Monday, September 30, 2013

Why I'm An Anglican XI

 Because We Honor Scripture, Reason and Tradition!

Bishop Eric Menees

This is the final reason in this series of why I am an Anglican. This is not meant to be an exhaustive examination.

You'll remember, from your catechism class, what is often referred to as the "three legged stool" of Anglicanism. What the teachers were referring to is what is generally attributed to the Anglican theologian Richard Hooker... the three legged stool of Scripture, Reason, and Tradition.

Hooker wrote The Laws of Ecclesiastical Polity in the sixteenth century, providing direction and theological foundations in a time of confusion as the Church of England was seeking her identity. Hooker embodied the Anglican ethos that honors the universal and historic realities of the church and the reform that became necessary.  That ethos is often summed up with Scripture, Reason, and Tradition.

Now that being said, I'm not a Hooker Scholar, but I think that the notion of a three legged stool was not Hooker's, and he'd probably be aghast at the notion.  A three legged stool images three equal legs, but Hooker did not say that these were equal in authority. What did Hooker say? "Be it in matter of the one kind or of the other, what Scripture doth plainly deliver, to that the first place both of credit and obedience is due; the next whereunto is whatsoever any man can necessarily conclude by force of reason; after this the Church succeedeth that which the Church by her ecclesiastical authority shall probably think and define to be true or good, must in congruity of reason overrule all other inferior judgments whatsoever." (Book V, 8:2)

Rather than a three legged stool, I envision a ladder built upon the three steps of Scripture, Reason, and Tradition:

Scripture - the Word of God, that contains all things necessary for salvation (Article 6), is the foundation upon which everything else is built.  Scripture is God's self-revelation - literally God Breathed - "All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, 17 that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work." (2 Timothy 3:16-17)

Reason - the God given ability to use our minds to recognize and understand, on some level, the Word of God and God's revelation in nature. God has given us the ability to think critically about Him, and about ourselves.

Tradition - while Hooker does not specifically use this term, it makes sense to me in this context. While God has given us, individually, the ability to think critically, He has collectively given us the ability to receive the Word of God, and to be the Body of Christ in the world. The revelation given in and through the Church has changed the course of history, and, by the power of the Holy Spirit, transformed and saved billions of souls.

These are the reasons among many others that I am proud to be an Anglican Christian.

Friday, September 27, 2013

Archbishops Welby And Duncan: The Future of Anglicanism Contrasted

Fr. Dale Matson

Recently both Archbishops spoke about the future of Anglicanism. For Archbishop Duncan, the talk was primarily about the future of Anglicans in North America under his leadership.
Archbishop Welby talked about the future of the Anglican Communion under his leadership.

As someone who navigates his way in the wilderness, I set a way point on my GPS at a known location before I begin. This allows me to find my way back as I begin my mission. It is interesting that both ++Welby and ++Duncan use ‘way points’ from which to navigate the future. ++Duncan used Scripture in general and this verse in particular as a means of orienting his pilgrims. “But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light.” (1st Peter 2:9, ESV) This is the ACNA missiology.

++Welby referenced the Lutheran theologian “Dietrich Bonhoeffer’s ideal of the Church as ‘Christ existing as community’ as his guide.” He also pointed to the second paragraph of a 1963 statement of the Toronto Anglican Congress.
The final sentence states, “They prove that the ideas, the pictures we have of one another and of our common life in Christ, are utterly obsolete and irrelevant to our actual situation.” The final paragraph of section IV states, “In substance, what we are really asking is the rebirth of the Anglican Communion, which means the death of many old things but-- infinitely more--the birth of entirely new relationships. We regard this as the essential task before the churches of the Anglican Communion now.”

Is this really the starting point? Is this the context the leader of the Anglican Communion will use to orient; to begin the future? ++Duncan sees things differently. While ++Welby believes that Christ exists as community, ++Duncan would say that the community exists in Christ. “Jesus is the Life, and the Way and the Truth.” In his homily on “How It Holds Together”, He laid a foundation on Jesus Christ. His anthropology was based on church tradition. “We are under the Word of God. Our ancestors wrestled with what it means to be human. We need to pay them heed [my emphasis]. What has happened in 2,000 years matters to us.”

++Welby noted that the issues of the church needed to be examined through the lens of theology, anthropology and ecclesiology. Who is the God we serve? Who are we? What is the church for? He answered the last question by saying that the purpose of the church is growth through reconciliation. He did not answer the former two questions he posed. ++Duncan used the traditions of the church, particularly the creed, to state that the church is “One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic.” ++Duncan’s comment on the work of the church was, “We are converted individuals, multiplying congregations, fueled by the Holy Spirit.”

