neighborhood church

10

Tung-Men Holiness Church in Tainan 

This project by Mayo architects+ originates from a vision that the pastor has received from God: Tainan Tung-Men Holiness Church (TMHC) symbolizes an eagle as a biblical metaphor, and it is like an airport, serving as a boarding gate for non-believers to enter into God’s kingdom. The site of the new church is surrounded by secular residential buildings. Responding to this contextual city fabric as well as the pastor’s vision, the lower floors of the church building are used as socializing spaces such as coffee shop and family-friendly book store, inviting the community in and knitting the church closely with the life of the neighborhood.

The church is mainly composed of cool architectural concrete but balanced with warm wood and copper colors used for curved sanctuary ceiling, oak staircase and feather-like metal screens on the main facade. The aluminum perforated screens or “feathers” on the church exterior pay homage to the eagle metaphor, connecting this contemporary architecture to the members of the church on the emotional level. The orientation of every feather is calculated by the Fibonacci sequence and it is varied by increments of two degrees from feather to feather. Thus, the main church façade appears to be soft, transparent and flowing. Looking out from inside, the feathers form a sheer fabric that presents the secular world outside in a different light.

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Jim Jones was a cult leader responsible for the murder-suicide now known as the Jonestown Massacre, where 918 people lost their lives.  In order to understand how this tragedy happened, it’s important to know how Jonestown began.  Who was Jim Jones and how was he able to gain the love, respect and trust from so many that they were willing to die for him?

Jim Jones was born May 13, 1931 in Crete, Indiana. He grew up in a very poor family, residing in a shack with no electricity.  From a very young age Jones had an obsessive interest in religion.  As a child, he would hold sermons in his backyard and have neighborhood children attend his church services.  Sometimes when the children wanted to leave, Jones would lock all the doors and refuse to let them leave, forcing them to stay and listen to his sermons. He was very harsh on children who were not as interested in church as he was and would take personal offense. By the age of 16, Jones was preaching to both black and white churches, which was highly unusual, as the city was still segregated. But Jones had a very upbeat and friendly personality and he was very passionate about the poor and the underrepresented, and empathized with the non-whites.

After graduating high school, Jim went to college to study medicine and began working as a hospital orderly. During that time in 1949, Jim met Marceline Baldwin, a nurse who worked in the same hospital. After dating for a short time, Jim and Marceline would get married.  A few years later in 1952, Jim was working as a student pastor in a Methodist church and the congregation did not take kindly to Jim’s beliefs in desegregation. It is important to note that the Ku Klux Klan was very well known in Indiana during the time Jones resided there.  At one time, there were more members in the KKK there than in any other state.  Around 250,000 men were members of the Indiana KKK at its peak, which included many prominent government officials, police and the like.  Racial tension was at an all time high and Jones preaching about loving your neighbor of all colors and interracial congregations was neither accepted, nor tolerated. Jones had no choice but to resign as pastor.  It was then that he formed his own congregation.  Originally the church was known as Community Unity and it focused on Christian beliefs. It was during his time of running the Community Unity that Jones decided that there was no God because if there was, there wouldn’t be so much poverty, hatred and inequality in the world.  He then decided he would no longer be preaching of God and religion, but rather shifting his focus to what he was passionate about: poverty and people of all colors being treated fairly and equal. In 1956, Jones created the People’s Temple.

From the beginning, the People’s Temple was prominent in the civil rights movement. Jones was responsible for desegregating the police department, movie theaters, restaurants, hospitals and other businesses in Indianapolis. Additionally, the Temple opened up a soup kitchen for the homeless and poor, had free housing available for senior citizens and the mentally ill and Jim and Marceline even opened up their own home for homeless and unwed mothers. It was the first time in history that people were publicly offering assistance to people regardless of their race.  It was also at this time that Jim and Marceline adopted a Native American child, three Korean children and became the first white family in Indiana to adopt a black child. This adoption took place in 1961, the same year the freedom fighters tried to desegregate buses in Alabama and were brutally attacked. Because of the integration and desegregation Jim Jones was responsible for, the residents of the city felt threatened and would send the family death threats and spit on them in public.  Many of the people in Indianapolis of all races saw what Jones was trying to accomplish and they wanted to be a part of it. They saw that he was really for the people and trying to make a good, positive change in the world.  Needless to say for all the good they were trying to do, they were met with hatred, threats of violence and even assaults.  Jones decided that it was no longer safe for his family in Indianapolis and they moved to Brazil. They were only there for a short time before returning to the United States, but this time making California their home. Many of the original Temple members, around 150 from Indiana, made the move to California with the Jones family.

