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Stories by Joseph O'Brien

Resolutions of the Reader’s poetry editor

-For Cecilia A spirited play for words, like a December wind punching your breath Back down through your esophagus; a resolute sense of commitment Like the bold disregard maple, chicory, and sumac pay at summer’s ...

December 31, 2020
Augustus Pugin: architect of the Palace of Westminster

Augustus Pugin The greatest privilege possessed by man is to be allowed, while on earth, to contribute to the glory of God: a man who builds a church draws down a blessing on himself both ...

Book of Deuteronomy: love everyone to life

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: ...

December 18, 2020
Mongaku: strident defender of Esoteric Shingon Buddhism

Mongaku Needless to say, Buddhism, like other religions, helps to extirpate evil and to bring good fortune. Throughout its history in three countries, there are records of answers to prayer and of benefits received. If ...

Finding connections between art and faith in Madeleine L’Engle’s Walking on Water

Westminster Presbyterian Church Contact: 3598 Talbot St, San Diego 619-223-3193 www.westminstersd.org Membership: 100 Pastor: Megan Cochran Neighborhood: Point Loma Age: 34 Born: Albert Lea, MN Formation: Macalester College, St. Paul, MN; McCormick Theological Seminary, Chicago ...

December 4, 2020
Paramahansa Yogananda style

Self Realization Fellowship of San Diego Contact: 3072 1st Ave., San Diego 619-295-0170 www.sandiegotemple.org Neighborhood: Bankers Hill Minister: Brother Tyagananda. Members: 150-200 guests per Sunday service (9 a.m. and 11 a.m.) Age: 57 Born: Ascoli ...

November 20, 2020
Yukai: upholding the purity of Shingon teachings

Yukai The principle of this sect was to consider the way of men and women, yin and yang, to be the secret art of obtaining Buddhahood in this flesh, and the only means of obtaining ...

San Diego New Life: real people with real needs

San Diego New Life Contact: 730 Concepcion Ave., Spring Valley www.sandiegonewlife.org 619-829-1193 Membership: 150 Neighborhood: Spring Valley Pastor: Jack Sheets Age: 67 Born: Gardner, KS Formation: Point Loma Nazarene University, Point Loma; San Diego International ...

November 6, 2020
George Duncombe Cox: contemporary of John Keats

George Duncombe Cox The sound of evening music Vibrates along the mind, And strikes a chord of feeling Too sweet to be defined. When, with the moonlight rising, The nightingale’s sweet voice, We doubt, and ...

The “radical inclusiveness” of an openly LBGTQ+ pastor

Mission Hills United Methodist Church Contact: 4044 Lark St, San Diego 619-296-1243 www.missionhillsumc.org Membership: 50 Neighborhood: Mission Hills Pastor: Bailey Brawner Age: 26 Born: Anchorage, AK Formation: University of Montana-Western, Dillon, MT; Boston University School ...

October 23, 2020
Emperor Shirakawa offers a prayer to Hachiman

Emperor Shirikawa Of the six fundamental disciplines, the observance of the commandments is considered the most important; of the ten commandments, the prohibition on the taking of life is the prime one. All living creatures ...

October 16, 2020
Jesus Christ drive-thru

Canyon Springs Church Contact: 9700 Avenue of Nations, San Diego 858-746-9775 www.canyonsprings.org Membership: 500 Pastor: Jack Hawkins Neighborhood: Scripps Ranch Age: 57 Born: Newport Beach Formation: Biola University, Talbot School of Theology-Biola University, La Mirada ...

October 9, 2020
John Hay: served in government alongside Lincoln, Garfield, and McKinley

John Hay There are two mountains hallowed By majesty sublime, Which rear their crests unconquered Above the floods of Time. Uncounted generations Have gazed on them with awe,-- The mountain of the Gospel, The mountain ...

Jerry Andrews preaches the beauty of the savior

First Presbyterian Church of San Diego Contact: 320 Date Street, San Diego 619-232-7513 www.fpcsd.org Membership: 430 Pastor: Jerry Andrews Age: 67 Born: Detroit, MI Formation: Detroit Bible College (William Tyndale College); Trinity Evangelical Divinity School, ...

September 25, 2020
Kukai: founder of the “mantra” school of Buddhism

Kukai From the deep, dim, most distant past, A thousand thousand tomes we hold Of sacred texts and learned lore Profound, abstruse, obscure and dark, Teachings diverse and manifold — Who can encompass such a ...

