My weekend in L.A

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Southern California is a funky, wild, weird place and one should visit it on occasion to remind oneself that one is normal, or at least more normal than some other people, who are indeed . . . abnormal . ..  and despite the mathematical impossibility of a demographic convergence of millions of abnormal people all in a single locality, there is indeed a significant aggregationt of abnormality in this vicinity.;

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But it was great to be with my abnormal comrades for a weekend. I felt quite at home! Thanks everyone for your hospitality! Here are some random scenes from my weekend in the L.A. area.

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Malcolm Hawker and I took our Starbucks for a walk on Newport Beach.

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Brian Ollman riding his thrift store cruiser in Venice. I stayed with them.

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Spencer Burke has the spiritual gift of parking in tight spaces.

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Spencer (theooze.com) also has the gift of working in small spaces – Like his garage. I stayed 2 nights at the Burkes house.

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Barry Taylor was surprised to see us turn up at his church.

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The church loses their lease at the Court Theater in 2 weeks and will be on the move again. We had a Mexican lunch after church.

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Eating Mexican was a good change from my addiction to In and Out Burger, which is my HOME-BASE for fast food.

Andrew

Andrew Jones has been blogging since 1997. He is based in San Francisco with his two daughters but also travels the globe to find compelling stories of early stage entrepreneurs changing their world. Sometimes he talks in the third person. Sometimes he even talks to himself and has been heard uttering the name “Precious” :-)

15 Comments

  • it sounds like the trip was a good one. my wife and i have travelled to san diego. it is quite a different world in southern california.
    cheers

  • After growing up on the East Coast, I lived in Los Angeles for many years. While I now reside in nearby Ventura County, I can assure you that there are many normal, decent people in Los Angeles and always have been.

  • Hi Tallskinnykiwi,
    Just a stranger surfing through lots of emerging church blogs. I wonder if I could venture some opinions.
    What I love about the emerging church is that they are open, and willing to hear you out. But at the end of the day, they want you to prove your case. They are not caught in our modern traditions, but are willing to re-examine everything, and they want to be convinced for themselves. And they have a hunger for spiritual things.
    The emerging church has a hunger for a reformation, which is good (and needed!) But quite honestly, I think most of them are just spinning their wheels. I mean this kindly and sincerely, and even constructively, so I hope you’ll hear me out.
    I can’t tell you what a high percentage of emerging church blogs are filled with postings like: ‘Here I am, at this conference’ and ‘Last week I was dashing over to that conference’ and ‘Wow! Here’s a picture of a hat I bought while I was there!’
    I’m starting to get very disapointed in what I’m seeing. Their leaders seem to be known by how much jet-setting they do, and how cool their lifestyle is.
    When I first came across the emerging church, five years ago, they were still very keen on the reformation they envisioned. They were full of a very contagious excitement on how they would change the world. And I still see that – they haven’t slidden backward — but neither have they gone forward. In the end, all they’ve done is create another cultural expression. I told a friend, who was with me at the time:
    “They are like a troop of very fine actors, who are boasting of the performance they will one day give. But for the moment, they do not have a script.”
    The Bible does foretell a reformation that will occur in the last days. It will be driven by clearer persepctive of Jesus Christ, called ‘the knowledge of the Son of God’ (Eph 4:13). This should be the script!!! This is what they should yearn to embrace!!! But when I read so many of these blogs, Jesus doesn’t even get mentioned – not for one article after another after another.
    I find, instead, that they are talking about monasteries, missional approaches, conferences, candles, church structures, and other early Christian practices. This is nothing but religion, ancient or any other way. But true Christianity can be summarized in three words: “In Christ Jesus”.
    Where is the hunger for Jesus? The desire to know Him and abide in Him? Occasionally I do find someone in the emerging church with more of a focus on Jesus, so there is hope.
    Anyway, thanks for letting me comment.

  • Hi TSK I enjoyed reading about sothern califormia. I spent a month in CA on Sabbatical a few years back and really enjoyed it, including the wierd side !! I hope you dont mind but i would also like to comment from Loren’s comment. I would like to say that firtsly i do not count myself as an Emerging Church leader, I am a grass roots youth worker who is creating church from scratch with YP’s in the community that have no inteste in current models of church yet are spirtually searching. I havnt been to a conferance in years, let alone be a speaker,and my only cliam to fame is to write occassionally for youthwork magazine on their stories from the edge feqature. Althogh i agree that Christianity is in its purest sense about Jesus, I think it is vital that discussion critism and such about how we do church is continued. People connect to Jesus through the church, we are the shop window for people, so if as the church we are the hands and feet of Jesus, peoples experience of us becomes their experience of Jesus. Therefore we have to do eveything possible to make sure people have the best oppotunity to experince Jesus not some religious tradition. Without talking about this stuff we will not achieve what we want to achieve.

