Plus Ultra

Dearest Rachel – No, honey, this letter has nothing to do with My Hero Academia, despite that anime making a catchphrase out of this Latin motto. I don’t know enough about the series to comment upon it; I may have been the first otaku in the family, but I know better than to get involvedContinue reading “Plus Ultra”

Return to Israel

Dearest Rachel – After visiting Bethlehem and the shepherd’s caves, we head back into Israel proper. While we never needed our passports (because isn’t it still Israel? I mean, there is no separate country of Palestine at the moment), it has all the feel of a border crossing otherwise. As we arrive at Nebe Samuel,Continue reading “Return to Israel”

This You Cannot Make Me Do

Dearest Rachel – The climax of Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol is the moment when Scrooge brushes the snow away from the tombstone of the ‘unknown’ man he had seen lying dead earlier in his travels with the Spirit of Christmas Future. It’s the turning point in which he realizes how worthless his life hasContinue reading “This You Cannot Make Me Do”

Our Dinner With Omer

Dearest Rachel – Omer’s home overlooks the cliffs of Gadara (the site, as I always say, of the original deviled ham), and the city of Susita, on the northern half of the Sea of Galilee. Basically, to hear Omer tell it, he can see where half the events of the New Testament took place fromContinue reading “Our Dinner With Omer”

One’s Soul For One’s Country

Dearest Rachel – When one thinks of things one would be willing to sacrifice one’s life for, thoughts tend to run toward the things one loves. If there is to be anything worth dying for, it would be (ironically) the things that make life worth living. Possessions rarely fall into that category, although some thingsContinue reading “One’s Soul For One’s Country”

The Value of Sacrifice

Dearest Rachel – It may have been last night’s game of Civilization between Kevin and myself, which, upon being joined on the line by Erin, I found myself explaining my mild fascination about history, and the great men (and women) throughout it that helped to sculpt the world into the shape it is in, forContinue reading “The Value of Sacrifice”

Spoiled

Dearest Rachel – For all the improvements to the house over the past few months, you would think I would be satisfied with everything, now that the dust has settled. But not necessarily; after getting myself dressed, and heading to the dining room to get myself a bowl of cereal to start the day with,Continue reading “Spoiled”

What Lamech Learned from Great-Grandpappy

Dearest Rachel – This letter, and the one preceding it, have got to seem to be a little strange to you, I’m sure. What are these about? Did something happen in my life that I’m trying to allude to in the most oblique of terms, lest I upset someone with murderous intent on me (orContinue reading “What Lamech Learned from Great-Grandpappy”

If You Seek A Devil…

…you’ll surely find one. Dearest Rachel – This isn’t the sort of letter I really enjoy writing, but it’s a frustrating situation I feel I have to share with you. You’ve heard me tell you plenty about Daniel, and the prophets and pundits he prefers to listen to over me or anyone else in hisContinue reading “If You Seek A Devil…”

Cultivating Karma

Dearest Rachel – There wasn’t much to remember about last night’s first dream, only a news item. Still, it was sufficient to take into consideration, and perhaps turn into an essay of sorts. It would seem that this fellow, whose name I can’t remember, and may never have been dropped (since it didn’t really matterContinue reading “Cultivating Karma”

The Way of the Wayward Son

You know the rules. Driver picks the music; shotgun shuts his cakehole. Dean Winchester (Jensen Ackles) to his brother Sam (Jared Padalecki), as they begin their adventure, in Supernatural Dearest Rachel – I never got into the series; it was something you would watch as you were doing your chores or whatever it was youContinue reading “The Way of the Wayward Son”

The Lifeline to ‘One’

Dearest Rachel – Along with Nightelf, whose tales of balancing personal life amid the chaos of being a professional academic, she was my inspiration for putting together this collection of letters to you for in the first place. She has a knack for taking mundane vignettes of her life, and making them amusing in aContinue reading “The Lifeline to ‘One’”

Take Him Out of the Ba’al Game

Dearest Rachel – Sometimes, I don’t know what to do or think about Daniel. Some of the views he listens to and believes seem so ‘out there’ that I wonder where they come from. I realize just about any kind of crazy idea can be found out there on the internet, but how is itContinue reading “Take Him Out of the Ba’al Game”

No Footprints

Dearest Rachel – It seems that I should write you about today’s (or rather, this weekend’s, since I get to listen to it three times over) sermon, because it hits fairly close to home, especially for the two of us. Not that it isn’t common to all mankind, but given where you are, there’s aContinue reading “No Footprints”

What Can I Do?

