Hirosuke Ishiguro/Westside Scholarship

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My Memories of Westside Church of Christ

Eighteen years ago, I was behind the idea of closing
down Westside. But, now, I'm thinking, "Why are
you quitting so soon?" Tell me, when you were young
and said to yourselves, "Let's build a new church
congregation," what was your vision and inspiration?
And, what's different, now? What part of the vision
doesn't work, anymore? Where has the inspiration gone?

I've heard it said of Presidential candidates, that what it
takes to get elected is different from what it takes to be
a successful President, And, I think it is true that you had what it took to start a church congregation, but you didn't have the mix of skills and vision that it took to sustain and grow it.

You haven't really failed, though. Westside is a business failure, but for dozens of us who spent part of our youths there, it did teach us right from wrong, and for that I thank you, It is, for a number of us, a spiritual birthplace and a success.

Life is largely a refusal to die, and right now you're about to lay down and die because you can't pay the expenses of a physical property that never was the church to begin with. You guys taught me that the church is the people. So, what is your justification for quitting? You can't afford this useless status symbol of a building, so pack it all in boys and give up? You still have a few people left and, if you would give others what they actually want, they win come! Give them what they want, and they'll come.

What do people want? They want the opportunity to make their dreams come true! Just like you did, once upon a time. How can you do this? Cash in the property of Westside and invest the funds, Then use the earnings, as a venture capitalist would, to help people make their dreams come true. Being a religious organization, it's most logical to support endeavors that will become self sustait1ing, ongoing, works that promote health, education and spiritual well being.

Who is your target group? You can take grant proposals from anyone, but there's a logic to nurturing young people who have inspiration and fresh ideas, I'd suggest you form an alliance with professors and students of the religion and business departments at Pepperdine, so that you can give the students their first opportunities to make a mark on the world and to learn as they do it. More on this, later, if you're interested.

Westside is ripe for a resurrection and rebirth. There is no rule saying it must remain as it always has been, and it's evident that the way it's been hasn't worked. And, there's nothing wrong with going back to the "homeless" Jesus wandering around doing good works mode.

Now, I haven't been around Westside, for the past few decades, out of pure boredom, But, I have no particular interest in contributing to a digital headstone for the place, either. Give me a call, if you actually want to live. I'd come back to help the place be born again.

James Izumi