Posts Tagged ‘god’

Sixty, sober, and starting over

Text by Melissa Batchelor Warnke. Photos by Luisa Conlon. It’s 6 am on a Sunday, and a group of men are sitting in a parking lot in the dark. They’re half of the Teen Challenge Choir—two dozen men and women in treatment for “life controlling issues.” They’re about to get in a big white van…

Read More

At God’s Gym, members find kindness, support and an unlikely spiritual leader

Gary Shields owns God's Gym, located at Broadway and 25th St. in Oakland.

On any given day, close to 90 clients come to God’s Gym for personal training from 49-year-old Gary Shields. Some clients lift heavy weights and work on their massive physiques. Others have more modest routines, toning or rehabbing injuries. The two-story storefront on the corner of Broadway and 25th Street is painted jet black from top to bottom. Images of two posed, flexing bodybuilders fill the front windows. One is a silhouette of Shields in his prime. Centered between the bright, bold white words of the gym’s name, is a painting of a buff, black Jesus breaking free of chains.

Read More