Dearest Rachel – So, last night we wrapped up Colossians in our Bible study. Joel had everybody go over what each of us thought was the most individually significant part of the last four lessons. For my part, what struck me was the last section of the third chapter, where Paul talks about various responsibilitiesContinue reading “What Can I Do?”

Little Nightmares

Dearest Rachel – So, last night’s study had us wrapping up the book of Philippians; you know the passage, the one about not being anxious, but rejoicing in every situation. I’ve always had difficulty with that, simply because I can’t keep from thinking of joy as an emotion, as opposed to an action (yes, IContinue reading “Little Nightmares”

Matin-tide Prayer

Father God – I know You heard my thoughts while I stood in the shower this morning. I wonder what Your thoughts were in return; were they along the lines of “well, it’s been a while, hasn’t it?” or “where have you been, My son?” as if you didn’t know. Time was, I used toContinue reading “Matin-tide Prayer”

Itching Ears

Because the time will come when people will not ·listen to [put up with; endure] the ·true [sound; healthy] teaching but will ·find many more [gather around themselves; accumulate] teachers who ·please them [meet their needs/desires] by saying the things ·they want to hear [their ears itch for]. 2 Timothy 4:3, Expanded Bible Dearest RachelContinue reading “Itching Ears”

The ‘All Right’ Lie

Hush… It’s going to be all right Dearest Rachel – It’s a lie that we tell our children. In the most extreme case at present, a Ukranian father has to tell them as he bundles them off with their mother; they are to head for the border and relative safety, while he must stay behindContinue reading “The ‘All Right’ Lie”

The Bitter Taste of Flavor-Aid

Dearest Rachel – I mentioned that the story of my conversion is ridiculously unremarkable; in comparison, it seems like almost everyone I know at church has a turnaround moment in their life that is leagues more dramatic than mine. Even you, while brought up in the church so as to have a faith-based anchor inContinue reading “The Bitter Taste of Flavor-Aid”

Aniki no Yuutsu

Dearest Rachel – So, yesterday morning, as part of the Sunday service, our worship pastor, Jansen, was ordained. It’s something of a requirement for pastoral staff and elders (as you well know, since I went through the same theological training in those last few years before your accident, although I wasn’t required to write aContinue reading “Aniki no Yuutsu”

Followers, Fans and Flings

Dearest Rachel – The message at church this weekend centered around the sixth chapter of John. The basic gist of it was about how Jesus was showing the crowds just how narrow the path toward salvation could be, and questioning whether they were willing to take it. Most weren’t. In fact, the mass departure gotContinue reading “Followers, Fans and Flings”

A Path Worth Following

Dearest Rachel – Consider this something of a post script to my last letter, because it had a number of questions that were left unanswered. Unfortunately, I don’t really think I last night’s event did much to address what ‘respect’ truly is, and why I would want it. Still, the pastoral team did mention thingsContinue reading “A Path Worth Following”

Getting A Jump On Notes

Dearest Rachel – There are times when I think I may have been part of a rollout test… but only in retrospect, of course. When I was in second grade (and an almost obnoxiously precocious kid), I would see my Dad heading off to serve as a leader in the church’s Awana club, and insistContinue reading “Getting A Jump On Notes”

Rich Fools

Dearest Rachel – I will always remember the story that you used to tell about your mom‘s father, who worked for the SEC in its early days. It was a fairly lucrative job as I understand it (working for the government often is), and most of his colleagues were both younger than him, and decidedlyContinue reading “Rich Fools”

Can We Say He Doesn’t?

