Thursday, July 24, 2008

Dinner at the Sojourner Cafe, Mediterranean Torta, 20080724th2134

The Mediterranean Torta is described on the menu as follows: A tower of eggplant, hummus, pesto, marinated onion, roasted bell pepper, and tabbouleh, served with pita points and tahini dressing. Find out more at

Sojourner Cafe, 20080724th2108

We walked down State Street and turned left on Cañon Perdido Street to
get to Sojourner Cafe:

Arlington Plaza, Santa Barbara, 20080724th2050

We're on State Street in the Arlington Plaza area of Santa Barbara.

South on Highway 1, 20080724th1936

We're driving down the coast of California. The ocean to our right
stretches to the horizon.

Tools of Building Love, 20080724th1904

(... Continued from Jeremiah 29:11...)

This photo is another taken this morning from the porch of the main house on the land where we stayed last night.

I was writing earlier today about my walk up the mountain with Kevin. After carefully making our way back down the steep incline, I began asking Kevin more about his views regarding matters of faith. I was interested to know what his current thoughts were.

Pastors usually have some topic or teaching they are currently thinking about and studying. There's usually a sermon they are writing and revising in their mind. I figured Kevin would have something interesting to share.

He said that his last sermon was on 1 Corinthians 13, the chapter about the qualities of love. He had an interesting suggestion about reading that chapter. Kevin said to read the chapter inserting your name in place of the word love, and consider how well the chapter describes you.

That chapter of 1 Corinthians 13, helps us understand the complexity of love and the multi-dimentional nature of love.

I thought about Jay's building workshop. He has a workbook for participants, and the workbook shows pixtures of the tools someone needs to build a house. The Bible is sometimes referred to as the book of love. In some respects, the Bible is simply a workbook describing "tools" for building love - loving relationships, families, and communities.

A few years ago, I was studying the Hebrew name of God in the Bible. The name for God provided in the Bible is four Hebrew letters Yud He Vav He. The pronunciation is sometimes rendered as Jehovah. I prefer Ya Ha V'ah. The word Ahava in Hebrew is the word for love. So, it's interesting that the name of God could be rendered to include a vocalization that is the word for love. The sound "ah" or "yah" is universally accepted as the sound of God. Thus, Halelujah includes the Hebrew root word for praise (Halel) and Jah (God). Halelujah means
praise God.

Yet another way of looking at the name of God is to see (in the Hebrew) the expression Yah v' ah. The "v" sound in Hebrew is "and." So, the name of God is simply Ah "and" Ah. In Sandcrit, "Ah" is considered the sound that conveys the infinate expanding of the universe. So, Ah "and" Ah is simply understood as infinite universe and infinite universe.

Interestingly, the name for God in Arabic is Allah or Ah L' Ah. The "L" sound in Arabic is like the "V" sound in Hebrew -- it conveys "and." So, the name of God in Hebrew and the name of God in Arabic is simply Ah "and" Ah, which is understood from Sanscrit as The Infinite Universe "and" The Infinite Universe.

As mentioned previously, the word for love in Hebrew is "ahava." To understand this Hebrew word, we hear Ah Ha v' Ah. The word coneys infinite universe three times.

Having this Hebrew understanding of the word love and the name of God, we can understand why John says, "God is love" (1 John 4:8) and again "God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God [lives] in her/him." (1 John 4:16) The Hebrew word for love and God are so similar, that they seem to almost be the same.

That's a lengthy explanation, but I share that study on love and the name of God becuase it was on my mind as I was visiting with Kevin about the multi-dimentional nature of love as understood from 1 Corinthians 13.

As we were visiting, two scriptures came to mind. According to the teaching of Ephesians 4:12, the pastor's roll is to equip people for more effective living (loving or being a conduit for for God through the characteristics described by 1 Corinthians 13). Hebrews 12:1 offers a teaching on effective living that advocates simplicity and minimalism in the statement, "Throw off everything that hinders." The implication is that we should discard the material clutter from our lives that makes us less effective, as well as the emotional / spiritual / mental baggage that "hinders" us from more effective living. The main insight and reminder I gained from my conversation with Kevin is that the Bible contains tools for more effective living / loving. 

These tools and their use are described in the Bible. In the same way that a variety of tools are needed to build a home, a variety of tools and skills are needed to love more fully and effectively.

I'm interested in taking time to study and revisit the tools of building love.

San Luis Obispo, open house, 20080724th1710

We've had various small house enthusiasts visiting over the past hour.

