East Valley Tribune

Mesa Gilbert Chandler Tempe Queen Creek Arizona Education

  • Role in Cartoon Network series latest of Gilbert boy’s voice-acting gigs

    In a universe that leaned heavily toward Collin Dean’s favor, the 9-year-old would ask two simple questions before accepting a role on a TV show or film: How much does it pay and what kind of food is offered?The first question falls directly into the realm of the pragmatic, but it’s the second question that might be of greater import for the boy from Gilbert. He thinks back to his sessions recording for the 2012 film “Hotel Transylvania,” and to the Oreos sitting and almost asking for him to take a few bites and gulp them down.“It just felt sad not to,” he said.He can go off on these little flights of fancy without too much provocation, although engaging and elaborating upon them can create a rather enjoyable conversation with Collin — a funny kid carving out a career as a professional voice actor.Technically, Collin is using the path forged by his sister Michaela, who has voiced Wonderheart Bear for the show “Care Bears: Welcome to Care-a-Lot” and Lily Bobtail in “Peter Rabbit.” They’ve worked together on a couple of projects — one was a live-action Funny or Die skit starring Will Ferrell and Zach Galifianakis called “Will Ferrell and Zach Galifianakis Debate Children” — and they still share an agent, Ruth Leighton, although they’ve spent more time apart than together.Collin has built up his résumé, one that includes a background role in the aforementioned “Hotel Transylvania” and voicing Tiffany for the Cartoon Network show “Adventure Time.” Next up though is his most prominent role to date — the character Greg in Cartoon Network’s miniseries “Over the Garden Wall.”

  • BASIS in Mesa to host eclipse viewing event

    On the afternoon of Oct. 23, BASIS charter school in Mesa will host a viewing party for a partial eclipse of the sun, which will take place between 2:40 p.m. and 4:45 p.m.“The opportunity to witness a solar eclipse is rare, and most students have never seen one before,” said Jon Hutman, a science teacher at BASIS and a member of NASA’s Solar System Ambassador Program. “Plus, the students of BASIS Mesa participate in a robust STEM curriculum, including Earth and space sciences. The partial eclipse will give the students a firsthand experience with a spectacular astronomical phenomenon that is a part of the curriculum.”The Arizona State University Astronomy Club (AstroDevils) and the Saguaro Astronomy Club are working with the staff of BASIS to organize the event, the school’s Engineering Club will build special tools for attendees view the eclipse through.“A partial solar eclipse takes place when the moon comes in between the sun and the Earth and the moon casts a narrow shadow on the Earth’s surface,” Hutman said. “The partial solar eclipse on October 23 will be the last opportunity to see this kind of event in the continental United States until the total eclipse of August 2017.”He went on to describe the Solar System Ambassadors Program, which fields over 500 representatives in the 50 states, Washington D.C. and Puerto Rico to “communicate the excitement of NASA’s space exploration missions to the public.”“I learned about the SSA program while attending the launch of the Mars Curiosity Rover at Cape Canaveral, Florida, in 2011,” he said. “I was very fortunate to have the opportunity to meet the director of the SAA program, Kay Ferrari, and she encouraged me to apply to the program. I have been a member of the SSA program since 2012.”

  • Catholic Charities offers counseling to Valley residents

    Catholic Charities of Arizona is offering a variety of counseling services to those who might not previously have been able to afford them. Holy Cross Catholic Church, on Power Road in Mesa, is one of many locations where East Valley residents can seek help for a variety of needs.Rebecca Sauer, a program manager for Catholic Charities, supervises a team of paid and intern counselors who are available to the general public at reduced rates, based on the individual’s ability to pay.“I’m very passionate about this program,” Sauer said. “Catholic Charities has a mission statement to help the most vulnerable of the population. We have made an effort to keep our fees very low so that those who would never be able to come to counseling can come.”She estimates the program has served some 4,000 people directly or indirectly connected to the 902 families who have sought counseling in the last year. Counseling is also available for individuals as well as couples, with marriage counseling being common as well. Spanish-speaking counselors are available and the program operates on Saturdays as well as evenings to meet busy schedules.Hourly rates range from $25 per hour for an intern to $35 per hour for a licensed counselor and move on a sliding scale from there based on income.Where the program really distinguishes itself is in Sauer’s work with the interns. Most of the time, she said, interns are supervised by other counselors who struggle to deal with their own caseloads and help their charges succeed as well. Sauer is able to devote her time to case reviews and mentorship, ensuring that the program’s interns are well-served, as well as those they counsel.

