Category Archives: Conversion – Sailing Without a Map

Artificial Light


Arizona MapTomorrow, in Phoenix, Arizona, it is forecast to be nearly the same temperature as today.  What does that mean?

Based on the history of weather in Phoenix, you can pretty much count on a sunny day.

Amount of Sun

How much sunshine does a city get? The % Sun number measures the percentage of time Sunshinebetween sunrise and sunset that sunshine reaches the ground. These amounts are yearly averages based on many years of weather observations.  For Phoenix…85% of our days are sunny…and partly sunny…296 of 365 days in Phoenix are lit by the sun in heaven.

Living in Phoenix, a person comes to expect sun as the normal state of life on planet earth.  We have HOT sun in the summer…and COOL sun in winter…we don’t really know what COLD is like.  COLD is impossible on a sunny day.

The sun…light…natural light from above…we take it for granted…as if it always has been, is Daisynow, and ever will be.  We forget.  Without light, life would cease to exist.

Jesus was announced as more than The Truth and The Way.  Jesus, above all, is The Light, the very source and foundation of life as we know it.  Life exists because Jesus exists.

Again Jesus spoke to them, saying, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness but will have the light of life.”  [John 8:12 NRSVCE]

This claim of Christ made more sense to us in the days before Thomas Edison gave us Daisy Fieldincandescence light in all its 20-40-60-100 watt varieties…bulbs, flashlights, LEDs, and florescent tubes.  Awash in artificial man-made light, it seems inconceivable that we would need God to shine on our field of daisies.  Inconceivable…but not impossible.

God’s Light?  It requires faith, the kind of faith birthed in humility…the humility that knows Edison’s light Pilgrim Backpackmay help us see our way up to the front door…but that Edison’s light will never help us find our way through life. Edison’s light will never BE the WAY.

Living in Phoenix, Arizona, with 296 days of sunlight each year, it can take a long time for a person to understand the difference between real light and artificial light.  At least…that’s how it happened for me.

LOOKING FOR SIGNS OF LAND…for years I had been free-sailing, floating where ever the currents and storms of life might take me, grabbing the wheel whenever I wanted.  Now I knew there was a better way…a truer way…to live life…if only I could figure it out.  I was now quite certain that land existed.  But where?

In my faith journey, I finally had the Light.  But I didn’t have clarity.


If you are just joining the journey…




Copyright 2014.  All Rights Reserved.

All the Things that Don’t Exist

Just getting started, it would take years to complete the list of all the things that don’t exist:

RCIA FormMickey Mouse
Forrest Gump
…and on and on…
and God?

I wonder.  We love Mickey Mouse, Bambi, Forrest Gump.  Even when they don’t really exist.

But why, if He doesn’t exist, do we have such a hard time loving God?

Mickey MouseIf we encounter people talking about Mickey Mouse, we’re likely to pull up a chair, sit down and join the Mickey Mouse Fantasia conversation.  Oh, yeah!  I got to shake his hand at Disney Land when I was a kid.  And did you see his first movie Steamboat Willie?  I think, actually, though, my favorite Mick flick was Fantasia.  Fantastic it was!  And we’ll invite other people to pull up their chairs so’s we can hum a few bars of symphony and move our hands like the advancing army of mops and brooms chasing Mickey down the stairs.

But if you want to sit in a restaurant and talk about God, you’d better lower your voice.

Bible Reading Praying HandsMost people want to sit at tables far away from people, their Bibles open, who are engaged in God Talk.  And it’s just actually ridiculous when these fanatics bow their heads and pray at the beginning of their meal.  In a public restaurant, even.  I mean, what’s with them?  They think they’re so good.  Better than everyone.  Can’t they keep that stuff to themselves?

We love people who love Mickey.

On the other hand, we’re suspicious of, if not downright hostile toward, people who love God…and God’s son Jesus.Crucifix 9

If God doesn’t exist, and if he’s not real…if he’s just a figment of the vivid imaginations of  over-wrought people…why does it matter to the rest of us so much that He’s out there…in the world…where we might bump into Him now and then?  If God doesn’t exist.




Copyright 2014.  All Rights Reserved.


Heaven or Hell

October 29, 1999

The first time I heard our daughter yell at me in anger, there was nothing to do but laugh.  At that early age when children are learning language, our kids were prone to grab at words and Child Angrytry them out.

With all the rage a three-year-old could muster, she pulled herself up by her shoulders, squeezed her eyes tightly and shouted, “I don’t blame you!”  It was not what I expected.  If her words missed the mark, her body said it all…”I don’t like you!  I don’t love you!  I don’t want you!”

So much like us grown-ups, her explosion of anger was raw and honest, still untamed by Fistadult civilities to be learned.  Riling against a big person who thwarted her demands, she was so very much like us grown humans, civilized, but rebellious underneath our good manners, people who harden our hearts, clench our fists and rebel against God:

I don’t blame you!

I don’t love you!

I don’t believe in you!

But our rebellion is a human contrivance, fed by pride and ultimately irrelevant in determining the truth of our existence.  As we are made in God’s image, it is impossible to pass through eternity forever Trail Forestrefusing to know God.  He listens and watches us.  He holds the ultimate knowledge as our parent that we will soon return to Him and we will know Him!