Not everything was love and peace in the family. Jim’s wife Marceline was very unhappy about Jim renouncing his faith in God. Marceline still considered herself a Christian and would still pray to the Lord, which angered Jim greatly. At times, he would threaten Marceline that he’d commit suicide if she continued praying to God. He was also extremely jealous and did not want anyone giving his wife any kind of attention, even though he was known to carry on affairs quite often. Jim also developed a drug addiction to prescription pills that would cause erratic mood swings and bouts of paranoia.  In fact, the move to California was due to Jim’s paranoia and a vision he had of nuclear holocaust. He felt they would be safe from the disaster in California. 

By the early 70’s in California, Temple membership had grown considerably. Word had spread all over the country about Jones and his refreshing approach to race relations. During this time, People’s Temple had approximately 2,500 members. Jones began preaching to his people quotes from the Bible, even though he denounced his faith. He would find things that were fitting for him to go with his own selfish desires and wants and use the Bible as a backup source. An example of this would be Jones quoting Matthew 19:21, which reads, “Jesus answered, “If you want to be perfect, go, sell your possessions and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.”

Temple members wound up doing just that. They sold their homes and cars and gave all of the money to the Temple. The ones who had jobs and continued to work would turn over their entire paycheck to the Temple. The elderly who drew retirement and social security would turn over their entire checks to the Temple. In their minds, they were contributing to the “Good Cause”.  He made his members feel loved, safe and hopeful. While he was kind to everyone, he was especially compassionate to the poor and the uneducated. The majority of his followers were classified as such and to them, he was a savior. They wanted somewhere to belong and fit in and something to be proud of. He gave them all of that and more. All of them referred to him as “father” and had nothing but respect for him. His speeches were so uplifting to his members, even when he said ridiculous things such as he was the reincarnation of Jesus or Buddha, they just went with it. As new people would come to check out the organization and their charismatic leader, Jim’s ego demanded more and more followers and praise. Additionally, he was always looking to make more money.  He again began his practices of faking miracles and healings, something that garnered a little bit of attention in his earlier years, but this was on a much bigger level.  He would use his members to pretend to cure cancer and other ailments, making blind people see again, making people in wheelchairs walk again. These events were well-planned and thought out and with his large organization acting like they had witnessed an actual miracle (most were not privy to the behind the scenes operation and planning and truly believed that he was legitimately Jesus incarnate and performing miracles) many visitors would believe too.  Even though Jones would lie and manipulate, during his speeches he would come across as honest, vibrant, caring and positive. He was liked and well respected by not only the Temple, but the entire community. 

As Jim Jones became more dependent on drugs and his paranoia grew, he began using scare tactics on his followers. He would tell them that people were plotting against them, including the CIA. To his followers, this was terrifying. They felt all they had was each other and their “father”. He also made sure to increase the dedication people had for him as well as making them more disciplined followers. He began making ridiculous claims to his members, informing all the males in his organization that they were all homosexual, all of them but him.  He would have sex with the male members to prove to them that they liked it. Additionally, he would have sex with the women members and then during their daily meetings, they were expected to speak on what horrible lovers their husbands were and what a great lover Jones was. He eventually informed his members that they were not allowed to have sex, not even the married couples. Essentially, the only time anyone was “allowed” to have sex was when it was with Jim Jones.

