Hey look: a non-Christmas update from the Tizons! Too much has gone on to wait until December. Who knows—it might become a habit again, like in times past.
Addie and Other Family News
Well, Janice and I became grandparents again. Please welcome Addison Liliana T. Martinez into the world! Born March 22nd, “Addie” joins her brothers Julian and Calen in the Martinez’s growing tribe. Our White/Filipino daughter Candace and Guatemalan son-in-law Edwin are making the most beautiful “Guatepinos” the world has ever seen.
Our son Christian got engaged earlier this year to the lovely Shanae Savage. Hooray! September 25th is the big day. In May, we attended two graduations: Candace’s from Pacific Oaks College with her M.A. in early childhood education and Corrie’s from Vanguard University of Southern California (my alma mater) with her B.A. in cultural anthropology. And Zoey is home for the summer as she completed her first year at North Park University.
I write this letter from an airplane, as Janice and I head home from celebrating our anniversary on the beautiful island of Puerto Rico. It’s official: we still love each other after 33 years of marriage—a testament to regular date nights, ministry partnership and the grace of God!
Oriented to Love and Other Dialogues
ESA is committed to finding another way to engage difficult social issues. Call us naïve, but we don’t think participating in the culture wars, inciting fear of “the other” and demonizing those who disagree with our positions are the ways of Jesus. Don’t get me wrong: this is not a call to be non-committal for the sake of keeping the peace. On the contrary, it is learning the art of being true to our convictions while loving all. ESA doesn’t claim to have this art down, but by the grace and wisdom of God, we strive to live in the tension between uncompromising truth-telling and unconditional loving.
Toward that end we have convened several dialogues this past year between “straight Christians” and “gay Christians.” Called “Oriented to Love,” these dialogues have indeed demonstrated an alternative to the name-calling, rock-throwing, over-reactive ways of the world around this issue. In December, we also organized a conference called “Impact: Holy Land,” where we brought together Palestinian Christians, Messianic Jews and Christian Zionists in the same room. In March, we conducted a workshop called, “Church as Reconciler,” which aimed to teach congregations how to identify and overcome racism in their communities.
Convinced that when people know each other the rules of engagement change, we strive in these gatherings to create safe spaces where both uncompromising biblical truth and unconditional biblical love can flourish.
Nireekshanalaya – Place of Hope
In January, I led a team from City Line Church in Philadelphia to Bangalore, India, where we lent a hand to Nireekshanalya, a ministry of hope to street boys. Translated “a place of hope,” Nireekshanalya rescues boys from desperate poverty and the many dangers of street life, and it provides the love, compassion and hope of the gospel. [For hard copy: I included a short article about this amazing trip] [For email version: For more about this amazing trip, read this article.
Micah Group: Where Preaching, Worship and Justice Meet
Beginning this fall, Willette Burgie-Bryant—Palmer Seminary’s chaplain—and I will be serving as facilitators of a "Micah Group,” a small, diverse group of ministers who seek to integrate worship and holistic mission, particularly as this integration relates to the art of preaching. The hope is that we will all grow deeper in our own relationship with God; develop meaningful, sustaining relationships with our circle of fellow ministers from diverse backgrounds; and together seek to "do justice, love mercy, and walk humbly with God."
A project of the Ogilvie Institute for Preaching and Justice at Fuller Theological Seminary in Pasadena, CA, Micah Groups have been convened all over the country. In partnership with the Ogilvie Institute, ESA/Sider Center will be bringing Micah Groups to the east coast.
The Ministry of Writing
Part of my calling is the ministry of writing. As I’ve been given opportunity to write books, articles, etc., I strive to cultivate in readers the mind of a scholar, the heart of a singer and the courage of a prophet! Not that I hit the mark every time; but that is my aim. I contributed a chapter to a volume celebrating the 40th anniversary of the Lausanne Movement aptly entitled The Lausanne Movement: A Range of Perspectives, edited by Murgunn Serigstad Dahle, Lars Dahle and Knud Jorgensen. I also contributed an introduction and commentary notes for the book of Revelation in the upcoming Justice Bible. And I recently signed a book contract to write a fresh text on holistic ministry.
Will you Join Us?
Can you see why I couldn’t wait until December?! We’re excited about what God is doing in the world and feel privileged to be part of it. Thanks for slogging through this letter. It’s my attempt to keep you informed, partly because I can’t keep it in, but also because I hope that you’ll consider supporting this important work by your prayers and financial generosity. It’s trite to say, but nonetheless profoundly true, that we can’t do it without you!
How about you? How has the Spirit been moving in and through you? Drop me a line sometime. Meanwhile, God’s very best to you and all you do.
Al for Al, Janice, and the ESA family