September 18, 2020
The teachings of Brother Lawrence

Sweetwater Community Church Contact: 5305 Sweetwater Rd, Bonita 619-479-8208 Facebook Page Membership: 80 Pastor: Chris Hughes Age: 55 Born: Brooklyn, NY Formation: San Diego State University; Wesley Seminary-Indiana Wesleyan University, Indianapolis, IN. Years Ordained: 15 ...

September 11, 2020
Margaret Mother of God: Renowned Dominican who helped the poor

Margaret Mary Hallahan (Margaret of the Mother of God, OP) “To use a book all the time of meditation is very idle. You will never attain any degree of union with God unless you practice ...

Benedict XIV’s Spe Salvi treatment

Our Lady of Mt. Carmel Contact: 13541 Stoney Creek Rd., San Diego 858-484-1070 www.olmcsandiego.org Membership: 2,800 (pre-COVID 3,400) Pastor: Father Anthony Saroki Age: 46 Born: Royal Oak, MI Formation: Georgetown University, Washington, D.C.; University of ...

August 28, 2020
Shawn Mitchell: moved by a Youth for Christ group singing at the Civic Theater

New Venture Grace Church Contact: 4000 Mystra Dr., Oceanside 760-721-7777 www.newventuregrace.com Membership: 3,000 (Post-COVID, 700) Pastor: Shawn Mitchell Age: 66 Born: San Diego Formation: Point Loma Nazarene University, Point Loma; Bethel Seminary, San Diego; Church ...

August 14, 2020
Nicholas Wiseman: a great influence on John Henry Newman

Nicholas Wiseman It would of course be impossible to bring every branch of the natural sciences so completely into contact with sacred studies as these whereof we have treated nor can it be necessary to ...

Communion on the hood of a Humvee

Christ Church (Episcopalian) of Coronado Contact: 1114 9th St., Coronado 619-435-4561 www.christchurchcoronado.org Neighborhood: Coronado Membership: 200 Pastor: Father Michael Tinnon Age: 70 Born: Lexington, KY Formation: University of Kentucky, Lexington; Asbury Theological Seminary, Wilmore, KY ...

July 31, 2020
Buddhism’s high regard for the Suvarnaprabhasa Sutra

The Suvarnaprabhasa Sutra (“The Golden Light Sutra”) Then Buddha declared to the Four Deva Kings: “Fitting is it indeed that you Four Kings should thus defend the holy writings. In the past I practiced bitter ...

The road to Capernaum

Grace Church of San Diego Contact: 2716 Madison Ave, San Diego 619-280-1495 www.gracesd.com Attendance: 1,200 Interim Lead Pastor: Nolan Lee Age: 35 Born: Niwot, CO Formation: University of Colorado, Boulder, CO San Diego Reader: How ...

July 17, 2020
John Harris: editor of one of the first English dictionaries

John Harris Tho’ would Men but studiously apply themselves to consider of, would they carefully and impartially examine into, and would they but seriously make use of those Means that God hath graciously given Mankind, ...

Sanctified and glorified at Encanto Southern Baptist Church

Encanto Southern Baptist Church Contact: 6020 Akins Ave, San Diego 619-264-8641 www.encantosbc.com Membership: 300 Pastor: Robert Pope Age: 69 Born: Rocky Mount, NC Formation: University of District of Columbia, Washington, D.C.; University of Phoenix, Phoenix, ...

July 3, 2020
The Nihon Shoki: the greatest value to historians and archeologists

The Nihon Shoki Izanagi and Izanami [i.e. “the divine primal pair”] stood on the floating bridge of Heaven, and held counsel together, saying: “Is there not a country beneath?” Thereupon they thrust down the jewel-spear ...

In Memoriam: Paul Zimmer

In Memoriam: Paul Zimmer I. The Visit For Paul and Suzanne Zimmer and Cele Wolf With sunlight pouring through the windows, March Retreats and winter’s windy shadows shake The shadows’ fruit from changing light. The ...

June 25, 2020
Maria Santa Cruz: Heaven is a promised place

Our Savior’s Lutheran Church Contact: 4011 Ohio St, San Diego 619-283-5936 www.oursaviorslutheransd.org Membership: 100 Pastor: Maria Santa Cruz Age: 60 Born: Guadalajara, Mexico Formation: Pacific Lutheran Theology Seminary, Berkeley Years Ordained: 20 San Diego Reader: ...