In the early 70’s Jones and his “church” was accused by the media of financial fraud, physical abuse of its members and mistreatment of children. It was while this was going on that Jones purchased some land in Guyana in an effort to move himself and the entire People’s Temple so as to avoid the people who were supposedly plotting against him and trying to ruin him.  It was his goal to create a utopian society here, free of racism and worry, but also to seemingly gain much more control over his followers. Initially there was a small group of members sent to Guyana to begin building houses, plant crops and prepare the area for all the members.    In the mean time, Jim Jones got to work holding meetings, letting all the members know what was to be expected of their move and the tropical paradise that awaited them, getting passports made of all of his members and continuing to try to make as much money as possible.  Eventually Jim Jones and 1,000 of his members all made the move to Guyana and arrived at the compound known as Jonestown.  What they arrived to was anything but the heaven they were told it would be. The houses were not yet completed, nor was anything else complete because Jones did not want to spend a lot of money on the project.  It was less like paradise and more like a concentration camp. Jones informed the members that no one was allowed to leave and to reinforce that, he stationed armed guards around the property. Additionally, he confiscated their passports so they could not leave. He also confiscated outgoing mail so members could not get a hold of any family or friends outside of Jonestown. Some worried family members made phone calls to Jonestown and Jim and his closest members would listen in on the calls to make sure no one was out of line.  Members were expected to work on the land day and night, with minimal breaks and very little food.  With Jones treating his members horribly, it’s no surprise that he was always on edge, wondering if they were plotting against him. He installed an intercom system in Jonestown with a loud speaker and would get on the speaker at all hours, day and night, drunkenly preaching to his members, many times speaking of upcoming doom and an apocalypse. He began holding mock suicide drills in the middle of the night due to his thoughts of the US government being out to destroy him. Members were publicly beaten for disobeying as well as threatened with death. Coupling the new environment making members extremely vulnerable with the physical and psychological abuse and brainwash, there wasn’t much members could do at this point in time other than being obedient and subservient to Jones.

There were a few people who did successfully leave the People’s Temple, most notably Bob Houston.  Houston’s mutilated body was found near some train tracks after leaving the Temple.  US representative Leo Ryan was good friends with Bob Houston’s father and coupled with the abuse allegations he had heard were happening at Jonestown and the mysterious death of his friend’s son that had recently defected, Ryan decided he would fly to Guyana to investigate the supposed utopian society and see if members were truly happy there or if they were being held there against their will, as it had been told to him.  Ryan brought with him some concerned family members, people working for the media and photographers.  Jones got word of the visit and made sure to explain to his members how they would behave and how they would represent Jonestown.  They were told to prepare the best food (including a lot of meat, which Temple members were not allowed to eat otherwise due to its high cost) and to be thankful for Jones at all times.  On November 17, 1978, Ryan and his crew (who had been in Guyana for three days and were being refused to be let into Jonestown) were finally allowed to enter the compound.  For the most part, the People’s Temple put on a very convincing show for Ryan, praising Jones for all of his hard work and dedication. They expressed how happy they were in Jonestown and stayed on their best behavior for fear of what would be done to them if they didn’t.  However, one rather brave Temple member, (and a wonderful personal friend of mine) Vernon Gosney, slipped a note to one of the reporters that arrived with Ryan. In the note, Gosney pleaded for help getting out of Jonestown. The letter was signed by both him and another Temple member, Monica Bagby. Jones asked Ryan and his group to leave for the night and the next day, they arrived to interview more members. During the interview, another woman came forward stating that she wished to leave Jonestown with her family, as well as another family. It was made known to Jones that some people wanted to leave and he pretended he was okay with that, that they were free to go at any time. After interviews concluded on November 18, 15 people in total were to leave Jonestown with representative Ryan. Hidden amongst the 15 was one man, Larry Layton, who was only posing as a Temple defector and had no intention on leaving.  Once they arrived at the airstrip, 2 planes were available to the group. Larry Layton boarded the small, six passenger plane. Once on the airstrip, he began shooting Temple members who were on the plane, wounding several. Temple members who escorted the people to the planes began shooting at the other plane, killing Leo Ryan, 1 Temple member and and 3 journalists. 9 others were wounded. All of the survivors ran and hid into the nearby fields.

