hiatus

well my friends i am off on a two week hiatus. I will be camping with
Jr. Highers at a younglife camp this week and then off to Yosemite with
Emily and Her fine Folks.

We look forward to experiencing that grace and power that has created
us all, and Yosemite, I think from what I have heard, will be a prine
example of this. This will be my first time.

until later.

C. Wess Daniels
951 N. Louise #104
Glendale, CA 91207
(818) 241-1992

“The saving of our world from pending doom will come, not through the
complacent adjustment of the conforming majority, but through the
creative maladjustment of a nonconforming minority.” Martin Luther
King

http://gatheringlight.blogspot.com
http://homepage.mac.com/cwdaniels
http://xanga.com/cwdaniels

On the City – Reflections on the Poor and Skid Row

I must say that these conversations as of late have been very stimulating, all this talk about living and not living in places of perceived danger and felt danger.  I have some last words to say before I head out on a two-week hiatus in a couple days.

I am not trying to con-vice anyone and especially Shane of my position for I know that if I were to seek to do that I would be trying to convince someone to Wess’ truth not God’s.  However, I do not see myself as one who is misled by the Spirit and thus I feel it necessary to exegete my view further, with a greater depth and clarity so that there may be peace and understanding of how I see (and how I ultimately feel the Spirit has led me to see) these things discussed.

First to my friend (and I mean that with the utmost sincerity) Shane, In one of your recent posts you said, “it seems like some Christians want to frown upon my wife and I for moving out of a not so nice neighborhood (which I’m just going to call the ghetto) because too many Christians are moving out.” I must respond in an offer of peace, that I would much rather you think of my comments as first coming from friend and then coming from a Christian.  The reason for the splitting of these hairs are that often to say a “Christian thinks this or that about me” equates “He or she is judging me.”  I have added comments first as a friend who feels that I have room to make comments in a constructive way and further, and in the hopes to create dialog that will be beneficial to all for I know that as we seek to have clear and fair dialogue with one another the Spirit is able to teach us all.  This was a basic premise that underlined our Monday Night Bible study back in the day, we believed that everyone had a right to speak, that is those who are of faith in Christ, because we all have the spirit of God within us.  So take this as a peace offering.

Secondly, I think as people of faith we ought to be intentional about becoming more aware of those who are underprivileged, oppressed or just down and out.  This is why the word “Ghetto” makes my spine tingle, and why the connotations with that word are even worse.  What we I think we mean (and I mean we because I am guilty of it too) when we say Ghetto is something more discriminatory, and often classist or racist.    What I mean is that Ghetto has a very negative and hurtful connotation, hurtful to God who is the God of the oppressed (and Ghettos are often times homes of the oppressed – this is a basic historical point).  The Minor Prophets in the Old Testament, and Psalms such as 130, and 136 tell us that God intentionally seeks justice for the poor.  If this is true then we ought to as Christians as God, how can we be active in helping him in his pursuit.

Notice I said “His pursuit” this is because to minister to and with those who are poor and unlovely (and often times dangerous) is not our pursuit as human beings, it is not the thing that we choose naturally, that is why it is so hard to find social workers who have worked in the field for a long time (and if you can – ask them is they still enjoy their job).  Working with the unloved is the business of the church. No one argues this point; it is just how we interpret the unloved that makes this tricky.

Who are the unloved?  I think there are many in every race and class that are unloved.  I think that we ought to have the church serving all peoples, and loving all.  But the problem comes when everyone wants to love, serve and live in specific suburban areas.  That is to say, there are too many people being called to the Suburbs (if that is what it is) and not enough being called to the city.  Is God unaware of the needs in places like skid row in downtown LA where 20,000 people are homeless every night (In America)?  And Skid row is just blocks wide and a not many deep.  There are not many churches down there, and the ones that are really need help surviving because there are little resources.  But In Pasadena where the city seeks to be a “Utopia” (this is literally what council members have said they want that suburb to be) there are churches (and wealthy ones at that) all over the place.  Some of the largest and most influential churches in the country are here.  So I ask who are the Unloved? And what are we doing to put our lives on the line to love them.

