Updated: Nov 12, 2020
I’ve always had a love/hate relationship with Los Angeles.
It feels strange writing that down, saying it to myself. I can have a relationship with other people, but with a place? I may love or hate Los Angeles, but it’s never going to do the same for me. It’s just a place. People tell stories about this place like it’s alive, though. Like it has its own stories to tell. Like it’s living and breathing and watching everything we do.
But really, it’s the history I love and I hate. But really, really, it’s the people—they who make up, tell, hide, hide from, know, ignore, love, and hate that history—that I’m ordained to love. It’s late night singing “I Love LA” with my dad and thousands of other Angelinos after wins in Dodgers Stadium. It’s bombing down San Pedro hills on my longboard, grinding up the Topanga hills on my road bike, crashing hard on single tracks in the Santa Monica mountains. It’s the bliss of summer surf in Malibu, with the agony of losing beach friends to the drugs and drinking and abnegation of responsibility. It’s getting caught in the stifling and soul crushing traffic (parking lot?) where the 10 and the 405 meet, but getting to know our homeless brothers and sisters at the on-ramps (whom we usually do our best to ignore and pretend don’t exist). It’s lying facedown on the marble of our (ever so unique!) Cathedral floor, pleading with the saints to bring this city back to life. It’s a Church made-fun-of for being progressive, but that knows what it’s like to be in the streets and in the trenches. It’s the quiet, rising tide of love for the traditional Sacraments in parishes, building up a movement of the Holy Spirit that feels ever ancient, ever new. It’s what we love and what we hate about Los Angeles. It’s what we love and what we hate about one another. It’s home. And God wants to make something new of it.
Our vision here is that God has something amazing in store for Los Angeles. And we don’t say this just because we want all the blessings. It’s not just wishful thinking, that because we live here, God wants to make it easier on us. We are convinced that God is going to wake up the Church here in Los Angeles because that’s what the world needs. God is going to do something new and powerful here in this city that is going to reverberate around the world.
Come to think of it, though, we’re not the start of this and we’re not the ones who are going to bring it about. We are going to start telling the stories like they’ve never been told before. I might even say we’re not quite ready to evangelize the world quite yet. We’re here to evangelize LA. Then the world is going to take notice that something new has already begun; waking up to what God began to do while we were enamored by the city that seems to have it’s own stories to tell.
In other words, God is writing the script. He’s writing a story beneath the surface, more profound than anything we’ve tried to dream up on our own. Let’s start piecing it together. The world needs us to do this.
We’ve got a story to tell.