North Coast Calvary Chapel

There’s something nice, almost liberating, about teaching the Bible in a Hawaiian shirt. It may not be commonplace to wear one in Illinois, but here in Southern California it’s entirely natural, like eating avocado or twisting lime juice into a beverage.

North Coast fountainLast night I had the privilege of serving at North Coast Calvary Chapel. After meeting in a storefront for several years, North Coast recently purchased land and built some marvelous facilities. The architects obviously gave attention to form as they did function. This picture of Angela and me sitting at their fountain is one such example.  

I think last night may have been a first. When I asked the audience whether they had come from a Catholic background, nearly everyone raised their hand. With a sense of existential immediacy and depth, questions ranged from movements of historical theology to the delicate dynamics of chatting with one’s Polish grandmother about the role of Mary.

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There are quite a few Italians here in San Diego according to an Italian woman from the Bronx whom I met last night. This evening we plan to visit Little Italy for dinner. Who knows, maybe I’ll decide to plant a church right in the middle of it. Preaching in a Hawaiian shirt and eating linguini among former Catholics. Here am I Lord, send me!

About the author

Chris Castaldo (PhD, London School of Theology) is the lead pastor at New Covenant Church in Naperville, Illinois. He is the author of Talking with Catholics about the Gospel and coauthor of The Unfinished Reformation.


  1. Chris, I ‘m happy for you that the book tour is going so well.

    To be honest, as a Catholic I’m saddened right now having read this post. I not resenting that you minster to ex-Catholics, just that there are so many of them. I’m assuming, based on my experience in catechesis, that they never learned why the Catholic Church teaches what it does, and were “easy pickings” for Evangelicals who know the Bible so much better than they did. How much more valiant it would be for Evangelicals to make sure Catholics know what they are leaving before taking them away.

    I know I’ve mentioned this before, but in my mind, both the Evangelical and Catholic positions begin with an assumption: for the former that the authority of Christ is contained in the Bible itself, and for the latter, that it is contained in the Church. I am not going to debate here which is more logical (it’s obvious which I’ve chosen), but share a concern that has been on my mind.

    When I first came across your website, I watched the video of the family with Catholics and Evangelicals in it. Although the actual dialogue might be taken from a real conversation, I regard it as a caricature, and an overly simplified one at that, as if it represents an argument for not being Catholic. It actually offended me to watch Catholics portrayed that way. I’m sure a similar video could be made of an uncatechized Evangelical family, and it would offend many Evangelicals.

    I guess what Im saying it this…my experience of dialoging with you has been open, respectful, and enlightening. But I’m not having the same “feeling” about this post and that video.

  2. Thanks Claude. Sorry Bud, I’m not sure what part of the post is offensive. If you were there the other night, you would have heard my presentation emphasize John 1:14 where it says of Jesus that he came full of grace and truth. Here is the ideal which Jesus embodied and which we are called to follow. As for the Holy Ground promo video, it is trying to depict the reality that was expressed by countless people in our focus groups over the course of 2 years. You are entirely right to piont out that it doesn’t look that way for everyone, although it never claims to. The Protestant character is just as ridiculous as the Catholic one. This was precisly the goal: to show Catholic/Protestant relationships at their absolute worst in order to highlight the nature of the problem that exists for millions of people across America today. Once we understand the problem, we’ll be in a better position to provide healing to it with the resources of divine grace. Thanks again Claude. I do hope we can get together when I’m in LA next. Richest blessings to you and your family. Sincerely, Chris

  3. Thank you Chris. I can see your point about the video. I was viewing it through my “Catholic” bias. As far as the post, I’m sorry I wasn’t clearer; it merely saddened me, while I found the video too “anti” Catholic. If this dialogue is to be fruitful, we shouldn’t be “anti” anything but “for” what we believe is truth. By “anti” I mean putting-down another’s views through anything less than charitable dialogue.

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