Saturday, September 22, 2012


As he so often does, Henri Nouwen provides a challenging, practical way to live.

"Compassion, to be with others when and where they suffer and to willingly enter into a fellowship of the weak, is God's way to justice and peace among people.  Is this possible? Yes, it is, but only when we dare to live with the radical faith that we don't have to compete for love, but that love is freely given to us by the One who calls us to compassion."

As I endure this political season with so much clanging noise/anger, so much talk and so little substance, I realize how easy it is to be distracted from Christ's reminder that "what you to do to the least of mine, you do it to me." Our response to His unqualified love must be to use our own hands and time serving others, not letting someone else do it for us.

Mt Emily Recreation Area, OR

Norse Creek Wilderness, WA

Nosu classroom, China

Saturday, September 15, 2012

love never ceases

Meg and I had to put down Dakota, our fourteen year old golden retriever last Tuesday.  The decision was exceptionally difficult, but necessary.  His leaving was sweet, as Meg and I lay close to his head while the vet administer a strong anesthetic while Dakota rested outside on our driveway. What so deeply affected me during his last days was the incredible love he has given us.  We were the center of his life; he craved our attention and returned it with total devotion. I wish I could love my neighbor as Dakota loved me; I wish I could make God the same center of my life.  Yet despite my failings, I know that God, through giving me/us his son, Jesus Christ, loves us each so very deeply, so very tenderly.

“It is true that there is nothing too great for God’s power; and it is just as true that there is nothing too small for His love!”    Rosalind Goforth

Cape Meares, Oregon coast

Saturday, September 8, 2012

God's Mercy

"In the world of the Bible, the real explanation for the force shaping the course of things is gathered up in one radiant word: mercy. Creation in its entirety is a work of God's love and though it is fractured by every sort of strife, it cannot escape the gravity of mercy.  God's mercy fills the earth (Psalm 35:5). Mercy is the deepest quality of God's love, the most stunning, unexpected evidence of God's generosity, the most enduring commitment of God's sovereignty.... Flexible and strong, mercy is capable of bearing sorrow's weight and of supporting every honest effort to build new life."
                                                         John S. Mogabgab

Seven Devils Mts in Idaho, taken near Hat Point, OR

Whale Island, Ohope Beach, North Island, NZ

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Hiking the Pacific Crest Trail in the Norse Peak Wilderness

The Pacific Crest Trail traverses the Norse Peak Wilderness in Washington state through some of the most beautiful country my hiking companion, Bob, and I have traveled. Of the thousand or more miles of the PCT that we have hiked, this section does indeed, like its namesake, run close to the actual crest of the Cascades. We started at Chinook Pass which lies at the northeast boundary of Mt Rainier National Park and hiked north. We absorbed many views of this mountain as it rose above the trail.  The trail rarely varied more than five hundred feet, and we enjoyed many views of open park like basins. The meadows were rich with colors--green grasses and wildflowers of every imaginable color: yellow, white, blue, purple, red, pink, and many hues in between. Wildly joyous is the best word I can think when describing the mood of our hike!

Basin Lake

Pacific Crest Trail, south from Chinook Pass

Mt Rainier above Crystal Lake

Basin Lake from the PCT

Leaving the parking lot at Chinook Pass

We dropped down to Basin Lake at the far end of the trail

Sheep Lake

Saturday, September 1, 2012

God's mindfulness and relationship with us

As I hiked on the Pacific Crest Trail in the Norse Peak Wilderness of Washington state this past week, I was deeply humbled by the infinitude of God's Creation and His relationship to us. In the billions of galaxies with their billions of stars, I am scarcely a mere blade a grass. Whether I live one day, or one hundred years, my life is not even an eye blink of eternity.  Yet God knows me, and each one of us. The whole Biblical revelation tells us that this omniscient God of this mind boggling vast universe loves each of us with an infinite love. "God showed his great love for us by sending Christ to die for us while we were still sinners." Romans 5:8. God's greatness is certainly in the majesty of his infinite creation, but His greatness is equally and  awesomely shown in His justice and mercy and mindfulness to us, His mere mortals.

Mt Rainier, Norse Peak Wilderness

Norse Peak Wilderness