Dearest Rachel – I know you expressed disgust for him when he was on trial, convicted and ultimately imprisoned; I don’t recall if you were around to see him released on a technicality (as I understand it, the prosecutor screwed up by bringing up accusations that were supposed to be off the table as partContinue reading “Can We Say He Doesn’t?”

A Prayer For Daniel

Father God – First of all, thank You for being willing and desirous for us to call You that. The idea that the Creator of the Universe is willing to consider us His children when we, as a rule, do little more than bring You embarrassment and regret that You even thought to create us,Continue reading “A Prayer For Daniel”

Moments of Perfection

Dearest Rachel – This letter is probably one of those that is going to sound like I’m going around the bend, and after more than 100 hours of confinement here, I suppose I’m entitled to being a little loopy. For what it’s worth, it all started with a dream, so you know it’s going toContinue reading “Moments of Perfection”

The Question of Elihu

Dearest Rachel – There are certain passages and characters in the Bible whose existence give me pause. I talked with you a few times when I was trying to put together scripts for a possible YouTube channel about the problems I always had with Manassah, who seemed to defy the wisdom of the Proverbs byContinue reading “The Question of Elihu”

Do You Miss Anyone?

Dearest Rachel – One of the reasons you were so concerned about your folks as they gradually moved into their twilight years was that – as far as you could see – their lives gave no indication of the salvation they supposedly had. Sure, they were in church every Sunday, and put their few bucksContinue reading “Do You Miss Anyone?”

Biden My Time

Dearest Rachel – I’m sure that you wouldn’t approve, I don’t feel like there’s anything I can do about it. Now that the house has been thoroughly cleaned out, there are so many more rooms Daniel and I can use. And use them we do; except it means that we’re rarely in the same roomContinue reading “Biden My Time”

Time-Released Time

Dearest Rachel – I think I remember your roommate (and eventual maid of honor) Elizabeth talking about how, when she was young, she would occasionally find herself scared sleepless pondering the concept of eternity. The idea of time going on, and on, and on forever without an end terrified her. What would you do withContinue reading “Time-Released Time”

How Much Will Be Carved Away?

Dearest Rachel – Occasionally, I will spot something or other left behind by Chompers that I have yet to give away. Kris took a number of things to give to her daughter (I think it was; it’s been well over a week since she was last by) to use with her own dog, but hisContinue reading “How Much Will Be Carved Away?”

Qualified to Suffer

Dearest Rachel – It seems like a very long time ago since I last felt this way, but there was a time when I thought life was good… too good. We were happy together, both as a couple and as a family. We had plans to enjoy this or that, and whatever problems we wereContinue reading “Qualified to Suffer”

Disc Golf

Dearest Rachel – It’s a little hard to keep up with these letters to you out here in the mountains, especially when we’re outside doing stuff all the time. It’s why I tried to prepare a few letters beforehand to go out to you while I’m out here. Yes, there’s Wi-Fi at the lodge, butContinue reading “Disc Golf”

The Point of the Tree

Dearest Rachel – I have a lot of questions for God. And this is despite the fact that I know that I have no more right to ask them that Job did. Actually, probably considerably less right, given that even God himself referred to him as ‘righteous,’ which most likely could not be applied toContinue reading “The Point of the Tree”

What Does This Say About Us?

A ·good [righteous] person can look forward to happiness,but ·an evil person can expect nothing [L the hope of an evil person will perish]. Proverbs 10:28, Expanded Bible Dearest Rachel – It wasn’t all that long ago that we were, in fact, looking forward to happiness together. So many of the things that cause most people to struggle inContinue reading “What Does This Say About Us?”

To What Purpose?

Dearest Rachel – It has been a while since I last identified myself as such, and probably even longer since someone else has, but the other day, I was told that I was “task-oriented.” Now, that’s not news to me; in my many struggles with my boss back in the day, I often brought upContinue reading “To What Purpose?”