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Stories by Joseph O'Brien

The Village Community Presbyterian Church motto: Following Jesus for Life

We try to introduce people to what it means to have a relationship with God through Jesus

The Village Community Presbyterian Church Contact: 6225 Paseo Delicias, Rancho Santa Fe 858-756-2441 Membership: 1100 Pastor: Pastor Jack Baca Age: 62 Born: Socorro, NM Formation: University of New Mexico-Albuquerque; Princeton Theological Seminary, NJ; Fuller ...

Zhu Xi: considered the second most influential Chinese thinker after Confucius

Qi and Li operate together in mutual dependence

Zhu Xi [Someone] asked: “Isn’t Tai-ji the general name for a diffuse being that existed before there was a heaven and earth and that was the Li of heaven, earth, and the myriad creatures?” [Zhu ...

Religious science in the name of Ernst Holmes’ philosophy

Seaside Center for Spiritual Living: inspiring people to live their divinity

Seaside Center for Spiritual Living Contact: 1613 Lake Dr. Encinitas 760-753-5786 Membership: 1100 Pastor: Christian Sorensen Age: 59 Born: Hollywood Formation: California State University-North Ridge; Ernst Holmes College (Holmes Institute), Los Angeles Years Ordained: ...

Billy Graham: Death, for the Christian, is overcome by the reality of hope — Heaven

We are all God’s creation, but we are not all God’s children

Billy Graham “I don’t think I would be afraid to die if I knew what to expect after death,” said a young man with an incurable disease. Evidently, he had not heard of what God ...

Windsor Hills Community Church: through our lives together

The church is not like family –  the church is family

The Hill Church Contact: 7485 Orien Ave., La Mesa 619-463-1201 Membership: 150 Pastor: Jimmy Steele Age: 35 Born: Atlanta, GA Formation: Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary, Wake Forest, NC Years Ordained: 1½ San Diego Reader: ...

Zisi: grandson of Confucius who wrote on relativity of human knowledge of the universe

Was also student of another Chinese philosopher: Zengzi

Zisi “How far-extending was the filial piety of King Wu and the duke of Zhou! Now filial piety is seen in the skillful carrying out of the wishes of our forefathers, and the skillful carrying ...

Father Toufic Nasr: Lebanese churches can be home to Roman, Melkite, and Maronite Catholic community

Ethnic churches normally have a loyalty that is different

St. Ephrem Maronite Church Contact: 750 Medford St, El Cajon 619k-337-1350 Membership: 310 Pastor: Father Toufic Nasr Born: Beirut, Lebanon Formation: Maronite Patriarchal Seminary, Ghazir, Lebanon; Our Lady of Lebanon Seminary, Washington, D.C.; Oblate ...

Bishop William Poynter: English writer, Catholic bishop, and college professor who was once imprisoned by French revolutionaries

He was often the target of controversialist Bishop John Milner

Bishop William Poynter Christianity is that form of Religion, which was taught and instituted by Christ. It embraces the doctrines of faith, which Christ revealed; the supernatural moral precepts, which he delivered; the sacred rites, ...

Avery T. Willis’ MasterLife book changed Alan Thompson’s ministry

I had been struggling with what it means when Jesus says, “Come and follow me.”

First Baptist Church of Clairemont Contact: 3219 Clairemont Mesa Blvd., San Diego, 858-273-4642 Membership: 120 Pastor: Alan Thompson Age: 67 Born: Weatherford, Texas Formation: Grand Canyon College (now University), Phoenix, AZ; Midwestern Baptist Theological ...

Farmer Bottega’s Rosie Elephant inspires one’s inner Rainbow Warrior

Its graceful parade of flavors never lets the palate forget the parts for the whole

When the Farmer’s Bottega bartender Shannon Pierce created The Rosie Elephant, she looked to local farmlands and African savannas for inspiration. “It really originated out of nowhere!” she says. “I had tasted all of the ...

Bishop John Milner: one of the greatest opponents of the Cisalpine movement in English Catholicism

He carried on the controversy throughout his life

Bishop John Milner Admitting, however, the obligation of worshipping my Creator, these men will sometimes say: “What necessity is there of my being shut up in a particular building or of my joining with other ...

Lorina Pyle finds God in guilty verdict at the Telluride courthouse

“This is your sense of justice, and we’re with you, and the angels are watching over you.”

First Spiritualist Church of San Diego Contact: 3777 Forty Second St., San Diego 619-284-4646 Membership: 87 Pastor: Lorina Pyle Age: 52 Born: Price, UT Formation: “After an intense search of self-healing and self-understanding…I turned ...

Estimate the enemy with Sun Tzu’s The Art of War

“Who goes to war or builds a house without first counting up the cost?”

Good Shepherd Missionary Baptist Church Contact: 390 South 39th St, San Diego 619-263-5557 Membership: 40 Pastor: Gregory O. Morgan Age: 62 Born: Monroe, LA Formation: Faith Evangelical Seminary (Faith International University), Tacoma, WA Years ...