To be fair, ++Welby’s Skype talk was only about eight minutes but he seems to be reaching for a starting point. For ++Duncan, it was obvious that his starting point was with Jesus Christ. “What holds it [the local church] together? What is our coherence? How would you make sense of us? It all holds together in Jesus Christ.”

++Welby noted, “We have a vocation to bring people together.” ++Duncan noted that we have tools that hold us together. “The Word of God, The Book of Common Prayer (the Bible arranged for worship), our new Catechism” He noted that it is lengthy but that is because we are living in a post Christian society.

It is interesting to me that Archbishop Justin is apologetic to the modern culture about the traditional Anglican world view and Archbishop Robert believes a desperate and pagan society is clamoring for what we have to offer. Both have a similar mission as leaders. ++Welby and ++Duncan want unity. Each is using different way points. One sounds like someone from human resources using reconciliation and one sounds like a bishop using truth.

Friday, September 20, 2013

Why I'm An Anglican X

Because We Are A Three Streams Church!

Bishop Eric Menees

So far, I've said that I am Anglican because we are: 1) Biblical, 2) Liturgical, 3) Sacramental, 4) Evangelical, 5) Rational, 6) Episcopal, 7) Ecumenical, 8) International, and 9) We Are A Three Streams Church!

What do I mean by a "Three Streams Church?" Generally speaking (and recognizing that books could be written on the subject), this refers to different styles of worship and theological emphases. These three streams are Anglo-Catholic, Charismatic, and Evangelical. I find it remarkable that our church embraces these three streams, and yet remains one church. This is not to say that we are without our challenges, but overall these three streams work well together, and can be found in each diocese (the Diocese of San Joaquin included) and province of the church.
Anglo-Catholic: Typically, this stream embodies a high church form of worship using liturgy as an evangelical tool. Seeing and participating in the majestic worship of the ancient church leads us to an experience of the divine. Anglo-Catholics place a heavy emphasis on the real presence of Christ in the Sacraments, and they deeply honor the way that the Lord has worked through Holy Tradition and continues to unfold his redeeming work through the Church.

Charismatic: Anglican Charismatics usually emphasize the experience of God through the power and gifts of the Holy Spirit. Charismatics place heavy emphasis on an individual's openness to being filled with the Holy Spirit and to exercise the gifts which God desires to anoint all Christians with. Anglican Charismatics argue that God the Holy Spirit is alive and well, and is performing his miraculous works daily. For Anglican Charismatics, the church that is open to the movement of the Holy Spirit is the church that embodies what it means to worship God in the fullness of faith.

Evangelical: By in large, Anglican Evangelicals embody the reformed aspect of our church. Heavy emphasis is placed upon a personal and saving relationship with Jesus Christ, and therefore they see personal evangelism as the primary responsibility of the church. The church is necessary to live out the faith, but a person may come to faith outside of the church. Among Evangelicals, the Bible is the primary source of God's revelation and He is present in His Word!
All three streams desire essentially the same thing: for people to come to a saving relationship with Jesus Christ and to live out our lives as His obedient disciples. Most Anglicans are not purely any one of these streams, but rather exhibit two or three of the streams in their worship and ministry. For example, Bishop Keith Ackerman--our upcoming clergy retreat leader--embodies all three streams in his worship and ministry. As president of Forward in Faith North America, he is associated with Anglo-Catholics. Yet, when I hear him preach, he places strong emphasis on the Word of God and a personal saving relationship with Christ which exhibits the gifts of the Holy Spirit.

As I travel around the diocese, I rejoice in seeing these three streams working in tandem with one another. I believe that we are a richer diocese, province, and communion because we experience the fullness of the Church and her faith in these three streams.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Don't Sweat The Small Stuff

Fr. Dale Matson

In 1956 Al Feldstein became the editor of Mad Magazine. At one time I owned every 25 cent issue of Mad Magazine. The cover boy for Mad was a fictional character named Alfred E. Neuman. Feldstein told the artist to portray Neuman as follows, “I want a definitive portrait of this kid. I don't want him to look like an idiot—I want him to be lovable and have an intelligence behind his eyes. But I want him to have this devil-may-care attitude, someone who can maintain a sense of humor while the world is collapsing around him.” I adapted and used that portrait and that was the beginning [of Mad Magazine]” Alfred E. Neuman always had the phrase, “What, me worry?” underneath his picture. I always attributed his attitude of no concern to being clueless so I was wrong.