June 19, 2020
George Spencer: pious relative to Winston Churchill and Princess Diana

Ignatius of St. Paul (George Spencer) What right then, thought I, had Luther and his companions to set themselves against the united voice of the Church? I saw that he rebelled against the authority of ...

Penasquitos Lutheran Church: the good news on Earth

Penasquitos Lutheran Church Contact: 14484 Penasquitos Dr., San Diego 858-672-3466 www.plc-church.org Membership: 1,500 Pastor: Sean Kelly Age: 48 Born: Fullerton Formation: California Lutheran University, Thousand Oaks; Luther Seminary, St. Paul, MN: Fuller Seminary, Pasadena Years ...

June 5, 2020
Myths, legends and genealogies of the Kojiki

The Kojiki Izanagi no Mikoto and Izanami no Mikoto [i.e. “the divine primal pair”] consulted together, saying: “We have now produced the Great-eight-island country, with the mountains, rivers, herbs, and trees. Why should we not ...

St. Andrew’s Lutheran: a model of giving and serving others

St. Andrew’s Lutheran Church Contact: 8350 Lake Murray Blvd, San Diego 619-464-4211 www.standrewslutheran.church Membership: 750 Pastor: Manuel Retamoza Age: 50 Born: Stockton Formation: Seattle Pacific University, Seattle, WA; Luther Seminary, St. Paul, MN. Years Ordained: ...

May 22, 2020
A Day of Public Humiliation, Fasting, and Prayer with John Hancock

John Hancock In circumstances as dark as these, it becomes us, as Men and Christians, to reflect that whilst every prudent measure should be taken to ward off the impending judgments…at the same time all ...

Kurt Christenson: Facebook live streaming First Lutheran's worship services

First Lutheran Church of San Diego Contact: 1420 Third Ave, San Diego 619-234-6149 www.firstlutheransd.org Membership: 280 Pastor: Kurt Christenson Age: 59 Born: Groton, CT Formation: St. Olaf College, Northfield, MN; Pacific Lutheran Theological Seminary, Berkeley ...

May 8, 2020
Seven Tanka for Creation by Joseph O’Brien

1 Photosynthesis Before there was anything To kiss or embrace, Before our bed was warm with You, me, soil, seed—or hunger. 2 Caress of plasma, Hydrogen and helium— Touching my face as My giddy hands ...

April 30, 2020
Quarantined through the eyes of Sir Isaac Newton or Henri Matisse

Congregational Church of La Jolla Contact: 1216 Cave St., La Jolla 858-459-5045 www.lajollaucc.org Membership: 125 Pastor: Timothy Seery Age: 27 Born: Great Falls, MT Formation: Harvard University; Harvard Divinity School, Cambridge, MA Years Ordained: 2.5 ...

April 24, 2020
Masao Abe: securing the spiritual foundations of humanity

Masao Abe All I-Thou relationships among men and between man and God are possible only within an endlessly expanding self-awakening. Zen calls this our “Original Face,” the face we have before we are born. “Before ...

Joshua Dorsch: interpreter of Jewish scripture and law

Tifereth Israel Synagogue Contact: 6660 Cowles Mountain Boulevard, San Diego 619-697-6001 www.tiferethisrael.com Membership: 350 Rabbi: Joshua Dorsch Age: 34 Born: Philadelphia, PA Formation: Columbia University/Jewish Theological Seminary, NY Years Ordained: 7 San Diego Reader: Why ...

April 10, 2020
Alexander Hamilton: one of the Founding Fathers of the United States

Alexander Hamilton Good and wise men, in all ages…have supposed that the deity, from the relations, we stand in, to himself and to each other, has constituted an eternal and immutable law, which is, indispensibly, ...

Mary Lynn Coulson: finding the bigger embrace of God’s love

St. Andrew’s by-the-Sea Episcopal Church Contact: 1050 Thomas Ave, San Diego, CA 92109 858-273-3022 www.standrewspb.org Membership: 90 Pastor: Mary Lynn Coulson Age: 31 Born: Kansas City, MO Formation: St. Olaf College, Northfield, MN; Virginia Theological ...

March 27, 2020
Kaushitaki Upanishad: does the soul exist?

Kaushitaki Upanishad Pratardana Daivodasi by fighting and virility arrived at the beloved abode of Indra. To him then Indra said: “Pratardana, choose a boon (vara).” Then said Pratardana: “Do you yourself choose for me the ...

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