  • Leaving VP job pays off for Great Play of Chandler owner

    Starting one’s own business is a risky proposition, especially when you’re leaving your job as a vice president at a Fortune 100 company to do it. Patrick O’Halleran knew the risks and did it anyway.In the past, O’Halleran has worked at Honeywell, AlliedSignal and American Express. He left his comfortable job as American Express’ vice president of global business travel to take over his own franchise: Great Play of Chandler.It wasn’t the easiest decision but O’Halleran, who said he traveled roughly 35 to 40 weeks per year, wanted to be closer to his family and spend more time with them.“It got to the point where it got beyond the money. It became a quality-of-life issue,” he said. “Just being on the road as much as I was and working as many hours as I did, I needed to balance home life better than I was.“I felt like I wanted to do something completely different. The opportunity came to leave Amex and I did on great terms.”O’Halleran became interested in moving into the world of franchising. He had taken a franchise course and decided it was something he wanted to move into. He said he looked into nine franchises as opportunities but eventually decided on Great Play of Chandler in December 2013 when he found the previous owner was looking to sell the business.

  • Four indicted in Gilbert dog-death case

    A Maricopa County grand jury decided to indict four people in the deaths of more than 20 dogs at a boarding facility in Gilbert in one of the largest animal cruelty cases the county has seen.According to a press statement by the Maricopa County Attorney’s Office, the jury on Wednesday doled out multiple felony and misdemeanor counts of cruelty to animals to Green Acre Boarding Facility owners Jesse Hughes and Malesia Hughes, their daughter Logan Flake, and son-in-law Austin Flake for the deaths of 21 dogs at the facility in June.Jesse and Malesia Hughes are charged with 22 felony counts and seven misdemeanor counts of cruelty to animals as well as one count apiece of fraudulent schemes and artifices. Sheriff Joe Arpaio said during a press conference after the indictments were handed down that the last charge stemmed from a misrepresentation of the facility by the owners.The Flakes face 21 felony counts and seven misdemeanor counts of cruelty to animal, and all four will appear in court on Oct. 23.“(Wednesday’s) indictment is the result of a thorough review of the extensive investigation into this incident and a decision to seek charges based on objective facts,” said Maricopa County Attorney Bill Montgomery in the statement. “We now look forward to the next step in seeing that justice is served in this case.”Attorney’s office spokesperson Jerry Cobb said the cruelty to animals counts are Class-6 offenses and carry sentences of between probation to a year and a half in prison, while the fraud charges are Class 2 offenses with sentencing ranging from probation to 10 years in prison.

  • Goal line turnover propels Mountain View to rivalry win over Mesa

    Mesa High School was 1-yard away from putting behind an end to a night of missed opportunities and drawing even against Mountain View. That yard wasn’t close enough, as the Jackrabbits fumbled away the opportunity and fell to Mountain View 21-14.Down by seven points in the fourth quarter, Mesa’s attempts for a comeback resurrected themselves when its defense came up with a clutch interception. The Jackrabbits drove down the field and got all the way to the Toros’ 1-yard line on third and goal with just more than 2 minutes to go.Mountain View’s bend-don’t-break defense came up again, recovering a Mesa fumble and holding on for a tight win.The goal-line fumble was only one of four turnovers forced by Mountain View, with Brody Daniels and Wyatt Holt each got an interception.“They had great energy. The defense just stepped up awesome tonight and it’s a good step for us,” said Chad DeGrenier, Mountain View head coach.Mesa relied on a committee of running backs with the injury to star senior Turrell Pietz-Noble. Senior Alex Kellybrew ran for 113 yards, most of which came from an 80-yard touchdown in the first quarter. Junior K. Heber Anderson rushed for 71 more.