Isn’t this what Jesus did?  He said if you seek to save your life you will lose it, but if you seek to lose your life you will save it.  Did he also actually live this way?  Shane brought up a good point about the times when Christ fled when his life was in danger.  Christ did flee, but it tells us three things about Christ: 1) he had a certain appointment with death that could not be interrupted or maligned for his appointment would change the course of history (my death certainly is not anywhere close to this category); 2) If Christ fled from danger more than once that assumes that he continued to go back to dangerous areas; 3) and/or Christ was not in dangerous places because poor people and unloved people are not dangerous to him, rather danger came to find him – that is those who sought to kill him watched for opportunities to do such, such as the chief priests, Pharisees and Herod  (Mark 2).

There are so many accounts of Christ working with those that would by today’s standards fall into one of our negative labeling categories that we ought to begin to re-evaluate what it is that underlies those categories.  Is it Americanism? Is it the Church having fallen victim to wanting to grow in numbers and material goods?  Is it our fear of loss and pain? Our search for safety? These latter two are not wrong, they are true for all humanity, but they must be fit into Christ’s upside-down values instead of the other way around.  Those upside-down values are the things like the Beatitudes where the mourners are happy and the poor and feed – where Christ tells people to love their enemies instead of killing them, and if need be lay down your life for others, where he tells people to lose their lives instead of trying to save them, and where the last keep on truckin.  This is the Christ who calls for a reversal of “White-Flight.”

I agree with my brother who stated that it is funny for one to say that Christians are leaving the city, when in reality most people want to flee to the suburbs.  The clarification is that it is mainly the whites who are the ones leaving, this is an actual statistical fact and in the anthropology and sociology books you will find the exact term “White-Flight” to explain the phenomena that rules much of white Americans and that includes the church.  Why are they running…fear. 

But the God of Upside-down values says, “Fear not for I am with you,“ and Ephesians 1 talks of the triumphant power we have in Christ, Paul talks in Gal. that “I no longer live, But Christ in me“ (meaning he has forfeited all of his “rights“ to God, and in Phil. he say “to live is Christ and to die is gain (drawing a paradox of equal value between life and death).“  Finally we know that James Jesus’ brother told his audience that “religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress…” Who are the orphaned and widowed in our day, the powerless, the hopeless, the unloved and rejected?

Finally I think that we should as Christians at least at Prayerfully “what is my part in helping to serve the poor and unwanted.”  Because this mindset is a much more active response to the problem than noticing it and wanting to do something about it, but yet making no move.  This Our fault in downtown Canton, we loved living on 8th street, and knew a couple of people that lived on our street but neither of us were pro-active in being Christ to our neighbors and that is where we messed up.  Because all God asks us to do is to be His people to those around us – to pro-actively love and serve whoever may come across our paths.

I guess I think often about Luke 4:18-19 and what Jesus said he came to do, it was his inaugural speech for his ministry, here are the things that were on his agenda that is pretty powerful and I want to have that same Christ-centered agenda because it was good enough for him.  Secondly Matthew 11:4-6 Kind of tells what Jesus had accomplished that far into his ministry, which were the things he said he was gonna do “…the good news is preached to the poor…” they had to be preached to because many of them had never heard before, because they were not welcome in the synagogues etc. 

“These are my thoughts that cloud up my mind, and take over my heart in passion.”

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Life in a Lull

this weekend was pretty fun. Emily and I took it easy which we always like.  We went to Ikea to look for some furniture and spent a lot of time just browsing the store.  We love living on 10 min. from that place!

We went to our pasadena church this past sunday, it was fun, I got to run sound and emily did the slides, she is really the coolest!  We will miss hanging out at foothills community church but we do feel the need to be plugging into Glendale more.  We don’t really know anyone here or know much about where to go for stuff.  We want to find the local spots, you know like where you take your car to get the transmission looked at, and where the best grocery stores are etc.

