• How to be a Valentine: A Note on Martyrdom.

    Today is a feast, a gift and remembrance, of an occasion I have yet see Hallmark really nail with one of its watercolored limericks:  there once was a man so in love with God that he was beheaded for performing marriages in opposition to war.   In defense of hallmark, that is a very hard picture to paint with water colors… In the third century, Emperor Claudius had declared marriage illegal in order to encourage more young men to volunteer to be soldiers.  Valentine, a celibate priest, opposed both the aggressive violence of the empire as well as the notion that the state alone held the reins of marriage.  …

  • The George Man Speaks

    Right out of college I attended the Los Angeles Church of the Nazarene while I was studying Urban Ministry there. The Church community was very intentional about ministering in the city, being hospitable to everyone, and really living life in community. It was there that I met “George Man.” George is a character, a man with a remarkably interesting life and a man who demands a lot of attention from you when you are around him. Even though I have moved far away from him, 18 years later he is still shaping my life.

  • Ninja’s Teeth and the Relentless Love of God.

    When I was just out of college I was pretty hell-bent on changing the world. Hopefully I still am but back then I was far less patient to see the results of my efforts. I had moved to the heart of Los Angeles to study a year of urban studies as well as fulfill an internship at the First Church of The Nazarene on Third & Vermont. I was ready for adventure, but not for the hard work of everyday care and concern for other who sometimes annoyed me.  Nevertheless something clicked at the county hospital one day when I tried to help “Ninja” get his teeth fixed.