  • Magic couple takes audience across the globe with ‘Carnival of Illusion’

    Husband and wife duo Susan Eyed and Roland Sarlot are bringing their magic show, “Carnival of Illusion: Around the World in 80 Minutes,” to the Mesa Arts Center.After six seasons of performing “Carnival of Illusion,” Eyed and Sarlot have honed their skills to bring the best possible show for their audience.“We love performing all of our tricks, some more than others. Our show is always evolving,” Sarlot said.The show has been performed on both small and large stages, but the performers say they prefer the intimacy of a small room and unraised stage.“It’s close up, it’s intimate and it’s fun. It’s all about them (the audience). Sometimes they’re celebrating special events or are having a hard time. It’s just that break, that wonderful chance to escape,” Eyed said.The two performers met while Sarlot was just beginning his magic career, and they began working together to create to their act. Eyed said she had always loved magic, and working together is both fun and enchanting.

  • Larry The Cable Guy brings laughs to Chandler

    Daniel Lawrence Whitney, commonly known as Larry The Cable Guy, is making audiences across the country laugh on his latest comedy tour, which makes a stop in Chandler on Oct. 18 at the Chandler Center for the Arts.Since kicking off his comedian career in 1985, Larry has collected many accolades, including a Grammy nomination and Billboard Award. He also starred in several “Blue Collar Comedy Tour” movies and voiced Mater in Disney’s successful “Cars” franchise.Here’s a snapshot of his recent conversation with GetOut, discussing his career, his most current tour and his favorite part of the job:Q: How did you get into comedy?A: I was a bellhop at the Hyatt and I started making money. I was always making (the guests) laugh. So a buddy of mine persuaded me to go onstage one night at an open mic night at a bar … and I went onstage for the first time in 1985 and I never stopped, I just fell in love with it.Q: Can you talk a little bit about your career as a comedian?

  • Explore pop culture at ‘Comic Media Expo’ in Mesa

    Get together your geek-gathering gear and garb, there’s a new pop culture convention in town, and its name is Comic & Media Expo (or CMX for short.) They will be making their inaugural run at the Mesa Convention Center from Oct. 17–19, and showcasing local talent as well as nationwide notables from comics, cosplay, television and movies.Included on the CMX guest roster is comic book veteran Marv Wolfman, the renowned writer of Marvel’s “The Tomb of Dracula,” the title where he co-created the character of “Blade.” (Halloween hint: I honestly can’t think of a better Halloween gift than a Marv Wolfman-signed “Tomb of Dracula” comic book!)Additional guests include local heroes and comic creators Denny Riccelli (Cousin Harold) and Eric Mengel (Ocho), cosplayers Allen Amis and Lindsay Elyse, and celebrities like Amy Okuda (“The Guild”) and Dante Basco (“The Legend of Korra.”)The CMX programming schedule includes everything from discussions on “Steampunk Anime” and “The Social and Political History of Doctor Who” to Q&A sessions with Wolfman, Basco and a gaggle of genre authors. There are also crafting workshops and costume contests, and educational themed panels like “Photoshop 101.”Get detailed information, advance registration (tickets) and more about the Comic & Media Expo event at their website, ComicMediaExpo.com.• Bob Leeper, co-owner of pop culture and alternative art network Evermore Nevermore, writes for Nerdvana, Arizona’s original geek blog. Follow it at evtnow.com/nerdvana.