I guess i have been feeling weird lately.  I have so much i want to do, mainly creative things.  I feel like i can’t get there because I have so much school to deal with.  Yesterday I was at an Art College and it made me regret never doing art in school.  It is such a part of who i desire to be, its not that i think i am good at it, but it is something i always think about, always want.  That is part of it.  The other part is deeper, and not I haven’t discovered it yet.  It is this on going dissatisfaction.

I am not sure why I have felt this – I think it is impart because I feel like I am doing nothing.  What I  mean is I keep thinking about Emily how she is working so much, and How we want a house and a nice car, and a comfortable lifestyle and i feel like I should get off my hind end and get a real job.    I think this is one of the main struggles with school, and it is the one reason why many don’t go to school.  they get caught up making money.  But on my end, it is trying to stay focused on the finish line, investing is hard because you make real-time sacrifices, for something better later.  This investment mindedness is what has been hard for me.

I found out yesterday that one of my brothers is in jail for driving with bad plates and no license.  I hurt for him and his family.  They don’t have much money, and he has really been struggling to find his way.  I prayed for him this morning, a real pray, the first real pray i have prayed in a while.  I really want to help them, I want him to follow Christ and find hope in this life.  I prayed that this would be a turning point.

What will happen?  Sometimes i can’t take all the drama  Maybe because I can’t find my place in it, I don’t know what my role is, especially being so far away.  There are times when I want to run and Hide, there are times when I want to run and save them.  Then there are those times when I reminisce about the way the way things used to be. 

A Survey

My Wife, Emily, Filled this survey out the other day and I thought it was really funny.  She pretty much just rocks!
http://xanga.com/pasadenarecords
This is what you’re supposed to do…and try not to be LAME and spoil the fun! Just give in. Copy (not forward) this entire

e-mail and paste it into a new email. Don’t forget to delete out all the other email Addresses so this doesn’t get mpossibly long. Change all of the answers so that they apply to you. Then, send this to a whole bunch of people you know  INCLUDING* the person who sent it to you. The theory is that you will learn a lot of little known facts about your friends. It is fun and easy.

1. First Name: Emily

2. Were you named after anyone?  no

3. Do you wish on stars?  no

4. When did you last cry?  Strangely, I don’t know… I have a tendency to cry often, but haven’t had a reason to cry lately.

5. Do you like your handwriting? Nope

6. What is your favorite lunchmeat? Peanut butter

7. What is your birth date?   11.17.80

8. What is your most embarrassing CD? ???

9. If you were another person, would YOU be friends with you? Yeah, I guess I would say I agree with myself about a lot of things.

10. Are you a daredevil?  I don’t know… I teach Junior High.  Does that qualify?

11. Have you ever told a secret you swore not to tell? YES

12. Do looks matter? No…. but the way you take care of yourself does.Â

13. How do you release anger? Cry and yell and get violent.

14. Where is your second home?  Cali.

15. Do you trust others easily?  Yes… and no.  I assume the best of people, but I also assume they won’t accept me for who I am.  I guess that shows a lack of trust.

16. What was your favorite toy as a child? I really don’t know!

17. What class in high school do you think was totally useless? World History taught by the football coach.  Talk about bad professional practices…

