If Trees Could Speak… learning Faithfulness from the Redwoods

Esther Dahlstrom: third from the left, 2nd row, staff pic from 1967

A parable...sort of.After unpacking our things I'm eager to show my wife and oldest daughter the sacred ground that is my grandma's house at Mt. Hermon.  It's a very short walk down to Park Way, and hers is the first house we see.  I stand in the dusty gravel parking space and inhale.  The convergence of space, warmth of California redwood sap in the air, and flowers in the garden along the path to the door.  It's all still there, the same.I show my family, explain to them how this place … [Read more...]

Just getting on with it…

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This week I'm in the stunningly green English countryside with friends from around the globe who gather every four years general conference of Torchbearers.  It's difficult to accurately portray the power of what happens when 200 leaders from 27 Bible centers around the world gather in one room to pray, worship, study the scriptures together, and do business as they seek, each on their own unique setting, to make God's good reign visible through the power of the resurrected Jesus.Every day … [Read more...]

Shin Dong-hyuk: Lessons about radical gospel freedom, from Camp 14

 Shin Dong-hyuk is the only person known to have escaped from Camp 14, a horrific concentration camp in North Korea where the prisoners are incarcerated, not as individuals, but as families;  parents, grandparents, siblings, and children, are all arrested in an attempt to wipe out the scourge of rebellion.  They will work long hours on starvation rations and, if they're obedient, generally die by the age of 45.  Children are born inside the camp and live their entire lives there.  No … [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...]

What’s the Most Important thing in Life? Ask the Tree

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Something's going on in my backyard which has been immensely helpful in reminding me of what the highest priority should be in both my personal and professional life.  When we moved to Seattle 17+ years ago, we brought a California redwood tree with us that was, at the time, about 7 feet tall.  We planted it, along with several other big evergreen trees, in our backyard because my wife and I don't like yard work.  The best way to avoid such labor in the Pacific Northwest is to make your own fo … [Read more...]

Quitting Religion for Lent?

"I hate, I despise your feasts, and I take no delight in your assemblies.  Even though you offer me burnt offerings and grain offerings, I will not accept them; and the peace offering of your fattened animals, I will not look upon them"  Amos the prophetIt happens to all of us at times;  Events and moments which, in better times, would be pregnant with joy and meaning, are reduced to obligations.  "Off to church with you" your mind says, on a Sunday morning, and so there you go.  Singing; che … [Read more...]

The gift of a stone in your shoe (or, “How to build a better life”)

I'm running to the library on a Saturday afternoon because there's a book waiting for me there about the Grand Canyon.  The run will be 3.4 miles, and somewhere between the first and second miles a tiny stone found it's way into my minimalist shoe.  It's smaller than a rice-krispy, but the level of annoyance is out of proportion to the stone's size.  Even so, I ran on, feeling a mild pinch underfoot with each step, hoping it will go away on its own.I arrive at the library, procure my book an … [Read more...]

Instead of new goals for a new year…try this

I like goals that are measurable and have lots of them:  Ski 100k vertical feet in January (now objectively measurable courtesy of a nifty phone app), trim 15 seconds off jogging "per mile" time by the end of February, eat 5 servings of veggies per day (by far the hardest), be consistent in my reading, praying, journaling, blog at least once a week, finish book proposal.I'm close to throwing all these in the trash though, because I keep adding more and more goals to my life, and the end … [Read more...]


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