I have always said that Los Angeles wasn’t the city for me—that doing life in L.A. would be a catastrophic mistake. To live the remainder of my life in L.A. would mean (in the words of Racine’s Le songe d’Athalie),
C’était pendant l’horreur d’une profonde nuit.
“It was during the horror of a profound night,” or so I was reminded some time ago by Badiou at a UCLA lecture after the election. I prefer the weather of the pacific northwest—the sun hates me and I’m not its biggest fan. Traffic is the ballast undergirding une profonde nuit.
Yet, despite all its ugliness, the city has managed to keep me in its limits—so far. Rather than pursue a Ph.D. right away, I’ve been persuaded to do what I’ve always wanted to do—work for the church. I have the wonderful privilege of working alongside Rev. Rankin Wilbourne of Pacific Crossroads Church (PCA) as a pastoral intern and research assistant in 2017 and 2017.
PCC’s mission, “Lives transformed by God’s power, renewing Los Angeles for Christ,” wasn’t my wheelhouse, in fact quite the contrary, until I began to immerse myself in contemporary Pauline scholarship and learning Greek—especially the work of N.T. Wright and E. P. Sanders. The vision of the Essenes, the vision of a graceful and merciful God, and the hope of “creational monotheism”—all of which seemed to be at odds with traditional Reformed theology—were resolved when I understood that God is an ultimately gracious God who loves his children.
It’s my hope that, in my capacity as a pastoral intern, I will show people (in my own laughably remedial way) the love of Jesus and the power of the Holy Spirit to meaningfully effect change in our lives for the flourishing of the world and the renewing of our imaginations, all “unto the praise of the glory of his grace, in which he hath graced us in his beloved son.”