  • Family Promise brings hope for homeless

    A family of four entered a local shelter with tattered clothes and tired eyes, carrying three old garbage bags holding their only belongings. A wave of relief washed over the family as they cautiously walked into the shelter, greeted by barking dogs, a clean playground and an onslaught of accommodating volunteers.Homeless shelters across the Valley offer assistance to those in need in the form of food, a safe place to sleep and even programs to help individuals get back on their feet. Tempe is one of the many large cities across the nation that works to combat the growing homelessness community.“We have a similar homeless population compared to other big cities,” said Theresa James, city of Tempe homeless coordinator.Common faces found on streets are single men, teens escaping violence or addiction at home and families with nowhere else to go, she added.Almost 24 percent of residents in Tempe lived in poverty from 2010-2012, according to the Tempe Community Action Agency, an organization dedicated to assisting those with low income. Roughly 27 percent of children younger than 18 were living below the poverty level during the same time frame.However, the impact of family homelessness is harder to visualize by the public eye, as families find ways to keep their struggle isolated, James said.

  • Photos: Fall League Baseball

  • The power of a pirouette

    Maria Tallchief was considered America’s first major prima ballerina and was the first Native American to hold such a distinction.Tallchief’s innovative role as the first sugar plum fairy in “Nutcracker” and passionate dancing revolutionized the ballet, but offstage her life was filled with personal struggles and discrimination.Arizona State University’s Simon Ortiz and Labriola Center Lecture on Indigenous Land, Culture, and Community presents Sandy Osawa’s “Maria Tallchief,” a documentary that will be screened at 7 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 16, at the Heard Museum, 2301 N. Central Ave., Phoenix.Osawa will follow the free screening and lecture with a Q&A about her one-hour documentary, which aired on PBS from 2007-2010. Osawa broke media barriers in the 1970s by launching the first 10-part national television series to be entirely produced, acted and written by Native Americans. She was also the first Native American filmmaker to produce a documentary for network television, called “The Eighth Fire,” first broadcast on NBC stations in 1992.Osawa spoke to GetOut from her home in Seattle to discuss her landmark documentary and the life of one of the most brilliant ballerinas of the 20th century.Q: What drew you as a filmmaker to Maria Tallchief’s story?

Tech Data Doctors Deals

  • State minimum wage to increase Jan. 1

    What would you buy with an extra $6 a week?Two gallons of milk?A Big Mac meal?A venti half-caf sugar-free latte?That's how much more those at the bottom of the pay scale will be making come Jan. 1 when the minimum wage in Arizona goes to $8.05 an hour. Before taxes.It's not that businesses necessarily want to pay their workers more. It's that Arizona voters in 2006 mandated that the state have its own minimum wage not tied to the federal figure.

  • Tempe Farmers Market connects shoppers with local food

    People looking for a quick, easy meal may consider In-N-Out Burger their best bet, while diners who want a fancy Italian, Mexican or Japanese dish have many restaurants on Mill Avenue to satisfy this craving. But for fresh, local ingredients ready to make any type of meal, the Tempe Farmers Market is the place to go.The Tempe Farmers Market, located at 805 S. Farmer Ave. in Tempe, is home to hundreds of freshly made, locally grown products, ranging from breads to dog treats to salad dressings. The Farmers Market also has a coffee and sandwich bar where the order is prepared for customers as they browse the aisles.“We’re a main source of natural, unmodified foods,” said Peter Taji, a Farmers Market employee and regular buyer. “We do the best we can to source locally; there’s just a certain freshness and organic feel about all the food here.”The higher quality comes with a cost, although Taji said the product is worth the extra expense.“You always get what you pay for,” he said.Stacey Dutton, owner and head of marketing for the Farmers Market, said she has noticed a lot of changes since the Farmers Market first opened in 2009.

  • Leaving VP job pays off for Great Play of Chandler owner

    Starting one’s own business is a risky proposition, especially when you’re leaving your job as a vice president at a Fortune 100 company to do it. Patrick O’Halleran knew the risks and did it anyway.In the past, O’Halleran has worked at Honeywell, AlliedSignal and American Express. He left his comfortable job as American Express’ vice president of global business travel to take over his own franchise: Great Play of Chandler.It wasn’t the easiest decision but O’Halleran, who said he traveled roughly 35 to 40 weeks per year, wanted to be closer to his family and spend more time with them.“It got to the point where it got beyond the money. It became a quality-of-life issue,” he said. “Just being on the road as much as I was and working as many hours as I did, I needed to balance home life better than I was.“I felt like I wanted to do something completely different. The opportunity came to leave Amex and I did on great terms.”O’Halleran became interested in moving into the world of franchising. He had taken a franchise course and decided it was something he wanted to move into. He said he looked into nine franchises as opportunities but eventually decided on Great Play of Chandler in December 2013 when he found the previous owner was looking to sell the business.

