Jennifer Dill (left to right), and I, Katyana and Bennie
Thomas take the new Expo train to the California
Science Center for the Imax movie Jerusalem and the
Dead Sea Scrolls exhibit.
My Church Family
Just about every Saturday, our daughter
Kathy and granddaughter Katyana come to
spend the night with us.
Kathy is an excellent cook, and either she
makes dinner or we work together on it.
Then Katyana gets ready for bed and Frank
opens the folding bed in the back room.
On Sunday morning, we go down Venice
Blvd. to the Culver Palms Church of Christ to
worship God. We meet with an
English-speaking group comprised of
multiple races and nationalities, while
groups in other parts of the building worship
in Spanish, Chinese and Korean.
Our congregation reflects the city we live in.
Los Angeles is a cosmopolitan city of many
races and languages. And as we learn to get
along despite our differences in the church,
we develop strategies for getting along
despite our differences in the community.
Of course, an important difference in the
church is that we have the extra motivation of
all being children of God and believing in
scriptures like John 4:7: "When a Samaritan
woman came to draw water, Jesus said to
her, 'Will you give me a drink?'
"The Samaritan woman said to him, 'You are
a Jew and I am a Samaritan woman. How
can you ask me for a drink?' (For Jews do not
associate with Samaritans)."
See, it's happened forever between people
with all sorts of differences. Jews and
Samaritans, blacks and whites, hispanics
and anglos. It also happens between men
and women, rich and poor, conservatives
and liberals. We all look for ways to feel
superior to other people.
Besides worship, the members of the Culver
Palms Church of Christ do some interesting
An exterior view (above) and an interior view of the meeting place of the Culver Palms Church of Christ,
together with a sense of some the diversity that characterizes the people who worship there.
Katyana and I sitting in front of the fountain with the roses
and the Natural History Museum (which appears on TV as
the "Jeffersonian," setting of one of my favorite shows,
Bones) behind us.
Every year, we all get together for what we
call International Day, with all our various
language groups worshipping together. The
last was May 31, and it's always fun.
On May 24, the youth group went to see The
Avengers at the ArcLight Theater where my
son Robert works.
They also raised money to build a house in
Mexico through the Amor program. We had
an enchilada dinner and a parking lot sale to
help fund it.
May 17 was Culver Palms Day at the
California Science Center. Seventy-three
people went on the church bus or the new
Expo line, a light-rail train that runs from
Culver City to the museums in the USC area.
There we saw the Imax movie Jerusalem, ate
together outside after buying lunch at the grill
or bringing our own picnic, and saw the
exhibit of the Dead Sea Scrolls.
It totally wiped me out, and we had to call
Frank to meet us at the train station. I
couldn't believe that a friend who's even older
than I am made it through, but she teaches
kindergartners, which keeps her on her toes,
while I write, which keeps me on the
Now, a friend and I are working together on a
book called The Other, exploring race
relations and other differences that can
make associations difficult. It may be a
matter of race, nationality, sex, disability or
lack of same. Others are enough like us that
they seem easier.
That friend, Harris Ives, lived just down 79th
Street from us, studied on the old campus of
Pepperdine University and worshipped at the
Vermont Avenue Church of Christ. He now
teaches English in Japan.