When our family decided to take the plunge and move from the midwest to the coast, one of the things I was the most worried about was our ability to find a new church that we would like and that would feel like the home church we were leaving due to the move. We wanted to live in a place with better weather, where our kids could play outside longer each year, and where we could enjoy things to do outside instead of having to brave the cold winter elements in order to get anywhere. When my husband was offered a job in Santa Monica California, we decided that it would be the perfect opportunity to move out of the cold weather and get back near the coast and allow our kids to grow up playing outside all year long. But even though I was excited about the move, I was also a little worried about finding a Santa Monica church in our new location. We have been preparing for the move for the last few months, and I have been scouring the internet looking for what types of churches are available in the area that we might like. I have put together a great list of all the churches that are within driving distance from the area that we are planning to move to, and we are going to try them all out once we get there. I’m really hoping that after spending a few months in town, we will be able to find a Santa Monica church that we all enjoy and we all feel like we could become a part of if we started attending. I’m really looking for something that is filled with other moms like me, who work part time but who mainly are mothers and spend their time raising their kids. I use my current church as an outlet for all of my entertainment and my personal time, because that is where I’ve made all my friends. And my kids have their friends there, so we really use it as a second home, and its where all of our activities happen and all of our social networking takes place. I am certainly going to miss that church, but I think that we need a different life style even more than we want to stay here for the church. So if we can find something that is just as great in our new location of Santa Monica, then it would be the perfect life change. I know that there are several Santa Monica churches, and so I’m not worried about eventually finding one that we will all enjoy, but I don’t want it to take too long, because we all really need that type of fellowship, especially if we are living in a new place and trying to make friends and meet people. If my list works out, we’ll have found a place within the first six months, and I think that would be a really perfect time frame for my family.
The teenagers in the local Santa Monica area had been working hard on fundraising for a trip that had been in the works for nearly a year. They held bake sales, raised donations from collections at church, and held car washes every other weekend throughout the school year and summer. They wanted to go to Africa, and their Santa Monica church promised they would support them in their mission if they came up with the fare to cover their own plane tickets and food. The church would then contribute some of the materials to help with a school that was being built, and the kids would get to help work on the building itself.
They were going to leave in a few weeks, and had big plans. They were going to stay with the local families and start to learn their customs, and hopefully some of their language. They also spoke some English, which would allow the teenagers to be able to communicate with their host families, and every day the students would get up and go to the site of the school being built, where they would lend their hands.
This is a special group of teenagers. They know it is going to be difficult work, and difficult living conditions, but all they have wanted to do for so long now is help in any way they can. Their church would chip in for some of the materials, and another non-governmental organization was helping out with the rest of the materials. The students needed to get themselves to the country, where they would be met by a local counterpart from that church. They would have the opportunity to attend church services in Africa, and share that experience with their friends and family when they returned.
Their families were worried about them being gone so long and so far away, but they were reminded repeatedly by their own children that they needed to have faith and to trust that it would all be okay, and that they were going with purpose to do good work for people who did not have the same advantages that they had grown up. Serving the under served was what the point was, more than one feisty teenager said to their parent. Being exposed to another culture and lifestyle and language was just a bonus for the American teenagers who had done little traveling and never as far as Africa.
The big day has finally arrived, and a bunch of excited looking teenagers and anxious looking parents huddle in groups near the airport ticket counter. It is time to get the kids all squared away to get on their plane and parents are struggling to say good-bye to their children for two weeks. For many of them this is the longest they will have gone without seeing their kids in their whole lives. They just keep telling themselves and each other it is for a greater cause, and a greater purpose, and they hug their kids tightly and send them on their way. Some things are bigger than us.
We had a decision to make but there wasn’t really any sense of urgency, it’s not like the apocalypse was next week or anything…or was it? My wife and I felt like this world was going to hell in a hand basket but since we had a couple kids to raise still, we were going to do everything we could to make sure they turned out well. We didn’t necessarily believe that the decrease in weekly church-goers was the reason why things were getting so screwed up in this world but it was certainly part of it. I believe that there happen to be a lot of positive values that go along with a lot of conventional, modern-day religious teachings and it’s those things, more than the religion itself, that we are losing and is more responsible for the general deterioration of our society than anything. I wouldn’t want to be at the head of any religious organization during these times, it would be a very difficult job trying to balance and incorporate thousand year old biblical teachings in a world that is spinning out of control and incapable of maintaining it’s attention span for any significant amount of time. How do you go about trying to get kids to keep it in their pants when they walk to school with billboards overhead shoving it straight in their faces? This world has become just a huge, dangling carrot, in one way, shape or form, to anyone who has a hankering for anything in this life. The temptations are everywhere so unless you want to raise your family in complete and total isolation, you have to take a pragmatic and educated approach if your kids are going to have any shot at making it in this world these days. I wanted to find a new-age church that recognized and acknowledged the mounting odds against someone trying live a clean and respectable life in this day-in-age but I also wanted them to teach using traditional, christian values and morals from that book we commonly refer to as the bible.
