The value of trials – lessons from just below St. Helen’s summmit

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Stuff happens.  Job loss.  Marriage challenges.  Parenting that wearies you to the bone.  Accidents.  Health.  Money.  Wendell Berry says,"By expenditure of hope, Intelligence and work, You think you have it fixed; It is unfixed by rule"Life happens and it's the unexpected turns that reveal what we're made of.  This is a priceless gift, because if we're teachable, we'll adapt, adjust, and come back stronger.  Here's what I mean:The alarm goes off at 3AM and it doesn't take … [Read more...]

The Best Version of Myself… What’s the recipe?

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With vacation, a planned hike to the summit of St. Helen's, and a climbing project brewing that I'm excited about sharing later, I recently reread a book called "Bone Games: Extreme Sports, Shaminism, Zen, and the Search for Transcendence".  Rob opens with the story of his most desperate moment.  He's fallen, is seriously injured and stranded on a small ledge with hundreds of vertical feet below waiting to devour him when he tries to down climb - with his injury - in the dark - in the snow.  Not … [Read more...]

Holy Week – and the mysterious glory of our guide

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It happens every time I'm in mountains with people in better shape than me.  We start skiing or hiking or climbing and once we're in a rhythm on some steep uphill slope, they start asking me questions:  about family, faith, sport, politics.  They want conversation; I want to breathe!  They're faster than me, and I know that my presence is holding them back because when they say things like, "Yeah, when I was on Mt. McKinley for the fourth time last spring..."  I'm trying to ski up 800 vertical fe … [Read more...]

Keeping Sexual Issues in Proportion: This isn’t baseball – it’s faith!

Baseball was in the news last week and the lesson it offers us has everything to do with how the church and many within it view sexuality.  We desperately need to learn that being the people of God is a higher calling than being a sportswriter.  Unfortunately, it seems that much of the evangelical world doesn't yet know that, and as a result, there are lots of Christ followers on the bench, or worse, on the streets because they've been judged guilty of high crimes along the lines of John 8, with … [Read more...]

Wordless Sermon: Lessons learned from climbing with my son

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"First of all a good alpinist should be a good man and this is a really difficult goal to achieve, often a whole life is not enough." - H. BarmasseWith ten days left before his wedding, my son and I took two days out of our busy lives and climbed together.  It was supposed to be a whole family affair, but things happen and in the end it was the two of us, tied together on a rope, making our way up a few faces in the Icicle canyon of Leavenworth.Outside is what we do, what we've always … [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...]

All New “Life Chapters” require these 5 perspectives:

Summers are always times of great transition for some subset of the population.  On the young end of the scale, people are graduating, moving, getting married.  On the older end, children are leaving home, or it's a time of career change, or retirement.  Life is fluid enough that it seems new chapters come along with astonishing regularity, so that the only thing that remains constant in our lives is the reality that they're changing.Since that's just the way it is, I was pondering whether th … [Read more...]

The Covert Gnostics among us…and how to repent

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People who read blogs like this one are often people like me.  I like to live inside my head, so much so that there are days, (especially when I'm writing a book), that I never leave my chair.  On such days, when my imagination is running wild, and I'm using the building blocks of letters, words, phrases, to create something, I don't even notice my inactivity.  "It's good to think!" I tell myself, as I move from desk to kitchen, back to desk, back to kitchen, before finally, late at night, ma … [Read more...]


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