Christmas Happenings!

Christmas Party

FRIDAY Dec 14 7:30

We are happy to announce the 20s30s will once again return to the rectory for a Christmas gathering.  It will feature some warm drinks and a delicious festive menu prepared by Jonathan and Nate.  Also, carols by the fire and reunions galore.

If you are new this year, this event is one of the longest standing traditions for the 20s30s so a lot of the institutional folks come out of the woodwork.

If you haven’t been involved as much this year, we’d love to have you come out and join us!  See what we’ve been up to!

Homeboy Industries

You’ve seen them on the patio selling bread.  What’s that all about?  We’re reading Tattoos on the Heart by Father Greg Boyle.

by Father Greg Boyle.  Father Greg is the founder of Homeboy Industries.  It is a program to get gang members out of gangs and into jobs.  It started with a bakery.  You may have seen them selling bread on the patio.  That’s why.
Tattoos on the Heart is a collection of stories from Father Greg about his work with gang members as they transition out of gang life and into “normal.”
The stories are touching, funny, tragic, and inspirational.  It’s also an easy read.  Perfect for your travel or down time during holidays.
Get yourself a copy at the church bookstore or online.
Homeboy industries has grown into a thriving collection of businesses including the bakery, a silk screen print shop, and a restaurant and catering business.
We plan to have our meeting at Homeboy Cafe.  So you get to read, eat, and see the work in action.  It’s fun. It’s full circle.
We’ll meet this month and again in January.
Saturday December 1st 11am
Homeboy Bakery
130 Bruno Street, Los Angeles, CA 90012
Project Angel Tree
You’ll see the angels on one of the tables on the patio.  This is a program that buys gifts for prisoner’s children at Christmas time.  It is a really moving experience.  I bought a dress shirt for a teen last year.  He wanted a nice shirt to wear to job interviews.  It did not expect it to be as rewarding as I found it to be.  This year I have been helping more by calling the families to find out what the children might want.  I highly recommend picking up an angel and going shopping for someone you’ll never meet. But never the less whose life you can impact greatly this holiday season.

Happy Advent!

Advent is the season of anticipation leading up to Christmas.  The church has lots of celebrations throughout the season.  We hope to see you as much as possible it would make our holiday a happy one!

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Reverse Black Friday

From my friend Joel, leader of the 20s30s at Hollywood Presbyterian Church.  We partner with their 20s30s group on lots of activities and this is one that we are especially excited about. Check out his message to group about reverse black friday and a screening of What Would Jesus Buy?

As we approach Thanksgiving this week, and by extension the Advent and Christmas season, we will be confronted by a cultural phenomenon that has come to be known as “Black Friday.” We all know what Black Friday is: that day after Thanksgiving when all of the stores advertise huge sales and open their doors at the crack of dawn to massive crowds who will fight (in some cases physically) their way through the stores looking for the best deals.

 

Black Friday has been the biggest shopping day of the year for the past 10 years, except 2004, when it was topped only by the Saturday before Christmas. The amount of money people spend on Black Friday is unbelievable. In 2009, 2010, and 2011, despite the worst recession since the Great Depression, record-high unemployment, and record-high household debt, both the number of shoppers and the average each of them spent increased. In 2011, approximately 226 million people spent an average of $398.62 EACH, for a grand total of $52.5 billion spent! That means that the day after we’re supposed to give thanks for all that we have, over 2/3 of the people in this country made the statement that they didn’t have enough.

 

What sort of effect is this having on us as Christians and as a culture? And why even bring this up?

 

I would like to extend my Reverse Black Friday challenge to all of you.

 

I’m sure that most of you have heard of Buy Nothing Day, a response to Black Friday calling on people to not shop on that day. But the problem with Buy Nothing Day is that it focuses only on consumer behavior (which is indeed out of control) and doesn’t offer any chance for spiritual growth and reflection; ultimately it is a call to inaction.

 

Reverse Black Friday takes that idea and makes it a call to action. Not only does it involve not shopping on Black Friday, it involves getting rid of things by giving them away. Instead of going out on Black Friday and buying more stuff, use your day off to stay at home and clean out all of your stuff. End the day by donating everything you need to get rid of to Goodwill, Salvation Army, or some other charity, church, or non-profit. Use the time to reflect on all of the blessings that God has given you over the past year, and to be thankful.

 

The first reading for November 23 from the GROW Journal that we’ve been doing as a church is Galatians 5:13-26, which seems especially apropos for Black Friday. Here are the first few verses of that from The Message:

 

“It is absolutely clear that God has called you to a free life. Just make sure that you don’t use this freedom as an excuse to do whatever you want to do and destroy your freedom. Rather, use your freedom to serve one another in love; that’s how freedom grows. For everything we know about God’s Word is summed up in a single sentence: Love others as you love yourself. That’s an act of true freedom. If you bite and ravage each other, watch out—in no time at all you will be annihilating each other, and where will your precious freedom be then?

