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Stories by Joseph O'Brien

Mineral-driven tequila first, then ginger beer

Green Acre's Mexican Mule

Green Acre’s director of food and beverage Chris Simmons serves his Mexican Mule the same way as the Moscow Mule — in copper cups. While his variation on the vodka-cum-ginger-cum-lime original is served as cold ...

Found church while USIU grad student

Hell seems not on par with choices that lead us there

Point Loma's First Church of the Nazarene bloomed from a tent revival.

Shakespeare of the Arabic language

al-Hariri of Basrah

Praise be to Allah, the exalted of names, the praised for His bounties, the abundant in gifts, the called upon for the rescinding of calamity; —king of the nations, restorer of rotten bones, honorer of ...

It hurt too much to live

Fire-and-brimstone preaching never leads to sustainable change

Membership: 4000 Pastor (student ministries): Jason David Sluyter Age: 29 Born: Flagstaff, AZ Formation: Point Loma Nazarene University Years Ordained: 7 San Diego Reader: What’s your main concern as a member of the clergy, especially ...

Benjamin Franklin's notion of good works

Letter to Joseph Huey

I can only show my Gratitude for those Mercies from God, by a Readiness to help his other Children and my Brethren. For I do not think that Thanks, and Compliments, tho’ repeated Weekly, can ...

Martin Camps — from seminarian to Beat poet

Born in Tijuana, moved to Juarez, now in U.S.

Giraffe in Juarez There’s a giraffe in the central park of Ciudad Juárez. Simple as that: a towering, Upper-Case and lonely giraffe. I studied her as she gazed at the sun sinking behind the hill ...

Never opened a Bible till my 40s

Drunk driver changes Lutheran minister's life

Membership: 25 Pastor: Rigoberto Gonzalez Age: 55 Born: Sonora, Mexico Formation: Concordia Seminary, St. Louis, MO Years Ordained: 6 San Diego Reader: How long do you spend writing your sermon? Pastor Rigoberto Gonzalez: I’d say ...

Mansur al-Hallaj — Sufi mystic

Executed by Islamic authorities

I entered unannounced into Hallaj’s room one day (says Ibn Fatik); someone had been in before me. Hallaj was in prayer, and his brow pressed to the ground, he was saying: O Thou Whose closeness ...

Sycamore Den's bartender apologizes profusely

Cringe-worthiness turns to buzz-worthiness

The Stalk Market is Sycamore Den’s newest cocktail, and according to Sycamore bartender Jesse Ross, this liquor-based commodity’s success stems from a portfolio of ingredients — including acid phosphate, the same ingredient soda jerks used ...

Orthodox priests attracted attention in Coronado

"Who are you guys?"

Membership: 670 families Pastor: Father Bratso Krsic Age: 46 Born: Crnojevic, Serbia Formation: The Holy Three Hierarchs Seminary, Southern Croatia (five-year high school); St. Sava Serbian Orthodox School of Theology, Libertyville, IL; Pittsburgh Theological Seminary, ...

Breakfast Republic wakes up the sleepy sipper

Whiskey Sunny Side Up keeps to its roots

Whiskey isn’t just for breakfast anymore; however, the amber-hued wake-up call remains an institutional fixture in the land of Breakfast Republic. According to Brock Harold, bar manager at Breakfast Republic’s Ocean Beach location, the Whiskey ...

Some don’t want to think about the reality of hell

Grantville's Nazarene pastor heard a small, still voice

Membership: 800 Pastor: Tony Miller Age: 54 Born: Beaver, OK Formation: Northwest Nazarene University, Nampa, ID; Nazarene Theological Seminary, Kansas City, MO; Trevecca Nazarene, Nashville, TN Years Ordained: 28 San Diego Reader: What is your ...

The Koran

Excerpts from the central religious text of Islam

“The Opening” In the name of God, the Merciful, the Compassionate Praise be to God, the Lord of the Universe, the Merciful, the Compassionate, the Authority on Judgment Day. It is You whom we worship ...

