Sunday, April 01, 2007

Parallel Universe

Last night we went to a wedding which was a fascinating experience. First of all, I didn't know a single person except my wife - the wedding was with an old elementary school friend of Bea's. Second, it was at First Congregational Church of Los Angeles which is a huge, European style cathedral.
LA Church
Then the weirdest part was that the wedding was at The Biltmore Hotel. This is a super fancy hotel in the heart of downtown L.A. It was a black-tie reception and the parents of the bride spared no expense. It was lavish with fine food and drinks with an amazing band. It was the most expensive seeming wedding I have ever been to.
I have been to this hotel several times, but for a very different reason. I have been on mission trips to inner-city Los Angeles with the Center for Student Missions about ten or more times. On the first night of the trip you take a prayer tour through the city. Part of the tour takes you through Skid Row and then to show you the contrast, takes you into the Biltmore Hotel.
skid row 1
So there I am in this opulent reception in a place where I have been in the park, Pershing Square, across the street and had a snack with a homeless man and talked about God for over an hour. I have been down the street in MacArthur Park a million times talking with people about Jesus over Mexican pastries. CSM gives downtown LA four categories - Big Bucks, Spend Bucks, No Bucks, and Anything for a Buck. This was my real first time in Big Bucks and although it was very beautiful, it felt sad when we drove by a homeless person to have our car valet parked.

Have you ever been in a situation like this?


Anonymous said...


I am forever ruined by CSM.
I am so glad.

Luxery and poverty... 2 awkward bedfellows

-Matt Doan

Brooke said...

Tom took me to this hotel years ago for my birthday. Early one morning we went exploring in all the ballrooms and one was filled with the aftermath of a big, lavish wedding... it was interesting to see what was considered "trash"... the orchids and everything, just ruined and discarded... leftovers of a $200K party. very interesting...

CSM said...

Hi Eric,
What an awesome reflection on the contrasts that are so often side-by-side. Thanks for your partnership with CSM and for loving on the people of LA.
Would it be ok to link to your blog from CSM's (
CSM Home Office