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Hip and Thigh: Smiting Theological Philistines with a Great Slaughter. Judges 15:8

Monday, May 21, 2007

Visiting Avalon


In the spirit of promoting fellowship and solidifying unity among the Bible study teachers of my Grace Life Sunday school class, the good bulk of us took a day trip over to Catalina Island. It was my first time visiting.

Catalina is owned by the Wrigley chewing gum family and sits about 22 miles off the coast of California. I think the Bubbalicious family owns a similar island off Maine.

Any ways...

After an exhaustive, near failed quest to secure a babysitter willing to watch 3 four and under boys for 12 hours straight, my wife and I carpooled with 4 other friends down to Long Beach to join our group for an hour long ferry ride to Avalon, the main town on Catalina.

I was particularly excited about the ferry ride. I know it's just 22 miles or so, but still; there's something mysterious about crossing the ocean. I was hoping to see some really cool ocean fairing critters, like a giant manta ray, or a whale shark, or even more cool would be to see the carcass of a blue whale being eaten on by great whites. Disappointingly, all I saw was sea weed, drift wood, and sea gulls. There weren't even any dolphins swimming along the boat like they normally do.

Once we arrived in Avalon, we all moseyed around the harbor and ate lunch at Steve's "tourist trap priced" Steakhouse. The food was good, none the less (my wife and I shared), and the fellowship was excellent.

Afterward, we had about 2 hours or so before we all had to return to the ferry landing for the ride home. Most folks walked around in the tourist trap priced sidewalk stores, but a couple friend of ours suggested we rent a golf cart and drive around the island. It was a bit pricey, but seeing that my wife and I wouldn't be returning to Catalina anytime in the near future, we decided to splurge and it was well worth it.

Catalina experienced some wildfires last week and the cart ride took us directly to where the fire burned up to the side of the road just 100 feet or so from a condo complex.

My lovely wife took these pictures of the burned areas:













































Our golf cart tour also took us by the Wrigley secret mansion, which was closed to the public of course, and then brought us back around to the front side of the island where we saw a spectacular view of the harbor. Avalon must be a place where the emperor decadent wealthy congregate, because there were high class fishing boats and yachts floating all over the place.






























This big blue yacht was anchored a little farther out from the main collection of boats. It looked like one of those James Bond villain yachts. You know, the super intelligent bad guy with "Dr." in front of his name, who has a nasty scare going down one side of his face, wears a monocle, and carries around a long haired cat in his arms that he strokes as he barks out orders to his henchmen and plans the destruction of the free world.

When we returned to the cart rental place, we had about an hour before we needed to be back to the ferry landing. However, we learned coming over that it was necessary to be in line at least 30 minutes before the ferry began loading passengers or you would be stuck with a seat no where near a window or you would be confined to standing the entire trip. So we got some ice cream and headed over to the landing to get in line.

We finally got home around 6ish and our babies had survived, as well as our baby sitter (bless her heart), and when we got them bathed and in bed, I think my head was hitting the pillow at 8:30. It had been a long day, but a good day. Nothing beats hanging out with great friends and an awesome wife.

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10 Comments:

Blogger Kim said...

That sounds like a great day. I'll have to remember that if I ever find myself in CA again.

3:48 PM, May 22, 2007  
Blogger markshriv said...

Why do you need to go on a trip to "solidify unity?" Christians should be unified in God's Spirit and a mutual faith. The false church today is often promoting a unity based on human relationships.

12:45 AM, May 23, 2007  
Blogger Fred Butler said...

And why can't we go on a trip to solidify unity? I take it you are against potlucks and Sunday picnics as well?

Seeing that "loving your brother," "serving one another," and "ministry in the body" involves human relationships I believe your bitter negativity as to what you think constitutes unity to be muddled.

What do you do at your church to promote unity? Anything? Or do you even attend a church?

Fred

6:48 AM, May 23, 2007  
Blogger markshriv said...

You didn't say you were going to Catalina to love your brother. You didn't say you were going to serve your brother. You didn't say you were going to minister to your brother. You said you were going to solidify unity.

10:53 PM, May 23, 2007  
Blogger Fred Butler said...

You didn't say you were going to minister to your brother. You said you were going to solidify unity.

...and the two are different how exactly?

Still wondering what you do at your church to fellowship. What church do you attend now?

Fred

5:52 AM, May 24, 2007  
Blogger markshriv said...

Christians are unified in Christ. If I am a Christian, I am unified with other Christians in Christ even if don't physically fellowship with them. You can't solidify any unity simply by going on a trip.