As the shootings were happening at the airstrip, Temple associates were given orders by Jones to prepare a drink, enough for all of Jonestown, consisting of grape Flavor-Aid, cyanide, Valium, chloral hydrate and Phenergan. Jones called all of his members to the pavilion for a meeting.  44 minutes of said meeting was recorded and is known as “The Death Tape”.  Jones informed his followers that he knows someone who boarded those planes were going to shoot the pilot, which would cause the death of all of the people on the planes and hinting that this would lead to the government coming to Jonestown and taking everyone’s children away. He then encouraged his members to drink the Flavor-Aid concoction and commit revolutionary suicide. That they would be heroes and forever remembered as revolutionaries. Many of the first to take the poison were parents who used syringes to squirt into the children’s mouths, then doing the same to themselves. Others simply drank it.    Some members thought this was another fake suicide drill until they witnessed people dying and then fear and panic set in.  Jones can be heard on the Death Tape telling members to die with dignity, and that death is preferable to life at that point. It has been said that many were forced to take the drink at gun point. A few members managed to hide under beds and avoided death. A couple others managed an escape and ran through the fields. Jim Jones did not drink the poison, instead, his death was caused by a single gunshot wound to the head. No one knows whether it was self-inflicted or if another member did it. One other woman was found dead with a gunshot wound. Additionally, a woman named Sharon Amos was working at the Jonestown headquarters in Georgetown. She received a radio communication from Jonestown informing her to commit revolutionary suicide. She took her three children into the bathroom and stabbed two of them to death, then had one assist her in stabbing herself to death, followed by the last of her children killing herself.

Many of the Temple members who fled into the jungle were lost for days and nearly died, but a Guyanese government plane flew in and located them. Others made their way to Georgetown, staying at cafes, and some staying with local residents.

Larry Layton was found guilty of conspiracy and of aiding and abetting the murder of Congressman Leo Ryan and of the attempted murder of Richard Dwyer. While the only person ever found guilty of any happenings at Jonestown, he was paroled in 2002.

In total, 918 individuals lost their lives at Jonestown. It was the largest death toll of civilians by human acts up until the 9/11 tragedy. Jim Jones was cremated and his ashes scattered at sea. His wife and three of their children who died at Jonestown are buried in Richmond, Indiana (The oldest daughter left the People’s Temple before the move to Guyana and two of their sons survived Jonestown by being out of the area for a basketball game).  The bodies of over 400 of those who died in Guyana are buried in a mass-grave at Evergreen Cemetery in Oakland, California.  A memorial listing all 900+ casualties, including Jim Jones, was completed at the grave site in 2011.

right now we should be pushing for creating sanctuaries in our cities, church communities, neighborhoods, etc. this isn’t something we can wait on. this has to happen now.

4

Photographer Gabriel Garcia Roman’s portraits feature friends and acquaintances, activists and poets, Americans and immigrants — some naturalized, some undocumented.

All of them are queer people of color.

“I wanted to specifically focus on this community because queer and trans people of color are so rarely represented in the art world,” says Roman, who is Mexican-American and also identifies as queer.

The photo series, called “Queer Icons,” evokes the colorful, religious artwork that Roman grew up with. “Because I grew up Catholic in a Mexican community in Chicago, my first introduction to art was religious art,” he says.

He was particularly inspired by the fresco paintings of haloed saints that decorated the walls of his neighborhood church. “I’ve always thought of the halo as something very powerful — it’s like a badge of nobility,” he says.

And because Roman’s subjects are activists and artists who do good for the community, “I wanted to represent them as saints,” he says.

He also wanted to capture their pride and their strength. “I wanted them to be warriors — that’s why a lot of them are looking straight at the camera, saying ‘Here I am, and I’m not going to hide.’”

Not Your Mother’s Catholic Frescoes: Radiant Portraits Of Queer People Of Color

Photo credit: Courtesy of Gabriel Garcia Roman

open.spotify.com
kylo ren playlist // spotify

hi friends! as you all know, i am 10000% kylo ren GARBAGE!!!!! so it would be greatly appreciated if y'all would head over to my spotify and give my kylo ren playlist a listen! i worked really hard on it, and i feel like it truly encapsulates him as a character + there’s some super cool music on this and you’ll probably rlly like it (if u don’t that’s cool too but please give me The Validation™). here’s the track list!

