Monthly Archives: August 2007

telling secrets

One of my favorite authors is Frederick Buechner. His writing style is so unique for a Christian author — but yet it gets to the heart of the matter in a very non-orthodox way. Here is a quote from one of his books:

“I have called this book Telling Secrets because I have come to believe that by and large the human family all has the same secrets, which are both very telling and very important to tell. They are telling in the sense that they tell what is perhaps the central paradox of our condition–that what we hunger for perhaps more than anything else is to be known in our full humanness, and yet that is often just what we also fear more than anything else. It is important to tell at least from time to time the secret of who we truly and fully are–even if we tell it only to ourselves–because otherwise we run the risk of losing track of who we truly and fully are and little by little come to accept instead the highly edited version which we put forth in hope that the world will find it more acceptable than the real thing.”

“It is important to tell our secrets too because it makes it easier that way to see where we have been in our lives and where we are going. It also makes it easier for other people to tell us a secret or two of their own, and exchanges like that have a lot to do with what being a family is all about and what being human is all about. Finally, I suspect that it is by entering that deep place inside us where our secrets are kept that we come perhaps closer than we do anywhere else to the One who, whether we realize it or not, is of all our secrets the most telling and the most precious we have to tell.” –Frederick Buechner — Telling Secrets (New York, NY: HarperCollins Publishers, 1991) p.2-3.


summer & ceremonial tea

I have been away for far too long this month. Besides helping to plant this church out here in Hollywood, I began a Masters program this summer that has been totally kicking my butt. I really enjoyed it, and I enjoy it even more now that I am done for 5 weeks!

Also, I got a very part-time job at a local coffee house – to get outside the walls of the church, however — all of that being said — I feel like even though it is summer, I have been putting in weeks of 50+ hours at church, 20 hours for school, and 10+ hours as a barista — & I really cannot believe this summer is already almost over.

Anyway, I did finally get a chance to connect with my good friend Eugene. I think I have mentioned this before, Eugene and his wife Eun Chu are moving to China in January, heading up a local university’s China program — but with long-term plans to start up international schools over there– he has an amazing vision.

He had me over for a few hours and we just talked. Among other things, he had me partake in a Chinese ceremonial tea (I think that is what he called it). It was fascinating, and fun, and intriguing. There really is a unique way to drink this tea.

Here Eugene is explaining about keeping the air bubble with the robust aroma in the top of the cup as it is upside down.

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Then you slowly twist it out…

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so that you can lift it to your nose to get the full aroma as you slide it between your hands.

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voice of the day

In the beginning, there is struggle and a lot of work for those who come near to God. But after that, there is indescribable joy. It is just like building a fire: at first it’s smoky and your eyes water, but later you get the desired result. Thus we ought to light the divine fire in ourselves with tears and effort.

Amma Syncletica

from ‘Desert Sayings’ quoted in How Shall We Live by Joan Chittister, OSB.


voice of the day

Better just to smell a flower in the garden…than to have an unauthentic experience of a much higher value. Better to honestly enjoy the sunshine or some light reading than to claim to be in contact with something that one is not in contact with at all.

– Thomas Merton

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4.5 quake rattles L.A.

I guess I should have expected this, now that we are in L.A. —

LA Times earthquake story from today

“An earthquake rocked Los Angeles early today, waking people up and knocking things off shelves. There were no reports of injuries.”

Personally, I did not feel anything — but a couple of people at the coffee shop said it scared them to death.


a call to be part of a community of faith

When Martin Luther got up in the morning and put water on his face, he would say, “I am baptized!” It was a way of reminding himself that living out his baptism was a key to discipleship … For us as well as for Martin Luther, the baptismal covenant is to be lived out in daily discipleship. The call to discipleship is a call to be part of a community of faith. When a traveling rabbi in the first century said: “Come, follow me,” it was not only an invitation to respond personally but to become a part of the “school of disciples” following that rabbi.  Dwight Vogel


bridge collapse

I was away for a few days in MN taking a seminary class. (an ‘intensive’ where you cram 40 hours of class time in a single week). Anyway, am back in L.A. now, and Michelle and I were in the car yesterday, and heard the news about the bridge collapse in Minneapolis.

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This bridge, which is one of the busiest in the state of MN, is only about 5 minutes from where we used to live in Minneapolis. And I drove over this bridge a few times last week.

I got a few emails from Mpls people this morning, letting me know they are okay & were not anywhere close to the collapse. One of the really sad stories on the I read online was about a couple of people who were pinned in their cars & they could not get them out & how they told rescue workers to pass on their final good-byes to their families.