Safety: Vice or Virtue?

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My friend Christian died in the Austrian Alps this past spring, caught in an avalanche.  Jane Larson was struck by a falling rock in July and is alive and healing, but it could have gone either way.  Spend enough time in the mountains and you'll begin to compile an "in remembrance" list of those who died young.  The rest of us who venture out all have "almost" stories, enough to write a book, because to go high in the moutains is to move to the realm of uncertainty.  You can mitigate the risk to … [Read more...]

The Path… why we desparately need silence, solitude, and paying attention

a simple overnight can teach life changing lessons

My daughter and I are going up into the high country, but we'll be taking the road less traveled.Instead of parking at a trailhead and following a line on a map, we'll be walking up, behind the chalet we purchased nearly one year ago with a vision of offering hospitality, space to hear God's voice, and a sharing of life in a mountain setting with guests.  This way of getting to our destination offers no line on a map - just word of mouth, unused and overgrown roads and subtle paths which, if … [Read more...]

Two mountains, one choice. Choose Wisely

"...I have set before you life and death, the blessing and the curse.  So choose life in order that you may life, you and your descendants, by loving the Lord your God, by obeying His voice, and by holding fast to Him..."  MosesOn labor day I went for a stroll with my wife and youngest daughter up in the Cascades.  We were on the famous Pacific Crest Trail for a few miles (and met a wonderful man who had been hiking on it all the way from the California/Oregon border to our location over 450 … [Read more...]

What are you wearing today?

Warning:  No chicken sandwiches were eaten, or boycotted, in the production of this blog post.  I love this little bit in Colossians 3, which reads: "put on (or 'drape yourself with') a heart of compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience."  The author goes on to declare that a community clothed in these will be quick to forgive and also won't be inclined to pick at each other over every little thing (which is the meaning of 'bearing with one another').  It's a wonderful word picture … [Read more...]

Imagine: The Importance of Envisioning a Different World….

The authors of "Colossians Remixed" write:  If with Christ you died in your baptism to the principles of autonomous consumerism that still hold the world captive, then why do you live in a way that suggests that you are still in the iron grip of its ideological vision?  Why do you submit yourself to its regulations to consume as if there were no tomorrow, to live as if community were an impediment to personal fulfillment, to live as if everything were disposable, including relationships, the u … [Read more...]

the danger of saying: “I just do what the Bible says…”

"I just follow the Bible" is a potentially ridiculous and dangerous thing to say.  If you've heard of the crusades, the travesties of colonization and land theft, the unholy wedding of violence and the name of Christ, you'll know why.Take, for example, Ezra 7:26 where King Artaxerxes says: "Whoever will not observe the law of your God and the law of the king, let judgment be executed upon him strictly, whether for death or for banishment or for confiscation of goods or for … [Read more...]

Summits, Self-Denial, Discipleship – a symboiotic trinity

the vision of summit is the fuel for self-denial

One climbs, one sees.  One descends, one sees no longer.  But one has seen.  There is an art of conducting oneself in the lower regions by the memory of what one saw higher up – Rene DumalI’m on the plane, having left a week of wonderful teaching and fellowship in Southern California as I return, refreshed and sun drenched, to the wonderful work I’ve the privilege of doing in Seattle.  The work, as most of you know, is the work of shepherding the flock – and as I finish my sermon on th … [Read more...]

What’s in Your Hands today? The Joy of Letting Go

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I'm always intrigued by the stories of mountains in the Bible because so much that's transformative happens among them, or at their summits.  Encounters with God in the mountains are nearly always time of transition:  From this....to that.  We're between two mountains when Moses says that each one represents a choice that is yet ahead: life or death.  Then he shouts "choose life" to the whole nation before dying.  We're on a mountain, with Jesus, when we see him transformed into the essence of gl … [Read more...]


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