Park Hill — a church on Fir Street planted from Portland

"The gathering on Sunday is the huddle and everything we do all week long is the game"

Membership: 125 Pastor: Evan Wickham Age: 36 Born: San Diego Formation: Western Seminary, Portland, OR Years Ordained: 15 San Diego Reader: What is your favorite subject on which to preach? Pastor Evan Wickham: God is ...

"He doth not only prescribe the medicine...."

Edward Scarisbrick, once hunted down, then made royal chaplain

Almighty God, the great and omnipotent physician of our souls, is so passionately charitable, that he undertakes the cure himself; he visiteth in person the patient, affording him his corporeal presence in our assumed nature; ...

Named after a Prohibition rum-runner

The Hake's use of Malahat

As beverage curator for Proof, the port of call for cocktails at the Hake in La Jolla, Joan Villanueva was inspired by his love for Grand Marnier to take his cocktail craft to sea. With ...

You’ll find Grace Bible Church at Balboa Park on Saturday afternoons

And at the Rescue Mission, abortion clinics, and nursing homes

Membership: 125 Pastor: Curt Arend Age: 54 Born: Cincinnati, OH Formation: Institute of Reformed Baptist Studies-Westminster Theological Seminary, San Diego; Institute of Biblical Counseling and Discipleship, San Diego Years Ordained: 17 San Diego Reader: What’s ...

Immortality in the Rg Veda

Ancient Sanskrit hymn on praise and knowledge

The Man has a thousand heads, a thousand eyes, a thousand feet. He pervades the earth everywhere and extends beyond for ten fingers’ breadth. The Man himself is all this, whatever has been and whatever ...

We are forming teams of Paracletes to help homeless

Living Water Church of the Nazarene called to East Village

Living Water Church of the Nazarene Contact: 403 13th St #100, downtown San Diego; 619-942-3692; livingwaternazarene.com Membership: 45 Pastor: Chris Nafis Age: 33 Born: Santa Monica Formation: Azusa Pacific University, Azusa; Duke Divinity School, Durham, ...

Paradise Point/Tidal’s potentially therapeutic cocktail, the Black & White

A study in ultimate contrasts

As most bartenders will say, when it comes to mixing drinks, not everything is black and white. But restaurant manager of Paradise Point’s Tidal Restaurant, Mike Perez says at least one cocktail on Tidal’s menu ...

Kernel, Kumquats, Fig Grove

The sweetness of the rind, the shock of bitterness inside

Kernel When I discovered people eat apricot kernels, use them in amaretto and biscotti and apricot jam, part of me was glad to learn the world is more edible than I had known, but another ...

Pastor Clarke was teaching 4-year-olds about God by age 16

"It is a calling that hasn’t diminished in time."

Membership: 700 Pastor: Eric Clarke Age: 58 Born: Long Beach Formation: Eastern Oregon State College, Portland, OR; Western Seminary, Portland, OR; Masters International University of Divinity, Evansville, IN Years Ordained: 10 San Diego Reader: What ...

A moonshine cocktail that pairs well with steak

Preston Cobb shares recipe for Blackberry Basil Lemonade from Farmer's Table

Farmer’s Table bar manager Preston Cobb says the establishment’s Blackberry basil lemonade, served up in a Mason jar, fits in at the organic eatery as well as stanchions in a milking parlor or feed troughs ...

For missionaries, ministers...also candlestick makers

Pastor Brian Tallman has concerns about the ignorance among clergy

New Life Presbyterian Church of La Mesa Membership: 437 Pastor: Brian Tallman Age: 39 Born: San Diego Formation: Southern California Bible College, El Cajon; the Masters Seminary, Sun Valley; Bethel Seminary, San Diego Years Ordained: ...

Next stop won’t necessarily include brimstone or clouds

Pastor Brian Oltman on where we go when we die

Resurrection Lutheran Church of Coronado Membership: 75–100 Pastor: Brian Oltman Age: 59 Born: Glencoe, MN Formation: St. Cloud State University, St. Cloud, MN; Golden Valley Lutheran, Minneapolis, MN; Antioch University, L.A.; Wartburg Seminary, Dubuque, IA; ...