I couldn’t really care less if you or anyone else actually believed in Jesus Christ, I just cared that you picked up something along the way about treating people right because that was the general gist of it all. There seemed to be a growing amount of non-denominational christian churches sprouting up and not so many, traditional baptist, presbyterian or lutheran sects. It felt like there were things about the “old-school” that people didn’t identify with anymore and it didn’t matter what kind of christian you were, there were things that you could take and other things that you could leave. I don’t really like the idea of inventing your own religion, in a sense, by omitting certain practices that were originally a part of it, but I could see why so many people came up with so many different versions of religion over the years, based on the changing times and their changing frustrations with it.
Does anyone know of a good Christian church in Santa Monica? Our daughter just moved there last month to go to college and I want her to belong to a congregation near the campus. It doesn’t necessarily have to be ON the campus or in the immediate vicinity, but obviously the closer the better.
Like all parent’s who’s kids go off to college I am nervous and worried about her being so far away from home and around so many questionable influences. It’s not that I don’t trust my daughter to make the right decisions, but I know how strong of a feeling peer pressure can be and I want to give her every tool to succeed and stay focused on her classes. I don’t want partying and boys to become a central figure in her life so if she can stay involved with church activities that would make her mother and I feel very good.
Rachel is a kind and caring person at heart who is always selfless and wanting to help others. For her, being passive about these feelings isn’t enough and she has always worked hard to be proactive and helpful to those in need. I think if she could find a good Christian church that has an active community outreach program she would fit right in and she could use whatever energy and time she has left over from studying to help out. That way she can feel that she is being a positive force in the community and perhaps even be a good influence on her friends and peers.
There was a time when Rachel was very involved with church activities and she even went so far as to be the youth leader for our region. For a few years in a row she flew down to Atlanta for a big church convention where she would meet with other youth leaders to discuss ways to energize the kids and keep the message of Jesus in their hearts. I remember how enthusiastic she was about those trips and the fact that she was an important member of the church. Everyone in our congregation knew her on a first name basis and we were all very close knit like a family. When I speak to Rachel about those days now her face lights up and she remembers those times fondly as do I.
There are a lot of things I will not have control over from this point on, actually now that she is an adult and living on her own I don’t have any control over the course of her life any longer. I have to trust that the way her mother and I brought her up and the values we instilled in her will keep her doing the right thing and making the right choices for a lifetime. Good parenting and good friends are the basis for any well rounded person, however we want to know that she can find a good church in Santa Monica to make sure it stays that way.
Christianity is the most popular monotheistic faith in the world. Christianity is a religion based on the teachings of Jesus of Nazareth, an historical person who lived in what is now the Middle East about two thousand years ago. Today, Christianity has expanded a lot, and it now includes many different sects with varying beliefs. The United States alone has millions of people who attend one of these church on a regular basis. Different sects of Christianity have different beliefs, but they all agree that Jesus is the son of God and is the Messiah of the Christian faith. Despite the similarity in beliefs, the various sects of Christianity have had conflicts with each other historically. The most famous example of this is the dispute between Catholics and Protestants in Western Europe. Protestantism did not begin until the renaissance, and Catholicism was much older. Protestantism began, as might be expected, as a protest of the Catholic Church. Protestants criticized the practices of the Catholic church and favored a more direct form of worship with fewer ceremonies involved. Martin Luther famously defied the Catholic Church in Germany. From his teachings, the Lutheran sect of Christianity was formed. Interestingly enough, Lutheranism is actually very similar to Catholicism in many ways. These days, the tensions between Catholics and Protestants have diminished significantly. Both groups agree on many issues and are now more concerned with promoting their respective ideologies, rather than disparaging the beliefs of other sects. Nowadays, churches of different sects even work together to promote cooperation and charity.
Christianity has existed as a religion for about two thousand years. In the early years of the Christian church, the religion was relatively small, and a lot of early Christians were persecuted by the Romans and various other institutions that were hostile towards Christianity. Surprisingly, the Romans eventually adopted Christianity as the official religion of the Roman Empire. Emperor Constantine is credited with being the emperor who established Christianity as the official religion of Rome and is even responsible for putting a stop to the legally sanctioned persecution of Christians. No one knows for sure why he decided to convert. Many people argue he did it because it was the right thing to do, while others insist he did so for political reasons. Regardless of his personal motives for doing so, in the public sphere, Constantine appeared very sincere in his endorsement of Christianity. He even got baptized. Interestingly enough, his decree that Christianity was allowed by the Roman Empire was one of the first laws in history to defend a person’s right to practice religion as they choose. This happened fifteen hundred years before the American Constitution was written. Though he probably did have some political reasons for his change of heart, when it comes to Christianity, Constantine did begin to reverse some of the more cruel and inhumane practices of the Roman Empire, which leads some to believe that his intentions were pure. Regardless of why, Emperor Constantine is renowned in the Christian faith as one of the main reasons why the Church was able to grow.
