you rise to meet in the air those who are praying at that very hour, and whom save in prayer you may not meet. Therefore let your visit to that temple invisible ...

Waterbar’s Merlion

Put the smack-down on Mother Nature’s angry winds

Sing, o goddess, of the rage of Singapore’s Merlion!... Well, okay, Homer never got around to singing about Singapore, but the old Greek scribbler also never had Waterbar’s Merlion to get his inspirational juices flowing… ...

One thing worth saying all the time

I like to introduce other ways of following Jesus

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: ...

A picture of heaven

All nations and languages at prayer in this particular location

Risen Savior Lutheran Church Contact: 625 Otay Lakes Rd., Chula Vista (619) 735-7617 www.risensavior.us Membership: 150 Pastor: Paul Schulz Age: 43 Born: Watertown, WI Formation: Martin Luther College, New Ulm, MN; Wisconsin Lutheran Seminary, Mequon, ...

He is therefore happy

“Thou art the strength of my heart, and my portion for ever.”

He is therefore happy

A strong stirred direct cocktail

“But the lavender softens it around the edges.”

If your tongue is quiet enough, it can taste the whisper of Japanese whisky folded gently into the other spirits that Herb & Wood’s cocktail curator Meghan Balser puts into her Vodka & Lavender. “I ...

Pushed out to the margins

The church was at one time the center of family life and the community

Grace Presbyterian Church Contact: 1450 E. Vista Way, Vista 760-724-0077 www.gpcvista.org Membership: 200 Pastor: Mike Wallman Age: 66 Born: Burbank Formation: Santa Monica College; California State University-Northridge; Fuller Seminary, Pasadena; Dubuque Theological Seminary, Dubuque, IA ...

The servants of a Master

The credentials of that revelation should be tested

The servants of a Master

Nighttime spreads its cloak

Shibuya Nights is a virtuoso of distilled contradictions

The Cloak & Petal’s bar manager Faisal Asseri explains that the name for Little Italy’s Japanese-inspired restaurant blends opposites to form a new whole. “Cloak” communicates mystery and intrigue, and “Petal” is a rough English ...

Was I losing my marbles?

A posthumous interview with Merlin Carothers

Foundations of Praise Contact: P.O. Box 2518, Escondido, CA 92033 760-741-2755 www.foundationofpraise.org Mailing List Members: 30,000 Founder: Merlin Carothers (1924-2013) Born: Coal Country in Pennsylvania Formation: Marion College, Marion, IN; Asbury Seminary, Wilmore, KY Years ...

A mystical approach to Christianity

Unity: "We open it up to all the ways in which we understand what God is."

Unity San Diego Contact: 3770 Altadena Avenue, City Heights, 619-280-2501 www.unitysandiego.org Membership: 300 Pastor: Blair Tabor Age: 66 Born: Minneapolis, MN Formation: University of California San Diego; Unity Institute & Seminary, Kansas City, MO Years ...

Shorn of dogma and dualism

"People are abandoning spirituality and organized religion in droves."

Membership: 165 Pastor: Patti Paris Age: 61 Born: New York City, NY Formation: City University, New York City; Holmes Institute, Encinitas Years Ordained: 7 San Diego Reader: How long do you spend preparing your talks? ...

God's not going to force himself on you

"The short answer is you go to heaven when you die. But there are some nuances to that."

Membership: 150 Pastor: Erik Borlaug Age: 29 Born: Forrest Lake, MN Formation: Winona State University, Winona, MN Years Ordained: 7 San Diego Reader: What’s your main concern as a member of the clergy? Pastor Erik ...

That call was always there

"My friend looked at me and said, 'Make a choice.' So I did."

Membership: 150 (Attendance: 80). Pastor: Guy Williams Age: 64 Born: Cornell, CA Formation: San Diego State University; Holmes Institute, Golden, CO Years Ordained: 10 San Diego Reader: What’s your favorite subject on which to preach? ...

Working his way through the Good Book

"It takes five to ten hours of preparation per one hour of preaching."

Membership: 60 Pastor: Jeff Apsley Age: 61 Born: Batesville, Indiana Formation: Baptist Bible College, San Dimas (Now Springfield, MO); Moody Bible Institute, Chicago; Talbot School of Theology, La Mirada Years Ordained: 37 San Diego Reader: ...

Coming up next

"Every 500 years, God has a great big rummage sale."

Membership: 170 Pastor: Sharon Graff Age: 62 Born: Hemet Formation: Northwest Christian College, Eugene, OR; Claremont School of Theology, Claremont; San Francisco Theological Seminary, San Francisco Years Ordained: 33 San Diego Reader: What’s your favorite ...

Bishop Richard Challoner — mental prayer is easy

In spite of what the devil pretends

The devil, who very well knows that such souls as apply themselves seriously to mental prayer will be none of his, makes all possible efforts to divert Christians from this application by a thousand impostures; ...

