Spiritual landscapeS



In these times of jihad, Jerry Springer & catastrophes, people are searchin'... All forms of spirituality are flourishing.  Especially nontraditional forms like the Pentecostals, psychics, astrologers, tarot card readers & other purveyors of the paranormal...


People are turning to GoD.  


Our inner cities have more religious zealots then gangsters. 


This piece explores spiritual landscapes of inner city Los Angeles

where hundreds of storefront churches fill the streets

from West Adams to Koreatown to the Rampart,

East Hollywood & Echo Park.  Churches runnin’ the gamut

from Afro-Caribbean Santeria, San Simon to Pentecostalism. 

People are catching spirit on the streets. 

Ministers got Megaphones on corners rabble rousing. 

Packed churches singing songs in Spanish. 

I know this from firsthand experience 'cuz last summer I lived next

to three of them at 3660 Pico by 4Th Avenue. 

Four Pentecostal storefront churches were within two blocks. 

Seven days a week I heard booming voices. 

Streets always rocking whether it was 3AM or Tuesday at noon. 

Talking in tongues,

playin’ all night long.





Streets that were once decaying are now pulsing with life

because of faith.   Repainted facades of vibrant energy

begin the healing to create a new urban order.     

Driving down many streets of inner city

Los Angeles you can see areas being transformed.   Immigrant

communities give old streets new flavor.   Created by

movements of faith these are Spiritual landscapes.   Mike Davis

called this “tropicalizing cold urban space,” in his great

work "Magical Urbanism, (Verso, 2000)."  




MusiC on the streets...


“I like Pentecostalism,” Ruben Martinez writes, “because I gravitate toward places of energy, and, although I am sad to say it, my own church is aging and a bit bewildered at the rapid change going around it...if I want a religious experience that mirrors the raucous times that we live in, I’d have to say that it’s the Pentecostals that provide it. About 400 million other people around the world besides me have felt strongly enough to convert from Catholicism or whatever “main-line” church they grew up with." 





Check Mike Davis & Ruben Martinez for great articles

on Pentecostal fervor in Los Angeles & Mexico City. 


Another group of similar energy is the Victory Outreach.

The Victory Outreach are ex-gang members that lived upstairs

from me.  Late nights they were playing acoustic guitars

singing about God. 

Try sleeping through them all night long ‘cuz their music

always culminates into a spiritual revelation about 6AM. 

Grown men yellin’ & cryin’ ecstatic expressions of the

lord’s spirit, spilling over into shouting..




Movements like these are affiliated with eschatology. 

Eschatology is the discourse of the last or

final things.. Doctrines on topics like Christ's return, 

the final destination of the soul or declaration of future

prophecy based on biblical events...


“According to the Bible", Apocalypsesoon.org writes, "we are living in the last moments of God's patience and Grace. Prophecies are being fulfilled before our very eyes. We are witnesses to a world gone mad and growing worse with each passing day. “




Whether you believe in doomsday & the apocalypse,

these movements show that people need something

to believe in. Religion is the opiate. 

Everyone needs some way to escape. 

Some way to touch God.   

(or however your phrasing)

Jimi Hendrix called music the sky church..

Yours could be Jesus, astrology, sex, or meditation. 

We all quest for timelessness,

the eternal spirit,

the experience is intense, however, you get it...On immigrant streets

of Los Angeles, faith is alive & kickin'!