I was popular in school and played sports, but I felt so isolated

The Pentecostal Church is experiential much more than analytical

Denomination: Pentecostal Membership: 400 Pastor: Marc Stevenson Age: 45 Born: Anaheim Formation: Christian Life College, Stockton; Urshan Seminary, St. Louis, MO. Years Ordained: 15 San Diego Reader: How long do you spend writing your sermon? ...

Reply to Missionary Cram of the Boston Missionary School

From Red Jacket of the Seneca tribe

Brother, you say there is but one way to worship and serve the Great Spirit. If there is but one religion, why do you white people differ so much about it? Why not all agreed, ...

God’s in the water at Tourmaline also

Sometimes the surf community feels like the best of what we do in church.

Membership: 270 Pastor: David Nagler Age: 52 Born: Anaheim Formation: Humbolt State University, Arcata; University of Redlands, Redlands; Pacific Lutheran Theological Seminary, Berkeley Years Ordained: 24 San Diego Reader: What’s your favorite subject on which ...

God's love is far bigger than pastor Iona Dickinson can understand

"My college chaplain said to me if I can do anything else and be happy, do it!"

A heart for justice for all people in University City.

Fat-wash did the trick for Patio on Goldfinch’s Sheer Determination

The concoction has less to do with pigskins or gridirons than with making a cocktail using coconut water.

Brandon Curry, bar manager at the Patio on Goldfinch, presumed that the rollercoaster ride that was Super Bowl XLI would end with the Atlanta Falcons joining the New York Giants (who did it twice) as ...

Pastor Parcel is concerned about the state of our nation

Person A and Person B need to agree on the essentials

First United Methodist Church Membership: 650 Pastor: Brian T. Parcel Age: 42 Born: Taft Formation: Louisiana, Northwestern State University, Natchitoches, LA; Claremont School of Theology Years Ordained: 16 San Diego Reader: How long do you ...

Top of the Hyatt’s Strawberry Rhubarb Gimlet

Rhubarb gives the cocktail a little earthiness to balance with the sweetness

The strawberry-rhubarb gimlet is the result of a quest to find the perfect San Diego winter cocktail, says Andrew Guerrera, Top of the Hyatt’s assistant food and beverage manager. “And since we are in San ...

Elvin Harrison’s service to the church began at age five

"I found God at 51st St. and Park Ave. in New York City."

Community Congregational Church of Pacific Beach Membership: 40 Pastor: Elvin Harrison Age: 53 Born: El Centro Formation: Jarvis Christian College, Hawkins, TX; Howard University, Washington DC Years Ordained: 26 San Diego Reader: What’s your main ...

Carnitas’ Snack Shack's Hot & Buttered has a latte feel

The right balance between coagulating decadence and comprehensive excellence

While winter has been more wet than cold around San Diego these days, Carnitas’ Snack Shack’s Hot and Buttered — a new take on hot buttered rum punch — serves as an effective stay against ...

Pastor Sam Nunez warns that Jesus is coming soon. "Be ready."

The Bible’s holistic message

Fallbrook Seventh Day Adventists Membership: 499 Pastor: Sam Nunez Age: 43 Born: Philadelphia, PA Formation: Seminar Schloss Bogenhofen, Austria; Institute Adventist Collonges Sous Saleve, France; Andrews University, Berrien Springs, MI Years Ordained: 11 San Diego ...

Travel light and fast to heaven

Pastor Mel Svendsen on how to become a true Christian

Riverview Church Membership: 900 Pastor: Mel Svendsen Age: 59 Born: Brooklyn, NY Formation: Trinity Evangelical Divinity School, Chicago; Northeastern Bible College, Essex Fells, NJ Years Ordained: 35 San Diego Reader: What’s your favorite subject on ...

A lot of people who assume they’re going to heaven are not

Pastor Jared Osselaer knows religious stuff.

Generation Church Contact: 1106 Whaley St., Oceanside; 760-439-8411; gotogeneration.com Membership: 110 Pastor: Jared Osselaer Age: 41 Born: Tacoma, WA Formation: U.S. Navy (bodyguard for Navy chaplains), Golden Gate University-Gateway Seminary (attending) Years Ordained: 4 San ...

