Tag: religion

Read More

Where She Waits

I don’t have much experience with Catholic religious symbols. But, presumably, the porcelain statue spotted in an alley—between Louisiana and Mississippi in San Diego neighborhood University Heights—is one. You tell me. I can’t say whether the relic is meant to be hidden behind the vine, or if the growth is naturally occurring.

The Featured Image comes from Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra, using the 200-megapixel capability, which resulted in a massively large file (Warning: 58MB).

Read More

The Devil’s Doors

Well, the Featured Image is sure to offend somebody. Others might cheer the implications. The doors stand outside one of the churches in San Diego neighborhood Hillcrest. By no coincidence, the institution flies rainbow flag.

I can’t resist. In Matt. 7:13, Jesus said: “Enter through the narrow gate; for the gate is wide and the way is broad that leads to destruction, and there are many who enter through it” (NASB). My question for you: Are six doors of inclusion a “narrow gate?”

Read More

The Witnesses

While wandering around Balboa Park on April 20, 2023, I passed by several spots where people evangelized their religious faiths. Among them, Hare Krishna was one and Jehovah Witness was another. For the latter, I stopped to chat with a tall gent, wearing a broad smile, thick-frame eyeglasses, and straw-like hat.

He regularly comes down from Vista to San Diego to spread the good word about Jehovah. I didn’t think to mention that my apartment is located about three blocks from a Kingdom Hall. He graciously agreed to be photographed—and the woman, whom I believe was his wife, too. The Featured Image comes from Leica Q2 Monochrom. Vitals, aperture manually set: f/5.6, ISO 200, 1/1250 sec, 28mm; 3:16 p.m. PDT.

Read More

Another Bible Story

I recently realized something is missing from my Harper Study Bible, which is Revised Standard Version. Verses are omitted, which greatly surprises. My go-to Good Book is a compact New American Standard acquired during the mid-1980s. In that translation, verses that scholars suspect were later added to the original text are bracketed. They are omitted, often without explanation, in RSV, I discovered earlier this week. As one of many examples: Mark 15 skips verse 28.

The 1980-edition HSB is a used purchase, from Amazon in April 2017. The seller failed to indicate that a name is gold-embossed on the cover—and not even his own. But that gotcha aside, condition was quite good. But five years later, the leather shows significant wear, cracking and separating some places. As such, retirement was an eventual destination for the book.

Read More

No Vision

New Vision Christian Fellowship closed its University Heights building in May 2019, long after selling the property to a developer for as much as $34 million (I couldn’t confirm the amount). If my observation of apparent sparse attendance—except for free food days—indicates anything, the church hadn’t thrived for some time in the location. Proceeds from the sale created opportunity for relocation (Orange Avenue in City Heights) and funds to expand evangelical work.

But the departure nevertheless left a hole in the heart of the San Diego neighborhood, which would be filled with a towering edifice currently under construction. A modest religious institution will be replaced by a towering cathedral for materialistic worshippers.

Read More

The Last Christmas

On Dec. 22, 2018, I happened by New Vision Christian Fellowship during the latter portion of its Christmas celebration. Clueless me for not knowing what was going on in my San Diego neighborhood of University Heights. But my ignorance only started there. I also didn’t know that the church had sold the property to developers. This would be the last such gathering at the location.

I rather gingerly shot candids, using Leica Q, wanting not to intrude—particularly because of timing: Parents lined up with kids to receive presents of what kind I either didn’t see or simply don’t recall; being otherwise focused. None of the three shots is spectacular; their value is marking a moment passed that can never return or repeat.

Read More

A New Vision

We begin a series of posts looking at what was along Park Blvd between El Cajon and Meade in San Diego neighborhood University Heights and what replaces it. On most Friday afternoons, New Vision Christian Fellowship opened its doors to give away food. Long lines formed, with recipients largely making up two disparate demographic groups: The elderly and Hispanic families.

I used Leica M10 and Summarit-M 1:2.4/50 lens to capture the Featured Image and companion on April 27, 2018. Vitals for both: f/5.6 (guess), ISO 100, 1/500 sec, 50mm; 5:06 p.m. PDT.

Read More

‘They Graffitied It’

This morning, following my semi-annual dentist appointment, I walked from San Diego’s College Area to Talmadge, where is Grocery Outlet. Along the way, at the corner of El Cajon Blvd and 62nd Street, I came upon some religious love art on a utility box. Well, that was worth a shot.

As I pulled up iPhone 13 Pro to take the Featured Image, a big dude smoking a joint thumped down the sidewalk. Downwind to the stink, I smelled his approach before seeing him. Passing by, he pointed and stated: “They graffitied it”. I didn’t say, but thought: Yeah, if you consider Jesus graffiti. I don’t, and that section of the city could use a little spiritual affirmation—the, ah, weed-wacking walker, too.

Read More

The Players

Friends invited me to attend Spirit West Coast at the Del Mar Fairgrounds in 2008. I couldn’t guess what to expect—and, whoa, what a surprise. The atmosphere felt good and the overall ambience refreshed and enlivened. Christian musicians. Families. Young adults. All having fun at a festival where there was no alcohol or illegal substances. I was surprised. Transfixed.

I attended the following year, too. But those days are gone. The music festival no longer comes to San Diego County.

Read More

Where the Monks Live

Nested among commercial cathedrals to alcohol and hedonism is the Hsi Fang Temple on Park Blvd in University Height’s main business district. The location is prime real estate that developers drool over, and it’s a spiritual stakeholder among one of the many San Diego communities where Christianity is in decline (see my missive “Is God Inclusive?” for perspective on that values topic).

I occasionally will see Buddhist monks, dressed in their more traditional garb, walking about UH. They are in some ways the biggest reminder of the temple’s presence, in part because the building, while massive, is unpretentious. Street-facing Buddha’s Light Bookstore might draw more attention if open more hours (website says Wednesday evenings and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on weekends).

Read More

The Lawn God

I don’t know what to make of this thing. Do you? There is something about the, ah, artwork that conjures images of animal idols worshipped by ancient cultures. As such, I am somewhat hesitant to share the Featured Image, captured today using Leica Q2 Monochrom. Vitals, aperture manually set: f/5.6, ISO 200, 1/800 sec, 28mm; 12:44 p.m. PDT. I took another at f/2.8 but prefer this shot.

My understanding is that goats are often associated with the occult or Satan worship. For sure, there is a whole lot of potential symbolic imagery to associate with this thang—and all of it beyond my knowledge to decipher. For example, what’s that emblem on the metal stake through the skull? Are those hanging cogged machine wheels supposed to represent overly large testicles? Or do I make something out of nothing—someone having merely cobbled together junk to make a personal showpiece?