I don't go to any church at present. Does that mean to you that I'm not in unity of Spirit with other Christians? Not everyone has a church nearby to congregate.

7:04 PM, May 24, 2007  
Blogger Fred Butler said...

Christians are unified in Christ.

(Fred) OK, agreed.

If I am a Christian, I am unified with other Christians in Christ even if don't physically fellowship with them.

(Fred) I would agree to a point.

You can't solidify any unity simply by going on a trip.

(Fred) Sure you can. You are absolutely mistaken about this.

I don't go to any church at present. Does that mean to you that I'm not in unity of Spirit with other Christians?

(Fred) Yes, not going to church could very well indicate that you are not in the unity of spirit with other believers. The reason being is simple: The Bible, taken as a whole, commands fellowship with other believers. Christians need fellowship and it is essential for spiritual health. The "one accord" descriptions in Acts and through out the epistles clearly suggest the necessity and importance of one on one, personal interactive fellowship.

Your insistence that fellowship cannot be experienced going on a day trip to Catalina, or any other activity outside of church, suggests to me that you are trying to excuse away your involvement with Christians. More specifically, perhaps you have a problem with authority or being accountable to others. A true believer would not invent clever interpretative ideas to justify his separation from a local body of believers.

Not everyone has a church nearby to congregate.

(Fred) Well, unless you are currently living at a research facility in Antarctica, there is no biblical reason why you should find a decent congregation where you can serve in some capacity, and most importantly, be held accountable as a Christian.

Fred

8:22 AM, May 25, 2007  
Blogger markshriv said...

I live in the LA area. Why don't you recommend to me a "decent congregation" other than Grace Church? I see nothing but denominations, RCC's and pentecostal churches. Also, you talk alot about being held accountable. I'm held accountable to God--and only to others to the extent they use the Bible as the standard. I'm not going to be held accountable to some man made "vision" statement--which is all I see these days.

I'm serious, try finding me a small congregation in the LA area. I don't care if they have 5 people.

12:01 AM, May 26, 2007  
Blogger Fred Butler said...

live in the LA area. Why don't you recommend to me a "decent congregation" other than Grace Church?

(Fred) What exactly is wrong with Grace? Its a fabulous congregation, though perhaps maybe too big for some folks.

Also, you talk alot about being held accountable. I'm held accountable to God--and only to others to the extent they use the Bible as the standard. I'm not going to be held accountable to some man made "vision" statement--which is all I see these days.

(Fred) The reason I speak about being held accountable is because God has ordained men, elders and deacons specifically, to shepherd the flock of God. This is seen throughout the entire NT. Being part of the Body of Christ means you are to submit to one another. See Ephesians 4 and 5 for example. Pastors and elders are ordained by God to take care of His people (see Ephesians 4 again) and they submit to God by patiently and lovingly shepherding the people of God.

Your aversion to authority, which is what I see revealed in your comments, is sinful and needs to be repented of. Decrying the number of denominations and poor theology found in many local churches these days is a convenient excuse to justify your rebellion against attending a church all together.

Now you will argue that you want to be apart of a church, but you want to find a "church" that matches the criteria of your personal expectations, wants and opinions. Such a congregation exists no where in this world.

I say the issue with you is not the lack of a solid congregation to join, but a heart attitude of "I want the church of my own choosing" and when such a church is never found, you blame everything else but your own sinful rebellious attitude. You then attempt to justify that attitude by saying "I'm not gonna be accountable to man-made this, man-made that" and you only harden your heart against what you really need to do: relinquishing your selfishness about what YOU think church should be and serving the Lord with a congregation.

1:03 PM, May 26, 2007  
Blogger markshriv said...

Just as I thought--you couldn't recommend to me a deceny congregation in LA. Do you really want a Christian to go to a denominational church? I know that no church is perfect, but denominational churches are evil. And I believe Pentecostalism is a false religion. Grace Church? I'll tell you what I don't like. I don't like Macarthur because he tells lies (which we've already discussed) and I don't like the fact that he cares so little about his flock as to expose them to wolves from the SBC. The SBC is evil and I wouldn't want to be a part of any church that is trying to fellowship with it's leaders--as Grace is now doing.

Why not just forget the psychologizing and tell me if you know of any church in LA? You probably do not. It's alot harder to find than you think. Tell me if you know of a fellowship group outside of grace in LA. Surely you must have heard of one Biblical church in LA.

9:10 PM, May 26, 2007  

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