Archive for September, 2007

Immigrant Blessings, part 2:: Los Angeles

I was back in La Puente/Hacienda Hts (in Los Angeles County) not too long ago, visiting a friend at El Pueblo Burger, an old High School hangout. Its a Mexican burger joint, located in a strip mall along with a Chinese bank, nude strip mall, random computer store, and some more stores, across the street from a Korean strip mall with another eclectic mix- fitting for an area that comes close to being half Latino and half Asian.

I needed to use the restroom, and so I went through the doors marked “men.” I was taken aback at first. “Wow, when was the last time I saw all this graffiti?”

You see, I’ve spent the last eleven years of my life in North San Diego, living in communities that are majority white, and definitely upper class. Public bathrooms in these parts are clean; ie- no graffiti. And so I wasn’t used to what I saw at El Pueblo burger, I wasn’t used to the setting I had grown up in and considered normal. Funny (or disturbing, perhaps)- I know people in my part of San Diego would quickly call Hacienda Hts “ghetto.” Graffiti? Sure. Ghetto? If this is ghetto, then what should we call —- ?

There’s something about being part of a big, multicultural city in the U.S. that is special. Especially Los Angeles County. You get exposed to almost everything- socially, culturally, religiously, educationally, and so on. I guess it comes with the territory- over 9 million people live there, and at least 224 different languages are spoken (San Diego County has 3 million residents speaking 100 lanugages). And there’s nothing like being a part of it all- contributing, learning, shaping.

Sure, Los Angeles has its down sides- traffic, pollution, and so on. But there’s no place quite like it where anyone (but particularly immigrants) can bless and be blessed.  I’m glad it’s part of my heritage.

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The 21st century, post-modern Gospel diagram

My good friend James Choung just posted a video of a gospel diagram he’s pioneered. It will be coming out in print form Spring 2008 under the title True Story: A Christianity Worth Believing In. (You can find a chapter excerpt here)

Simply put, the diagram is amazing. It captures many of the horizontal, relational, creational, and missional aspects that previous gospel diagrams and presentations failed to capture. To be sure, some may feel a bit uncomfortable with the lack of elaboration on justification/substitution in the presentation. Not to worry- the diagram allows for one to explain it as necessary. (And don’t forget- the video is a quick clip, and how do you diagram substitution anyway? No prior gospel diagram I’m aware of actually drew it out).

I pray that many find this helpful, and many encounter Jesus and the New Life as a result.