Tuesday, October 28, 2008

The Best Cafe In Pico Union

Ollin Cafe is located on Venice Blvd. just East of Hoover. It's a relatively new fixture in my neighborhood that seems to stand out because of how nice it looks. I found this place with two friends of mine (Eric and David) as we were walking down Venice while creating a scale model of the solar system. If you knew Eric you wouldn't be wondering why or how someone would do such a thing. Ollin Cafe made us stop dead in our tracks as we walked by it because of how classy and clean it was. Immediately we knew this would be our new hang out spot.
Most restaurants in Pico Union are fast food based. Balanced nutrition isn't really offered in our local store fronts. That's one of the many things that makes Ollin Cafe so different. Here you can buy: vegan products, fresh fruit juices, panini sandwiches, fruit smoothies, all kinds of coffee type drinks, and teas. Don't get me wrong. I love Lucy's and the taco truck on Washington and Union, but every now and then I need to eat something healthy. Ollin Cafe is one of the few places in Pico Union that offers that option.
The service at Ollin Cafe is crazy friendly. I can't tell you how engaging the owner of the shop is. She has stayed open late to accommodate a Bible study I was having with a few of the guys. She remembers everyone that walks through her doors, and greets everyone with a smile. I've had a lot of conversations with her over the last few months, and she's told me how hard it is to keep her cafe open. Business has been very slow for her mostly because people don't know that her cafe exists. It would be a tragedy for Pico Union to lose such a positive and healthy place. We need more places and business people like Ollin Cafe in our city. Please don't pass up the best cafe South of downtown.

1325 Venice Blvd. (just east of Hoover) -90006
(this is what your meal will actually look like)
Chicken pesto panini with kettle chips, spinach dip, and a French vanilla latte

5 out of 5 stars

Monday, October 20, 2008

The Rise Movement

I went with two friends to visit the Rise Movement's encampment at La Placita Olvera a week ago. I guess I wanted to be present there simply to give support to our immigrant brothers and sisters here in the U.S. The entire camp consisting of about 100 people is fasting from food untill election day on Nov 4th. The Rise Movement calls this action a hunger strike inspired by Cesar Chavez' historic 25 day hunger strike in 1968.

There was a strong positive energy flowing throughout the camp. The campers were very diverse and probably a mixture of citizens and people with no documentation. Though the camp was smaller than I had envisioned I was still very impressed with the movement's organization. Many groups have either come together to create the fast or they have come to support. The Archdiocese of L.A. is one of them.
Immigration reform is one of my strongest convictions right now. At the end of the day, with all details and complications aside, I just want everyone on planet earth to have a job, shelter, food, water and clothes. Ultimately the ground we live on is God's and not ours. I don't believe people should break the law, but I also believe the law should be just. I also believe in God's higher law.

Exodus 22:21
"Do not mistreat an alien or oppress him, for you were aliens in Egypt."

Exodus 23:9
"Do not oppress an alien; you yourselves know how it feels to be aliens, because you were aliens in Egypt."

Leviticus 19:34
"The alien living with you must be treated as one of your native-born. Love him as yourself, for you were aliens in Egypt. I am the LORD your God."

We are a nation of immigrants. How then can we oppress other immigrants? Many of our country's largest corporations illegally build plants factories and offices in other countries to exploit the people that live there by paying them far less than they would have to pay an American. If we are oppressing people in their own countries and forcing them to look for a better life elsewhere, how can we mistreat them a second time by abusing them in our immigration policies?

Anyway, I'm too tired to continue writing. It's 1:20 in the morning. Here are a few other pictures I took while at the encampment.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Kristiansand, Norway

I've been trying to find ministries in Kristiansand, Norway for the last few days. I found out from my cousin that our family has ties to this city on the Southern coast of Norway. I've had a desire for the last few years to minister in Norway, but I never knew where to start. Kristiansand seems like the right place. I can't find many ministries or Christian organizations on the net. This is maybe the third largest city on Norway, yet according to my searches it has very little Christian presence. How could this be? Please, if you know of a ministry or monastary or abbey or anything in Kristiansand please click on the comment button.

Fast For Our Future

An organization called Rise is putting on a really important hunger strike in Los Angeles starting on October 15th, 2008, three weeks before the November 4th presidential election. Over 100 people are expected to fast in order to mobilize our community to vote for immigrant rights. Participants will give up all food and juice liquids. We will give up everything but water. In the Bible we read that when Israel strayed from God or didn't know what to do God called them to humble themselves and fast. Our current economic situation is evidence that we've strayed from God. Our nation's acts of violence overseas is evidence that we've strayed from the heart of God. I could go on and on.
Here in Los Angeles there will be an encampment for fasters and other supporters in the public area of La Placita Olvera and will include tents, a stage, work areas, and a rest area for participants. Olvera Street is an historic monument and plaza next to Union Station known as "the birthplace of the City of Los Angeles". The address is:

El Pueblo De Los Angeles Historic Park
845 N. Alameda Street
Los Angeles, CA 90012
Google Map

La Placita is easily accessible via public transit. Parking should be available.

Daily Public Schedule of the Fast Encampment:

8:00 - 8:30am Prayer Service
8:30 - 9:30am Agenda for the Day
10:00am Public Announcement or Press Conference
11:00am - 12:00pm Rest Period
12:00pm - 4:00pm Work
4:00pm - 5:00pm Rest Period
5:00pm - 6:00pm Vigil
6:00pm - 8:00pm Group Reflection
8:00pm - 10:00pm Free Time
10:00pm - 6:00am Quiet Time
Please join me in this fast. I myself will be fasting and praying that God will show me who to vote for on November 4th. Personally I'm not satisfied with either of the two main candidates, and I haven't found anyone from the smaller parties that I'm willing to vote for.
I'm not a single issue voter, but immigration is an issue that I will weigh heavily before I vote. I don't feel that any of the candidates that I've researched are committed to reforming our severely broken and unjust immigration system. Not voting has never been an option for me. Too many people who can't vote but wish they could are counting on us as a population to take a stand for what's right.