1. crown / jay-z

2. gasoline / halsey

3. daddy issues / the neighborhood
4. fear and loathing / marina and the diamonds

5. tragedy / always never 

6. mark (remastered) / shahmen 

7. help me out / alicks
8. rose golden / kid cudi

9. fairly local / twenty one pilots

10. control / halsey

11. desperado / rihanna
12. afraid / the neighborhood

13. no church in the wild / jay-z ft. kanye west

14. glory and gore / lorde

 15. time for that / kevin gates

16. me / the 1975

In our emphasis on being individuals we forget that we live in a whole world thoroughly damaged by sin. And this sin is not just the sum total of individual choices for evil across the generations. It has a life of its own that is self-perpetuating in human society, often seemingly quite independent of the good intentions of individual members of that society. This collective human sin encourages, supports, and perpetuates our separation from each other into groups of “them and us.” It operates in nations, classes, professions, races, sexes, neighborhoods, friendships, families, churches, and groups within churches, who reinforce our feeling of belonging to them by encouraging our estrangement from outsiders about whose well-being we could not possibly be concerned. It is at work, too, in our estrangement from our earth when we regard it as simply there to be exploited.
—  Roberta C. Bondi, To Pray and To Love

I am allowed to be agender and still use my assigned pronouns
For some people its not worth the fight.
I live in a town where there’s at least two churches per neighborhood and lots of assholes. Including half my family.
I am still agender.
I am still valid.

Fuck you if you say otherwise.
Closeted a genders are agenders.
CLOSETED PEOPLE ARE WHATEVER THEY SAY THEY ARE AND ARE NO LESS VALID.

thank you this is your psa

A Blessing from Heaven

Hey guys !

So I’ve been writing a Gideon Fan fiction and I decided to post the first part to see what you think about.

The main concept is to be a sweet fluffy story !

I really hope you guys like it !

Every day after work you used to go to the church on your neighborhood to pray and talk to God. Being alone and not having anyone to talk to made you a little more reserved. You lost your parents ten years ago and suffered so much that you closed yourself in your own world. People that worked with you thought you were weird and a loner, because you hardly talk to anyone and constantly was seen talking to yourself.

That Thursday you were going to church when you heard the sirens and firefighters all over the street. Your neighborhood church was on fire. What were you supposed to do ? Where to go ?

You looked around and you notice a huge church you haven’t notice before about a mile away. You walked there and when you arrived you saw it was abandoned. You tried to open the door but it was too heavy, so you went to look around. It caught your attention the amount of gargoyles around the place, once again you tried to open the door and this time you succeeded. You entered the place and looked around, it was a very old church, abandoned for sure, a few remaining of the benches scattered around and a huge gargoyle statue right in front of you. You were astonished by the beauty of the statue, all rock; it seemed it was cleaned recently because it was spotless. You moved your hand up to reach the face of the gargoyle and you placed your hand on it. Right away you were talking to yourself.

Keep reading

“I felt attracted to other boys when I was four years old, but by the time I hit puberty, it felt like a tractor beam was pulling me toward another person. I didn’t know any other gay people. There was no Internet back then. I had no information about life beyond my neighborhood, church, family, and friends. So I thought I was sick. I considered suicide when I was thirteen. I had the pills measured out and everything. But I picked up a psychology textbook from the library, and it said that all teenage boys go through a phase of sexual exploration. So I thought: ‘It’s just a phase. I can handle a phase.’ I thought as soon as I had a heterosexual encounter, it would all go away. It was a lie, of course. But it got me through my teenage years. And by the time I realized it wasn’t a phase, I’d developed so many other parts of my identity. I’d become good at swimming, running, and playing the cello. I was making good grades. I was even smoking pot. So by the time I finally accepted being gay, my identity was based upon a lot more than my sexuality.”

Gratitudes

1. Sang as a guest choir at a neighborhood church and it went well
2. The sermon was really great
3. Cleaned my room for the first time since mummmmmblemummble
4. My bandmate’s parents and fiancée came to practice
5. My choir bud’s daughter is so cute
6. Made enough pasta that I have lunch
7. My tire is almost totally flat but I’m pretty sure I can make it to work in the morning