An interesting time at Alpine Community Church

Things have changed a lot since Pastor Thomas Truscott was in the seminary.

Alpine Community Church Membership: 110 (with 30–40 friends) Pastor: Thomas Truscott Age: 76 Born: Detroit, MI Formation: Simpson College, Indianola, IA; San Francisco Seminary (Presbyterian), San Anselmo, CA; McCormick Theological Seminary, Chicago, IL Years Ordained: ...

Catania's Canella is an introduction to fall with a taste of summer

Applesauce adds body to the cocktail

Catania’s cocktail menu holds a full offering of autumn nostalgia, including something called the Canella, created by Catania’s head bartender Cesar Sandoval. The Canella was inspired, in name and content, by San Francisco liquor producer ...

Caesar was too old, it seems to me

Should have been more mature

Advent The time of the first advent was foretold; the time of the second is not so; because the first was to be obscure, and the second is to be brilliant, and so manifest that ...

Church for those who got burnt out or burned

Riverview Community Church meets in an old bar

Riverview Community Church Membership: 600 Pastor: Todd Tolson Age: 40 Born: Waukegan, IL Formation: Christian Heritage College, Santee (previously San Diego Christian, El Cajon) Years Ordained: 16 San Diego Reader: How long do you spend ...

Stock up on coconut for Miss B’s Caribe Welcome

A funny feast of coconut meat

Ask for the Caribe Welcome at Miss B’s Coconut Club and the bartender will whip and dump a creamy white concoction into a young shaved coconut with Miss B’s logo burnt into the glistening white ...

God can be found in a gay bar as well

Pastor Dan Koeshall on preaching

Membership: 200 Pastor: Dan Koeshall Age: 56 Born: Pipestone, MN Formation: Evangel University, Springfield, MO; Fuller Theological Seminary, Pasadena Years Ordained: 25 San Diego Reader: What’s your favorite subject on which to preach? Pastor Dan ...

Drink your charred corn

Make a cocktail from Campfire's fall menu

Campfire’s Charred Corn Cocktail is exactly what its name describes. “We think the drink is delicious,” Campfire’s chief drink master Leigh Lecap says. “You smell corn in the aroma. Its appearance is mysterious — it’s ...

The strangest place pastor Caleb Lines found God

Disciples of Christ aren’t looking to change anyone

University Christian Church – Disciples of Christ Membership: 130 Pastor: Caleb Lines Age: 31 Born: Monett, MO Formation: Missouri State University, Springfield, MO; Yale Divinity School, New Haven, CT Years Ordained: 5 San Diego Reader: ...

Bad behavior leads you to become a hungry ghost

Bill Helm, director of Taosist Sanctuary, takes questions

Taoist Sanctuary of San Diego Membership: 75-100 Director: Bill Helm Age: 66 Born: Tucson, AZ Formation: Taoist formal training with John Davidson, Share K Lew and Khiegh Alex Dhegh Years ordained (Lawshr): 40 San Diego ...

Numbers jump at Santee United Methodist Church

Pastor Christian DeMent opens the door to God's love

Santee United Methodist Church Membership: 200 Pastor: Christian DeMent Age: 43 Born: La Mesa Formation: San Diego State; Claremont School of Theology, Claremont Years Ordained: 10 San Diego Reader: Why did you become a minister? ...

A chance to say, “God, I messed up”

Thoughts from Joy Lutheran Church's Deacon Don Heien

Joy Lutheran Church Contact: 810 Buena Vista Way, Chula Vista, 619-262-4444 Membership: 100 Pastor: Deacon Don Heien Age: 56 Born: San Diego Formation: Lay Leadership Program for the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod Years Commissioned: 3 San ...

Leave the fear behind, dare to love

St. Paul Episcopalian Cathedral welcomes all

They do say there are only two or three sermons, of course, other than “send money.”

It’s not about floating around on a cloud playing harp

Pastor Carlton Harris preaches on God

College Avenue Baptist Church Pastor: Carlton Harris Age: 59 Born: St. Louis, MO Formation: Dallas Bible College, Dallas, TX; Dallas Seminary Years Ordained: 33 San Diego Reader: What’s your favorite subject on which to preach? ...

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