The path to either our Heaven or our Hell is a single earthly trail, a journey that depends on our willingness to submit as a child to the surrounding  world of mystery and the Eternal Love that desires to possess us.  In finally arriving at the door on the other side of our journey, we will have eyes to see Him…to know Him…and we will be fully able to remember our earthly choices, knowing at once the depth of our sin.

Hell is our own creation made when we choose separation from our Creator, and thus from our own creation.  The ultimate separation is a hard refusal to know Him, refusing to open our hearts and minds to an Existence beyond our control.  I don’t Trail Sky Endknow you!  I don’t want you!  This is the ultimate hell at the end of a chosen path of rebellion.

We are not gods.  We are children.

We will either reach out for our Father’s hand, or we will wander aimlessly and eternally, lost in a solitude of our own making.



Copyright 2014.  All Rights Reserved.

Half of What I Am Now

March 1980

It is quite interesting to reflect on how fluid the human mind is.

Wedding RingsTen years ago I vowed that I would never marry. Men did not disgust me, but it seemed an unnecessary contrivance. Now, I am happily married. Vic and I would be just as happy unmarried, I am sure. But the contrivance was necessary for family peace.

I had never planned on children. Now, my daughter is napping at her grandmother’s house. She is a joy, and she was completely planned.

At ten years of age, I didn’t understand why my father didn’t go to church. I don’t think I really enjoyed going myself, but it seemed the right thing to do. Church Simple

My high school friends introduced me to the Mormon religion, and that pushed my religious fervor into high drive. Mormonism seemed the perfect way for life, and it was all my mother could do to postpone my membership without pushing me to join out of youthful rebellion and retaliation. All of this seems like the life of a stranger to me now, as I find it impossible to conjure up the emotional commitment to a God I no longer acknowledge.

Absent God, I do think about the possibilities of mental telepathy and extra-sensory perception. But there was a time for me, not too long ago, when these ideas were nothing more than hocus-pocus.

What is required for succeeding in life?  When I taught school I rewarded every student equally with a check mark. It didn’t matter that their sentences were nonexistent or that the spelling was like a foreign language. I finally quit teaching because it was Heaven on Earth Forest Gloweasier than trying to enforce some kind of proficiency which would result in failing half of my students.

Today, I feel so confident that I have sifted through all of the muck and have chosen every worthwhile philosophy for my own. But if history holds true, ten years from now…I should expect to be only half of what I am now. The change will come. The only question is from which direction it will come. Either the John Birch organization or the Communist Party is due to have one more member.

Currently, a major philosophy of mine says that none of this matters anyway. I will die, and the world will know nothing of my internal struggles to separate truth from fiction. As long as I have personal Mother Teresa Rich Quotecomfort…mental peace…the path I follow is irrelevant.

All right. That idea makes me feel peaceful. I must be on the right track.

But finally this weekend, I heard someone effectively give voice to that persistent thread of discontent that has been running through all of my Hug Twin Babieslaisse-faire attitudes.




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A Romantic Notion

May 13, 1979

What a beautiful day!  Taking a break from morning sickness misery, I drove with Vic up to the 4-H camp, trading dry desert for cool mountain pines.

Tree Pine ForestOn a backwoods cutoff to the camp, Vic took us through scenery so beautiful that it made the worn and rutted road almost unnoticeable.  Spring rains had carpeted the hills with waving velvet grass.   Tall pine trees were bursting with boughs, heavy with bright green needles glistening under the high sun. Spring Tree Pine Boughsnow runoff had turned the normally chalky brown dust to a rich spongy brown, the dark mud  accented by sparkling patches of white snow, the last of a late spring cold spell.

Every turn in the road revealed a springlet of water running down a trail of mud and rocks, eventually to culminate in a mini-lake in some mountain or hillside valley.  Where the ground was more level, the Tree Snow Meltwaters settled in patches of tall grass looking like a series of misplaced swamps.

The slightest breeze kept a steady balance with the gentle rays of sun.  I waited for a chill in my spine to prompt putting on my gold fuzzy jacket, but the weather must have sensed how soothing the surroundings were, and out of sympathy for a body needing soothing, decided to deliver perfection.

Overhead, the sky was one vast brightly tiled floor that had just been washed and waxed.  To think I had even considered substituting a Sunday of work for this wonderful journey!Clouds Blue Sky

A romantic notion sprang to life.  In all my searches for meaningful work, even the most lackluster of jobs (waitressing, cashiering, ditch digging, filing, cleaning) gained immeasurable desirability if the job could put me in touch with serenity and solitude…the cool breeze, the chirping and scurrying of untamed animals, the wide expanse of the outdoors.

Never before had I foreseen a day when I could willingly trade in the big city supermercados, convenience Ks, swift roads, crowded neighborhoods, matched houses and yards, and intense shopping…all that…for the loneliness of small towns and secluded homes.

The drive through the forest was soon over.  The lure of the cities is ever-present.  But it no longer can hold its own against the lure of wordless conversation held in high mountain solitude, nurturing in my spirit a hidden nature…suggesting I was…and am…more a part of the raw ground and green canvas than any structural steel beam.

Forest Meadow



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