Quentin Tarantino cocktail suite at Union Kitchen & Tap in Encinitas

“All his characters have bold personalities, and I was mindful of that when I named these cocktails.”

Mobsters generally don’t like surprises – and yet to stay in the game they have to be full of surprises. Just ask Nice Guy Eddy, Mr. Pink, or Mr. Black in Reservoir Dogs – or ...

“There’s something about the power of love” at Congregation Beth Israel

Why would God create a world that would need pediatric cardiologists?

Congregation Beth Israel of San Diego Contact: 9001 Towne Centre Drive, San Diego 858-535-1111 Membership: 1200 families Rabbi: Michael Berk Age: 66 Born: San Bernardino Formation: University of California-Berkeley; Hebrew Union College, Los Angeles, ...

The Dude abides with 619’s White Russian

Their Coffee Vodka remains committed to caffeine

619 Spirits North Park is the tasting room and eatery for its mothership, 619 Vodka. Both were named for San Diego’s area code, but that doesn’t mean 619’s founder and master distiller Nick Apostolopoulos is ...

Sabine Baring-Gould composed lyrics to “Onward, Christian Soldiers” among other perennial Christian favorites

He was also a biographer, novelist and folk-song collector

Sabine Baring-Gould Onward, Christian soldiers, Marching as to war, With the cross of Jesus Going on before. Christ, the royal Master, Leads against the foe; Forward into battle See His banners go! Onward, Christian soldiers, ...

The “transforming-the-world conversation” of Christ United Presbyterian

Can the church hold onto its definition as passed down through the centuries?

Christ United Presbyterian Church of San Diego Contact: 3025 Fir Street, San Diego 619-239-2346 Membership: 100 Pastor: Nathan Byrd Age: 54 Born: Washington, D.C. Formation: University of Delaware, Newark, DE; U.S Army; Princeton Theological ...

Fruits, nuts, and flowers instead of Glocks, gin, and blunts

Pacific Beach Alehouse's Daisy Me Rollin'

Pacific Beach Alehouse is brewing up more than beer on its menu these days, says Pacific Beach bartender Sierra Berryessa. The surfside suds factory still spins its palate wheel of beers and ales, Berryessa says, ...

Eternal life with God

We too can become the hands and feet of Jesus

Pomerado Christian Church Contact: 12708 Stone Canyon Rd, Poway 858-487-7312 Membership: 100 (Attendance: 150) Pastor: J.P. Charfauros Age: 34 Born: Santa Clara Formation: Azusa Pacific University Years Ordained: 1 (12 years pastoral experience) San ...

Neither smoke nor sweet

The Maguey Agrio’s floral quality is nothing to run away from

The Maguey Agrio served at Banker’s Hill is the Mexican answer to the whiskey sour, says its creator, Banker’s Hill bar manager Colin Berger. Referencing mescal’s plant of origin and the Spanish word for “sour,” ...

The goods and evils of eternity

James Archer's road to priesthood began at an English pub called The Ship

James Archer God and Reason In defending revelation, I wish not to deprecate human reason, much less to establish Christianity on its ruins. Reason is the most beautiful ornament of our nature, the distinguishing excellence ...

Agents of hope

Orthodoxy may be 111 years old, but it still feels relevant

Membership: 550 Pastor: Ryan Rosenbaum Age: 42 Born: Fort Benning, GA Formation: University of Washington, Seattle. WA; Talbot School of Theology-Biola University, La Mirada; Hebrew University, Jerusalem Years Ordained: 18 San Diego Reader: What is ...

Fruit bound for cocktail glory

“You could call The Chinotto an Italian Old Fashioned,”

Citrus myrtaflora—more commonly known in its native Italy as the chinotto—is a diminutive member of the orange family, and it has a secret. But it’s one of the worst kinds of secret—one that everyone knows ...

Founder of Mohism emphasizes self-restraint, self-reflection and authenticity

Mozi taught that all men should be loved equally

Mozi How do we know Heaven loves the people? Because it teaches them all. How do we know it teaches them all? Because it claims them all. How do we know it claims them all? ...

God found in Planes, Trains, and Automobiles

There are great illustrations that pop up in movies that communicate deep spiritual truths

La Mesa Church of Christ Contact: 5150 Jackson Dr., La Mesa (619) 465-5150 Membership: 100 Pastor: Graham Clifford Age: 43 Born: Salinas Formation: Dallas Christian College, Dallas, TX; Center for Christian Education, Irving, TX ...

A spicy Old Fashioned

“What sets it apart is the bittersweet chocolate coming up the back”

Consider the quotidian comforts of the common whiskey flask. The preferred vade mecum of serious sippers, this versatile vessel fits in pocket, purse, or petticoat—a genie in a bottle who, at a moment’s command, provides ...

Union of the soul with God

English lawyer and Catholic writer Charles Butler withdrew from public life to concentrate on redressing injustices

Charles Butler Mystical theology is defined to be an union of the soul with God—so intimate, that her essence is, in a manner, transformed into the essence of God, and, in consequence of it, she ...

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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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

Let’s Be Friends

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