Churches ought to be place in which you can exchange ideas with your fellow adherents. I am a student of religion (a student of anthropology, not theology), and there is a long history of intellectual exchange in many religions. Christianity has a long history of rigorous intellectual exchange throughout its history. Until the times of Galileo, theology, philosophy, and politics were all bundled up into the same kind of thing. They became disentangled with Galileo, but even after him, philosophy was very much connected the Christian church. In the Islamic tradition, most of the early Islamic history hinges upon debates about jurisprudence (fiqh) and the different schools of thought about jurisprudence and theology. There were four major scholars in the Sunni tradition. Each of these scholars developed their own schools of thought. These four traditions still exist today with somewhat few changes to the organization structure. Of course, the content of these schools has changed a bit. But the idea is that these religions have a long tradition of exchanges ideas. And so if you are looking for a Christian church in Santa Monica, enter into the tradition of intellectual exchange by finding a church that is interested in rigorous theology in addition to service and community. It is not the only thing that matters, but it is a great way to engage community members in the larger intellectual debates within the church. Churches should be safe places in which people can talk about their thoughts and ideas in an open and creative way.
Calvalry Church of Pacific Palisades
701 Palisades Drive,
Pacific Palisades, CA 90272
Go take a walk around your block. But be careful to be very observant. Do not miss a thing. Sometimes, our surroundings get so familiar that we do not even notice some pretty prominent things. I think that churches can be this way. I get so used to seeing churches around town that I do not even think twice about them. But just I miss all of the details. It may just look like a Santa Monica church but it could be far more interesting. And it is even harder when the congregation does not have a church building. Sometimes, they are located within another building. Sometimes, there is rear access through an alley. I study Muslim communities, and I was living right next to a mosque without even realizing it. Sometimes, these places of worship are so obscure. And you get familiar with your surroundings. But we live in the Internet age. So we can find almost anything with our computers. They are so helpful. So if you are looking for a Christian church, you can type it into your computer. It will probably show you a map with all of the nearest Christian churches. You do not necessarily have to search all over town for hard to find congregations. It is just a click away. And this is great for people who also want to observe different congregations. They can be really hard to find. And it is important to observe others’ faiths. Learning about different religions is a high priority for me.
When I was a little kid, we attended an American Baptist church in rural Indiana. We had hymnals and there was an organ that played all of the music. I think we may have had a speaker system in the church so that people in the back could hear better. The church that I attended years later when I was in high school had a giant powerpoint that the sermon outline was shown. There were electric guitars. There was a light show. I think they even had dry ice one day. I don’t know what that was about. But it seems that churches are modernizing in many ways. A Christian church Santa Monica does not look like it did twenty years ago. These changes are unsettling to some. They think that modernizing is a compromise. I think that it is more complicated than that. I think that modernizing your technology is just part of getting along in the world. Depending on what the technology is, you just have to do this type of thing in order to get by. But what I think is more concerning is modernizing the church’s style and aesthetic. And I wonder what the benefit of the modernization process is in regards to changing to electric guitars and cool haircuts. The pastors from my church as a teen seemed like they were just trying too hard to be relevant. There was a big emphasis on the fact that they thought that they were fundamentally different than other people but wanted to be relatable.
In Santa Monica in a church right on the coast some of my fondest memories were made. It’s the Christian Church that I grew up going to, and where I married my beautiful wife. It’s been years since the wedding, and we live on the east coast now, thousands of miles away. Of course we still attend church, but I’d be lying if I said I didn’t miss the one I grew up attending. Someday I dream of being in business for myself, and my wife and I can move back to our hometown Santa Monica. I’m sure if we do that we’ll head right back to the church I loved as a kid and young adult. There’s a reason that the church is so present in my mind right now, and it’s because soon I’ll be there visiting.
Finally, after dating his fiance for over five years, my younger brother is getting married. I was really happy when he told me he’d be getting married at the church, but I suppose I should’ve known it’d happen. My wife and I are very excited to attend the church service the Sunday before the wedding with our kids, we think they’ll love it there. There’s just something so peaceful about it, the way it sits on the hilltop overlooking the pacific ocean. My parents let me know that Pastor Bob still leads the main service on Sundays, and I was glad to hear it. He was such a positive role model in my life while I was growing up. My only hope is that seeing the place doesn’t bring me to tears, but I think it might.