18. Do you have a journal?  Yes, I don’t use it often enough, though.

19. Do you use sarcasm a lot?  No?

20. Favorite  movie(s)? Anne of Green Gables, Spellbound, Napoleon Dynamite, American Splendor

22. What are your nicknames?  Louise, Weezer

23. Would you bungee jump?  No, I’m afraid of heights.

24. Do you untie your shoes when you take them off? I don’t know…

26. Do you think that you are strong? YES!

27. What’s your favorite ice cream flavor?   Breyers Mint M&M

28. Shoe Size?   8

29. What are your favorite colors?  greens, yellows, oranges

30. What is your least favorite thing about yourself? My insecurity

31. Who do you miss most?  My family

32. Do you want everyone you send this to send it back?  Yes!

33. What color pants are you wearing?  Army green

34. What are you listening to right now? The air conditioner in my classroom (my classroom!)

35. Last thing you ate? Popcorn (don’t tell Wess!)

36. If you were a crayon, what color would you be?  Turmeric!

37. What is the weather like right now?  California hot and sunny

38. Last person you talked to on the phone?  Jeff Ash, my nextdoor neighbor from Fuller

39. The first thing you notice about the opposite sex? I think the way they carry themselves… but I would have to test to verify

40. Do you like the person who sent this to you? YES!

41. How Are You Today?  Well!

42. Favorite Drink? Water or green tea!

43. Favorite Sport?  To watch–gymnastics!  To doâ€??jogging?

44. Hair Color?    brown

45. Eye Color?  hazel

46. Do you wear contacts?  No

48. Favorite Food? Yes.  I mean I love food, but especially anything Indian or Asian or Mediterranean or Mexican

49. Last Movie You Watched? The Italian Job

50.  Favorite Day Of The Year?  The day I spend celebrating!

51. Scary Movies Or Happy Endings?  Happy Endings

52. Summer Or Winter? Four seasons

53. Hugs OR Kisses?  Hugs

55. What Is Your Favorite Dessert? ICE CREAM

58. Living Arrangements? Me and Hubby 2 miles from Mission Control

59. What Book(s) Are You Reading?  The Call of Stories by Robert Coles

60. What’s On Your Mouse Pad? Don’t have one

62. What Did You Watch Last night on TV?  Extreme makeover, home edition

63. Favorite Smells? Fresh morning air, food

64. Rolling Stones or Beatles? BEATLES

65. Do you believe in Evolution or Creationism?  Not that clear cut… but Creation

66. What’s the furthest you’ve been from home? Dominican Republic

Rob's Conversation with Rob Lowe

Here is an email my good friend Rob Strong sent me earlier today its worth the humor:

“I was on a film shoot from noon till 2a.m.  Liu and I are doing extra work for our new hobby.  ‘Gotta shoot the breeze with Rob Lowe about 1 a.m.

The conversation went something like this:

                                                          DIRECTOR

                                              Cut!

                                         

The buzzer buzzes, a room full of extras sigh with relief, and Rob, the extra runs up to the assistant director, grimacing and holding his crotch like a little school-boy.

                                                            ROB STRONG

                                      Oh, God!  Please!  We have five minutes

                                      till the next shot gets set up.  I’m an old

                                      man, and I’ve gotta take care of my

                                      prostate!  My bladder’s distended like a

                                      playground kickball.

The Assistant Director waves Rob on without even looking, continuing to argue with the other Assistant Director through his head-set.

                                                      ASS. DIRECTOR

                                   

                                    Just don’t try to come back in if the red

                                    light’s on!                                         

Rob smacks open the steel door, and stops for a second enjoying the cool night air.  He begins to stroll quickly down the sidewalk toward the bathroom-for-extras on the other side of the trailers.  He hears the door open again behind him and turns briefly to see a black-clad figure walking swiftly just behind him.

                                                  ROB LOWE

                                  How’s it goin’.

                                                  ROB STRONG

                                  Hey, man, okay.  I’ve got a tank load of

                                  coffee to get rid of.  I didn’t know we’d be

                                  here this late.

                                                  ROB LOWE

                                  Yeah.  I know.  I’m gettin’ ready to go

                                  fire some up myself.

                                                  ROB STRONG

                                  Right on, man.  See ya.

                                                  ROB LOWE

                                  Yep.

Rob Strong continued to stroll swiftly toward the bathroom, his distended bladder taking up more thought space than the brief encounter with celebrity.

As he peed into the urinal, he grinned with elated relief.  Then he thought to himself

                                                  ROB

                                  Holy shit!  I just talked with Rob Lowe

                                  about piss and coffee.??