A warm greeting in a glass

Bartender Wetherbee "wanted to encapsulate the freshness of Thailand"

Say “Sawatdi!” to the Sawadee! “Sawatdi” is a common Thai greeting (like Hawaii’s “Aloha!”) and the Sawadee (same word respelled for the American palate) is one of the newest inspirations from Prohibition mix-master Heath Wetherbee. ...

Finding God in a shack

"Once we realize the love that God gives each one of us, we see our neighbors a little differently."

Membership: 750 Pastor: John Shaver Age: 47 Born: Dayton, OH Formation: North Carolina State University, Raleigh, NC; Pittsburgh Theological Seminary, Pittsburgh, PA; Wesley Theological Seminary, Washington, D.C.; University of Pittsburgh Years Ordained: 19 San Diego ...

Giuseppe Garibaldi speaks against the Pope

I am a good Christian and speak to good Christians

I am a Christian and I speak to Christians—I am a good Christian and speak to good Christians. I love and venerate the religion of Christ because Christ came into the world to deliver humanity ...

A progressive agenda of flavors

Driftwood's Vanilla Old Fashioned

The bartender for Driftwood Craft Cocktails at Open House, Scarlett Hannon is an Old Fashioned kind of gal—but just because it’s her favorite drink doesn’t mean she has to play by all the rules to ...

The call came while in Mexican orphanage

“Be a Jesuit”

Membership: 1,300 families registered (3,000 attendance per weekend) Pastor: John Auther, SJ Age: 60 Born: Phoenix, AZ Formation: Loyola Marymount University, Los Angeles; Universidad Pontificia Comillas, Madrid, Spain; Jesuit School of Theology-Santa Clara University, Berkeley ...

"The Lorica" by Saint Patrick

The country could be called "The Isle of Poets"

I arise today Through the strength of the love of cherubim, In the obedience of angels, In the service of archangels, In the hope of resurrection to meet with reward, In the prayers of patriarchs, ...

Asanga's path to perfection

A Yogacara Buddhist

What is a person who has only a single interval? It is a person who is a once-returner who reaches the end of suffering by living only among the gods. What is a person who ...

We at Kaleo see ourselves as being called out of darkness

Pastor Tim Cain: "If the sermon is not going well, I have to get up earlier."

Kaleo Church Membership: 100 Pastor: Tim Cain Age: 40 Born: Wheaton, IL Formation: Moody Bible Institute, Chicago; Westminster Seminary West, Escondido Years Ordained: 14 San Diego Reader: How long do you spend writing your sermon? ...

Like a beast’s pelt: oaks hunched like sleeping bear

With half-hearted barking, geese announce their return

March’s Lovely Asymptotes The property line melts into forest, its late winter browns Like a beast’s pelt; oaks hunched like sleeping bear; Beech and birch extend into ugly candid possum hair, And elms and maples ...

Immigrants welcomed at Ascension Lutheran Church

Our refugee banner was slashed and vandalized

Membership: 70 Pastor: Rick Fry Age: 43 Born: Springfield, OH Formation: Wittenberg University, Springfield OH; Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago, Hyde Park Years Ordained: 6 San Diego Reader: What’s your favorite subject on which ...

Kanada — India's answer to Aristotle

His name means “atom eater”

He who of His own will spreads out the production, preservation, and destruction of the universe; He who, even though shining forth in suppression of all these, still is not known by other than wise ...

Politics should stay out of our pulpits

We’re going to face God one of these days

Membership: 300 Pastor: David Hazel Age: 47 Born: Los Angeles Formation: Point Loma Nazarene University, Point Loma; Nazarene Theological Seminary, Kansas City Years Ordained: 22 San Diego Reader: What’s your favorite subject on which to ...

Silvester Jenks — fled at the Glorious Revolution

Love of God is the total sum of Christianity

To make it plainly appear that the love of God above all things is the greatest duty of a Christian, one would think it were enough to show that it is a duty which comprises ...

Not Yo' Mama's gin and tonic

Ryan Jones makes lemon work with cucumber

Co-owner of Pillbox Tavern, Ryan Jones has something preposterous. He’s messed with that bit of perfection known as the gin and tonic. And what he’s come up with — well, it’s not your dad’s gin ...

Astronomy led to Judaism

Rabbi Michael Samuel likes preaching on ethical monotheism

Membership: 60 Rabbi: Michael Samuel Age: 64 Born: San Francisco Formation: Tomthei Temmimim, Israel; San Francisco Theological Seminary, San Anselmo Years Ordained: 41 San Diego Reader: How long do you spend writing your sermon? Rabbi ...

From the Kama Sutra

Pleasures to be followed with moderation

Pleasures should not be sought for, because they are obstacles to the practice of Dharma and Artha, which are both superior to them, and are also disliked by meritorious persons.... This objection cannot be sustained, ...

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