  • Gay marriage decision raises more questions about state laws

    Friday's federal court ruling voiding Arizona restrictions against same-sex marriage raises a series of new questions about other state laws which discriminate based on sexual orientation.For example, one law dealing with adoption spells out that if all other relevant factors are equal, the state should give preference to “a married man and woman” versus a single adult.With Friday's decision, gays will get equal status as married, but Attorney General Tom Horne said he could not say whether the law giving preference to couples of opposite sex is any longer enforceable.“That's undetermined,” he said, saying he reads the ruling as only affecting the right of gays to marry. “Other consequences remain to be determined.”But Jennifer Pizer, an attorney with Lambda Legal Defense and Education Fund, said she believes that laws like these which differentiate between man-woman married couples and same-sex couples who also are married are probably unenforceable. Pizer said she hopes it won't require a court battle.“What should happen is that the state officials that would be applying that law understand that the same reasoning that meant the different-sex requirement for marriage is struck down means that the different-sex requirement for other kinds of family law purposes is just as unconstitutional,” she said.

  • Top 100 Chandler companies recognized by chamber

    The Chandler Chamber of Commerce announced and celebrated the city’s top 100 companies during an event on Oct. 14.The chamber worked with the city’s Economic Development Department to rank local businesses according to their physical presence in the city, number of employees and community involvement.The companies gathered for a cocktail reception at Chandler Center for the Arts. Visit Chandler Chamber of Commerce for more information.

  • iPhone glass maker to cut 727 jobs at Mesa factory

    A manufacturer of sapphire glass that Apple Inc. uses in iPhones plans to eliminate 727 jobs at an Arizona plant.GT Advanced Technologies filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection last week.The company on Thursday announced its layoff plans for the Mesa plant as required by the federal Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act.The job cuts include 524 production workers, 108 technical positions, 70 management jobs and 25 administrative jobs.The bankruptcy and ensuing effort to shut down the factory mark was a surprising turn after state, local and business leaders previously bragged that the plant would be a major boost to the Arizona economy.Apple currently uses sapphire glass for camera lenses and its fingerprint-reading home button on many new iPhones.

Pets Food Health TV Travel

  • Engineering for Kids Summer Camp

    Engineering for Kids offering STEM Based Summer Camps at Primavera in Chandler. Announces Summer Camp Open House on May 17thWhat is East Valley Engineering for Kids?Engineering for Kids is an enrichment program that teaches concepts on a variety of engineering fields in classes and camps for kids’ ages 4-14. We want to spark an interest in the kids for science, technology and engineering. The camps are all themes based and require the kids to work in teams to address engineering challenges and problems. All programs meet national education standards for STEM and align with Common Core for math and science. Engineering for Kids has operated since 2009, is in 26 states and 4 countries. When and what is the open house for?The open house on May 17th is an opportunity for parents to come and see the facility, meet the staff from Engineering for Kids, and get their questions answered. The summer camps will be offered at Primavera Blended Learning Center at 2451 N. Arizona Avenue in Chandler. The open house is from 11 am to 3 pm.  From 1-2 pm we’re having our popular robotics workshop where the kids will build, program, test and improve the robots. At the end of the workshop, the kids will compete against each other in a Sumo Bot tournament. An RSVP is highly recommended as seating is limited. Please email your RSVP to eastvalley@engineeringforkids.net. What is Primavera Blended Learning Center?