Fuel, $140 to fill-up, 20080724th1600

Avocado Cucumber Sushi Rolls, 20080724th1548

San Luis Obispo, Sinsheimer Park, 20080724th1526

We found Sinsheimer Park at the west end of Southwood Drive and are
now driving downtown to eat and get fuel.

San Luis Obispo, Foothills, 20080724th1506

Jeremiah 29:11, 20080724th1342

This is a continuation of my morning writing...

After about two or three hours of sleep last night, I woke at around 6:30 and went outside to greet the morning. Although my sleep was short, I felt well rested and strong. I'd spent some time last night uploading photos and having a much needed conversation with someone I'd not been in touch with for a while. I felt really good about all that was accomplished last night.

Last evening, we had dinner with some local small house enthusiasts -- Tyson and Amanda. Tyson plans to live with Amanda in a small house on his Father's land. I've been living in my small house on my Father's land for five years, and enjoy being in an extended family setting while still having independence. Tyson and Amanda have recently started a really nice blog about their small house experience and journey:

Amanda is a very skilled writer and photographer with a sweet and genuine personality. Tyson is one of these guys you quickly admire and respect for his enginuity, resourcefulness, enthusiasm, positive attitude, and hard work. So they were a fun couple to get to know.

This morning, I had an opportunity to visit with Tyson's Father, Kevin, who was a lot like Tyson, but like the bigger and stronger tree of the orchard. Some people grow frail with age. Kevin, like a tree, just seems to be stronger. I noticed a Zondervan NIV Study Bible on the table. I commented that it was one of my favorite versions of the Bible. After a little more conversation I learned that Kevin is the pastor of the local church, yet his lifetime vocation has been construction and building, or what I might refer to as inventing and designing -- creating.

Some of my favorite pastors have been those with building and construction experience. They are usually very practical and down to earth people, and approach the scriptures holistically. Their parables and metaphores often come from their practical experience with building. So, they approach the building up of individuals, families, and communities in an organized way. A pastor friend of mine would literally include diagrams of constructing a building in his sermons. Each aspect of the building represented a spiritual aspect of life.

Anyway, I digress. Kevin didn't try to rope me into a conversation about the Bible or salvation. He was enthusiastically telling me about a mountain he has been wrestling with --a real mountain.

In the main house, I noticed a simple vertical banner on a supporting beam with the words of Jeremiah 29:11, "'For I know the plans I have for you,' declares the LORD, 'plans to prosper you and not harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.'" For some reason that scripture really spoke to me this morning. It was like a confirmation that I needed. I didn't share this with Kevin, but kept it to myself.

Kevin has been grappling and wrestling with the mountain north of their home. He eradicated the wild poison oak, briars, and thistles, and made a "road" up the mountain with switchbacks.

Seeing what he had done to transform the mountain and make it habitable was really something. His wrestling with a mountain reminds me of Jacob's wrestling with the angel of God (see Genesis 32:22-31). I'd previously heard about a faith that can move mountains. Now I've seen it.

The mountain pass was so steep that I felt like I might slide down. This photo is from the top of the mountain, but it doesn't really convey how high up we were.

(To be continued...)

Salinas, 20080724th1303

We're driving past Salinas and have about 3 hours to go until we reach
San Louis Obispo.

Leaving Santa Cruz, 20080724th1145

The open house went very well. This photo was taken during the open
house. We're on the road now heading south on Highway 101 and should
arrive in San Luis Obispo in a few hours.

Coffeetopia, 20080724th0925

Morning Report, 20080724th0734

This photo was taken around 6:30 AM from the porch of the main house on the land where we were staying last night. It was dark last night, so we couldn't see our surroundings when we arrived late last night, but I could tell that we were going up a very steep hill to get to the spot where we parked. It was like trying to pull a house up Machu Picchu. We were in such a remote area that the stars were very clear and bright in the sky. As I looked up to the sky, I saw a shooting star. (I'm reminded of the movie Stardust as I write this.)

I've enjoyed living in the Vardo Gypsy Wagon and foraging for food over the past six days. I've also had to forage for Internet access. It's been easier to find fresh apples and plums on the ground than to find a good Internet connection. Sometimes I'll think I've found a connection, and then it drops, or it prohibits proper sending of email. It's like picking up an apple from the ground to discover it's rotten.

Last night, I had a relatively good connection last night. We were able to access the Internet in a remote area by connecting to a Linksys wireless router that was connected to a satellite dish service -- I presume it was something like the Hughes Satellite Dish Internet service.

Posting Photos, 20080723we2323

We're in the mountains of Aromas, California. Our hosts have wireless,
so I hope to be able to post photos from today.