  • I’m still wondering when California will “tumble into the sea” according to all of those old school self-proclaimed prophets. Any updates? Timelines?

  • To Loren and Dave I would say there is something in the middle…the church in action…while here on the net and amongst all our blogs there is conversation. Talking about it is good, but I know there are churches out there “DOING IT”–reaching out in new and exciting ways. And lots of us in the discussion are in those churches.
    Maybe we need to add to our discussion some strings about what we are actively doing in those churches, and not JUST criticism, discussion and such. Some of these sites have that. But the intellectual mindset of the folks here (which I find very exciting and stimulating) sometimes forgets that some of us who are newer to the discussion need practical ways to apply the theoretical emerging church to the reality of our every day congregation.

  • Well said, SS.
    But how exactly did we get here from Spencer and SoCal?
    Loren, I’m new at all this and certainly open to discussion but I’m not a big fan of being “soapboxed” on…
    Because many of us travel in the same circles, I discovered that you’ve posted a cut-and-paste of your essay on a number of the blogs I visit — even when it hadn’t anything to do with, in this case, Andrew’s trip to California– and I’m left wondering whether you’re open to dialogue at all, or just interested in airing your [evidently well-rehearsed] opinions…?
    If there’s anything I deeply appreciate about the “emerging” community (even if the name does conjure images in my mind of us appearing from underneath a rock), it’s that, as with Jesus and His disciples, relationship is key. So do I think there are some worthwhile conversations to be found among all the things you’ve addressed in your post? Sure. If you’re “very disappointed in what [you’re] seeing”… well, you’re certainly entitled to your opinion, but it may be because you simply haven’t looked for very long. If you really want better understanding on the people behind the blogs you’ve hit recently, I’d encourage you to come on in, pull up a chair, have a pint with us and stay awhile. You’re welcome anytime you’re interested in listening to the entirety of a matter before you offer an answer to it (Proverbs 18:13).
    cheers
    the barefoot girl
    PS- I’ve not listed my blog because, to be frank, I haven’t any interest in having you post on it just yet. Feel free to email me, though.

  • hi everyone – just got back from california
    yes – the post was a little out of context, as were the other FundySpams I received over the week, and loren . . . if you want to criticize, then not only should it be in the context of the right post, but it should also not be in the third invisible person. Who are “they” anyway? A church you heard about? People in a book you read? Much better to say “you guys” or name the group you are criticizing.
    But anyway . . . back to that wierd state of mind called California . . . and yes, i know there are normal people there because I lived there 3 times in my life, adding to and enhancing that normality.
    (some would argue that point)

  • …is that true? In & out? Thats the best! Man you got it down!!! CA is my home-base – Aptos, Santa Cruze, “The Coastlands” – a great people life there – yes, and they are crazy! But I love the way they life, think and go ways, God wants them to.
    I love the car-picture . . . what would happen, when there would be a full-stop? You would need wind-sheeld-scrypers on the inside!!!

  • Sorry to borrow your blog one more time, just wanted to respond to the barefoot girl (and others concerned). Apologies for offending anyone, as that was not my intention. Like you I was surfing many blogs and since I saw similar things, I had similar comments comments from blog to blog. They were not rehearsed in advance. But after a few similar remarks (whihc, I guess, was my ‘practice’), I just cut-and paste one for the previous one. It was still on my clip board when I found another, etc, which is probably enough said. Again, my apologies but I do hope my points were taken seriously.

  • Hi LD
    thanks for coming back. thanks for the clarification. fully understandable, for those of us who also “converge” our media – one email or thought becomes many media outlets – we are all moving in this direction
    and adobe creative suite is all about convergence (btw) – one presentation or graphic or flyer becomes a web site with one click
    i think bloggers were responding to a huge wave of nasty and divisive comments from anal retentives who just want to “wrangle about words” and cause division, both of which we are warned about in the Scriptures.
    We have had a good run in the past 3 years and only now do we have to deal with the new breed of internet Fundies – who stop our conversations and side track them to secondary and divisive issues. Its like . . .”dang . . who are these people? get out of our backyard and let us get back to playing!!!!!” . . . and you must have got identified as one of the blogger/zealot/pharisees
    anyway – just nice to be friends with you. Feel free to speak plainly in the future and say it how you see it.
    i hope i didnt make things worse by my comments or reaction
    Peace

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