 

My counsel is this: Live freely, animated and motivated by God’s Spirit. Then you won’t feed the compulsions of selfishness. For there is a root of sinful self-interest in us that is at odds with a free spirit, just as the free spirit is incompatible with selfishness. These two ways of life are antithetical, so that you cannot live at times one way and at times another way according to how you feel on any given day. Why don’t you choose to be led by the Spirit and so escape the erratic compulsions of a law-dominated existence?”

 

Having done Reverse Black Friday both last year and this year (I had to do it this past weekend, as I’m out of town on Black Friday proper), it’s hard. It’s hard to overcome those “compulsions of selfishness” that Paul talks about, hard get up the motivation to do the cleaning, and hard to avoid the deals that will be offered to us on Black Friday. It’s amazing and baffling to me that I try to convince myself that I still need some trinket-god (to steal my favorite term that The Message uses a little later in that same passage) that I haven’t used or even seen in years. If ever there were a clear sign that we are too greedy and beholden to our stuff, it’s that.

 

But it’s been great both times, and I would encourage every one of you to do it this year. It’s a very freeing experience to be rid of things that you don’t need, and it’s a good and necessary spiritual exercise to put us in the right frame of mind as we approach the Christmas and Advent season. As any of you who have been here for the past 2 Christmases know, Pastor Dan constantly talks about taking back that season from the greed and over-commercialization that have come to characterize it, and helping us focus first on waiting for, and then celebrating the birth of our Savior. I can’t think of a better way to do that than to get rid of all of our excess stuff (and avoid accumulating more), freeing us, as Paul suggests, and allowing us to choose to be “led by the Spirit.”

 

In the spirit of Reverse Black Friday and in preparation for Advent, I would also like to invite you all to join us this Sunday, November 25 to watch the movie What Would Jesus Buy?

 

The movie is a documentary that follows Reverend Billy and the Church of Stop Shopping Gospel Choir as they travel across the US in the weeks leading up to Christmas. Admittedly, it is a little silly at times, but it is a great way to put some of this in perspective and help us think about what this season means, and what our place is in the culture as Christians, not consumers. Here’s a link to the trailer for the movie: http://youtu.be/sGi21YQFjMM

 

We will be meeting in The Cellar on Sunday at 5pm to watch the movie. We’ll have coffee and hot chocolate, so feel free to bring some snacks along. Afterwards, we can all go get something to eat together as we discuss the movie.

 

Hope to see you all there, and Happy Thanksgiving!

Small Group Discussions!

We’re forming new small groups and want to hear from you! What do you want to read?   Do you want to do some heavy reading?  Wrestle with the texts?  Or do you want something simple that can start a conversation?  What have you read lately that was really good?  What is waiting on your bookshelf, that the accountability of a small group might finally give you the motivation to pick up and read again?

Over the next couple months, we’ll be talking to you at various events to hear what you want to do.  Join us at any of these events and join in the conversation!

AllSaints Weekend Dinner Party

 

At the home of Brian and Karen Ide in West Adams.  We invite you to join in some fun interactive pizza making and friendship making. Then for s’mores around the campfire.  For more info talk to Charlie.

Noodles & New Urbanism

We meet to discuss urban issues and eat noodles because they’re delicious.  This is an active small group that is in partnership with the 20s30s group at Hollywood Pres.  We’re currently reading Sidewalks in the Kingdom by Eric Jacobsen but you can join us if you haven’t read it yet.  We also share articles and videos on the topic via our blog.  www.noodlesandnewurbanism.org

This month we’re meeting at Mao’s Kitchen because their curry rice stick noodles have been calling us back every time!  For more info talk to Josh

Homegirl Cafe Breakfast

Homeboy Bakery is the organization that sells bread on the patio the first Sunday of every month.  They work with gang members to get them out of gangs and into jobs.  Like in a bakery, hence the bread.  They also have a full restaurant downtown called Homegirl Cafe.  We’re heading down there to check it out.

Tattoos on the Heart is a collection of stories Father Greg has lived out in the developing of this impactful ministry.  Pick up a copy at the Parish Bookstore or at the gift shop when we visit the Cafe!

For more info talk to Josh

 

 

Neighborhood Youth Association

The 20s30s group volunteers with the NYA in their after school tutoring programs.  If you’d like to volunteer or get a tour of the program talk to Charlie.

We look forward to seeing all of you soon on the patio at church or at one of these great events!

Josh