  • Keeping the Faith: Dancing, not marching

    There is a story about two monks walking along the road when they come to a shallow, muddy river. A beautiful woman in a long white dress is standing there. She can’t figure out how to continue her journey without ruining her outfit.So one of the monks picks her up in his arms - something he was absolutely forbidden to do, for touching a woman was against his vows — and he carries her across to the other side. Then, all parties continued on their journey.After a few hours, the second monk was unable to remain silent about this breach of conduct. He blurts out, “How could you pick up that woman when you knew it was against the rules?” The first monk replied, “Are you still carrying her around? I put her down hours ago.”This is an instructive tale about two different approaches to spirituality. One can view faith as a tightly controlled, carefully managed list of “dos and don’ts,” or one can move with the spirit, so to speak. While the latter is not without its pitfalls, the former is certainly rife with peril. Managing our spiritual lists becomes a heavy, taxing burden.This point is eloquently driven home by pastor, author, and scholar Eugene Peterson. When he discovered that his congregation was failing to connect with the Bible, he did something radical. He rewrote it. Technically, he paraphrased the original language, crafting a translation for the contemporary context called “The Message.”Beginning with the book of Galatians, and taking more than a decade to work his way through both Testaments, Peterson “hoped to bring the Scriptures to life for those who hadn’t read the Bible because it seemed too … irrelevant and those who had read the Bible so much that it had become ‘old hat.’”

  • Catholic Charities offers counseling to Valley residents

    Catholic Charities of Arizona is offering a variety of counseling services to those who might not previously have been able to afford them. Holy Cross Catholic Church, on Power Road in Mesa, is one of many locations where East Valley residents can seek help for a variety of needs.Rebecca Sauer, a program manager for Catholic Charities, supervises a team of paid and intern counselors who are available to the general public at reduced rates, based on the individual’s ability to pay.“I’m very passionate about this program,” Sauer said. “Catholic Charities has a mission statement to help the most vulnerable of the population. We have made an effort to keep our fees very low so that those who would never be able to come to counseling can come.”She estimates the program has served some 4,000 people directly or indirectly connected to the 902 families who have sought counseling in the last year. Counseling is also available for individuals as well as couples, with marriage counseling being common as well. Spanish-speaking counselors are available and the program operates on Saturdays as well as evenings to meet busy schedules.Hourly rates range from $25 per hour for an intern to $35 per hour for a licensed counselor and move on a sliding scale from there based on income.Where the program really distinguishes itself is in Sauer’s work with the interns. Most of the time, she said, interns are supervised by other counselors who struggle to deal with their own caseloads and help their charges succeed as well. Sauer is able to devote her time to case reviews and mentorship, ensuring that the program’s interns are well-served, as well as those they counsel.

  • Take me Home: Handsome Jax is playful, sweet

    Jax is a big beautiful boy, about 3 years old. He’s very playful and sweet. Thus far he’s gotten along with most cats he’s met. It isn’t sure if he’d be happy living with dogs. Jax has been at the shelter for quite some time so when he does get adopted, the family should understand it might take him some time to adjust to a home environment. His last person ended up having to return him due to allergies. Jax would like to be brushed sometimes to keep that wonderful mane of his looking its best. He seems to understand there’s a price to pay for being so handsome so he doesn’t mind it.Jax is neutered, up to date on vaccinations and tested FELV/FIV negative. His adoption fee is $85. If interested in adopting Jax, contact Friends for Life Animal Rescue, 143 W. Vaughn Ave., in downtown Gilbert at (480) 497-8296 or visit www.azfriends.org.

  • Shapiro: Love deserves society’s support

    Love always wins. It may be denied for a time, but not forever. When it can’t flourish, it burns and breaks us. When love is allowed, it transforms, improves and heals. It makes us deeper, kinder, more caring people. When we love, we see beyond ourselves, and come to experience another person’s full humanity. When we recognize another person’s full humanity, we can see it in everyone else, too. The more love the better.What’s true for individuals is also true for societies. Love strengthens the bonds between people. In so doing, it transforms us into more caring communities. That’s why love deserves society’s support in all the many ways a culture can promote and protect it. The more love the better.How magnificent, then, that marriage equality is coming to Arizona. When all couples share in the joy, security, and context of marriage, love is allowed to flourish, individuals fuse into families, and our society becomes warmer, more caring, more inclusive. This is a change that’s been dreamt about for decades. I didn’t expect to see it in my lifetime.Some people are thrilled by marriage equality; others are terrified. What does it mean to us?I can tell you one thing it does not mean: I, as a clergyperson, will not be required to officiate at any wedding I don’t support. I have always had the right and ability to decline to perform marriages. That will remain the case under this change in law. I would decline to officiate at a wedding if I don’t believe the relationship to be a healthy one. I would decline to do so if I feel that Judaism isn’t at the heart of the new home — after all, I’m a rabbi, not a Justice of the Peace. The state does not and will not tell me whom to marry. In this way, neither my religious beliefs, nor those of any other clergyperson, are infringed by marriage equality. Our individual moral compasses remain intact.What I won’t have, and neither will you, is the right to deny what the state has called legal and binding: the self-declared relationship between two other people. You don’t need to bless it, but you aren’t allowed to trample it, either. Why would you? Like a sapling, love is tender and fragile and good, and therefore merits support.

  • Keeping the Faith: The Gospel according to Jesus

    While traveling in Central America, I had the opportunity to worship at an international, interdenominational, English-speaking church. The congregation contained Africans, Italians, Spaniards, Latinos, Americans, and Asians. We sang old Irish hymns and modern, Australian worship choruses. The service was a mixture of Lutheran, Reformed, and Pentecostal elements. The welcome was given by a Canadian, a German read the Scripture lesson, and an American did the preaching. It was a wonderful, diverse experience, and for a little while I thought the kingdom of God had come.This, I thought, is what worship should be: People of various Christian traditions, streaming together from all tribes and nations, gathered in an idyllic setting, worshiping Christ together. Then the sermon began, and things changed. The pastor’s sermon could have been heard in many an evangelical congregation in North America. It was about who was “right” and who was “wrong,” who was “in” and who was “out.” He summed up his sermon, and his philosophy for life, with these words: “Real life is full assurance that you will go to heaven when you die. That is the gospel.” At great risk of being misunderstood, I could not disagree more.As those words were spoken in that Latino church, the surrounding countryside had just endured its worst flooding in five decades. Gang graffiti clung to the walls and sidewalks just steps from the church’s front door. Thousands of people were trying to survive grinding poverty. To say to all these people and in all these of conditions, that “real life” is checking out of this life for the next one, is a mockery of reality and a refusal to heed the gospel that Jesus actually proclaimed. When Jesus began preaching his gospel in the Galilean hills, his message was clear and singular: “The Kingdom of God is at hand. It is here and now,” he said. “It is today.”Jesus’ intention, it seems, was not to rescue people from earth, per se, transporting them to a far removed heaven. His intention was to put heaven inside of people. A gospel that ignores this fact — and this current world — because our status in the next world has been properly secured, is a distortion of Jesus’ redeeming message.Thus, the gospel according to Jesus, is not just about a harp-playing, cloud-riding, hymn-singing, glory-praising, pie-in-the-sky heaven. It is holistic, all-encompassing deliverance, now. I’m not denying the existence of the afterlife; no, not at all. But I do not believe that we have to die to personally experience the life God has for us.Jesus’ first disciples did not have the benefit of two-thousand years of Christian tradition and theology. All those disciples had were Jesus’ words: “Follow me, for the Kingdom of God is at hand.” They had no promises of a big heavenly payoff. No fluttering angels’ wings, no crossing over the River Jordan to the Hallelujah Shore, no promises of golden streets or pearly gates, no “full assurance that you will go to heaven when you die.” All they had was the invitation of Jesus to “Follow me.” For them, that was enough.

Attorney General Forum - Question 1

Attorney General candidates Republican Mark Brnovich and Democrat Felecia Rotellini debate at ...

Facebook

EastValleyTribune.com on Facebook

Twitter

EastValleyTribune.com on Twitter

Google+

EastValleyTribune.com on Google+

RSS

Subscribe to EastValleyTribune.com via RSS

RSS Feeds

Spacer4px
Your Az Jobs
Loading…