The late Richard Carlson wrote a book called Don’t Sweat The Small Stuff: And It Is Small Stuff. (1997) He stated, “Often we allow ourselves to get all worked up about things that, upon closer examination, aren't really that big a deal. We focus on little problems and blow them out of proportion. ... Whether we had to wait in line, listen to unfair criticism, or do the lion's share of the work, it pays enormous dividends if we learn not to worry about little things. So many people spend so much of their life energy "sweating the small stuff" that they completely lose touch with the magic and beauty of life.  Ask yourself: Is there any way I can become even more loving than I am? Can I fill my heart with more loving kindness? Can you, despite the fact that there are less than perfect people in our world, think loving thoughts about yourself and about others? Spread that love around as far as your mind will allow!” I would add to that, put the best construction on what others say and do. Don’t take things personally. Today, there is a common phrase we use. We have borrowed the phrase, “No worries” from the Australians.

I must publicly confess that I suffer from a chronic case of the “What ifs”. I asked Sharon recently, “Why is it that I am bothered by the little things of life?”  Why is it that I obsess about things over which I have no control, things that don’t really matter in the long run and about being failed by others so often? Why aren't people more dependable? Why is my peace and contentment so fragile and transitory? Sharon’s response was, “It’s not easy on those of us around you either.”

As I reflect on this, there are four things that come to mind. The primary issues are obsessive ruminating, impatience, mistrust and abundance. Often, our strengths are also our weaknesses. For example, I am very good at setting goals, pursuing, and accomplishing them with a single minded focus. What I call focus, others might call obsession. Obsessive thoughts that are pleasant comfort me. The “Prayer of the Heart” (Jesus Prayer) comforts me. Changes in training (fooling the body) increase conditioning and strength but threaten the psychological solace of a routine pattern. Training can become simply a comfort ritual.

The problem arises when there is a negative obsessive thought. It can dominate both the thoughts and feelings. They are uninvited house guests that I house and nourish and compose future scripts for. Let go, let go, let go! Stop thinking about what you will say or should have said and just drop it. It’s such an ego thing.

Patience is not a natural disposition. Patience is a fruit of the Spirit. (Galatians 5:22) I have been impatient most of my life. Once again, this is another feature of the ego setting goals. Getting closure can become pathological when the desire to accomplish things means premature closure. It means manuscripts submitted for publication replete with errors and friends who feel prodded and bullied. On a large scale impatience contributes to disasters like the explosion of the Challenger. Sometimes problems even fix themselves given more time.

I have difficulty trusting others. How often have I been let down by someone who has promised to do this or that? Sometimes I inadvertently help the disappointment by imposing too strict a deadline or standard. In short, I have never found the Godly ground between too high an expectation and no expectation of others. With my dysfunctional family background it seems like my prime directive for friendships is that they be dependable. Where is the grace in this? Is the bar set too high? Stop setting others up for failure. Stop judging them when they fail. “I told you so” is not the response of a gracious person. “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths.” (Proverbs 3:5-6) If only.

Finally, I confess that I am much more like the rich man in the story of “The rich man and Lazarus. Most of what I worry about is quality of life issues. For me, God has allowed a high quality of life. This past week is typical. Our automatic garage door opener needed to be fixed and we have been waiting days for the repairman. I have to be home in the middle of the day to assist people who will be installing solar panels on our house. The list goes on but it is too embarrassing to continue. I am continually inconvenienced by my many conveniences. Don’t sweat the small stuff.

“Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.” (Philippians 4:8, KJV) 

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Why I'm Anglican IX

Because We're International
Bishop Eric Menees

So far, I've said that I am Anglican because we are: Biblical, Liturgical, Sacramental, Evangelical, Rational, Episcopal, and Ecumenical.

In May of 2012, I was blessed to addend a FCA (Fellowship of Confessing Anglicans) meeting in London, where the international flavor of Anglicanism - which had always been theoretical to me - became real. How powerful it was for me to have dinner with the Archbishop of Chile, the Bishop of Iran, and a Bishop from Uganda. We shared a meal together, prayed together, and spoke of our faith in Christ. As we did, it became clear that while we came from very different cultures and backgrounds, we shared the same Christian Culture - based on a common understanding of Christ, the Church, and our Mission in the world.

We have the evangelical spirit of the English Reformers to thank for our international flavor and expression - for a truly catholic (universal) church. In short, where the English Navy and economic traders went, the Church of England went also. This missionary zeal took extra focus with the formation of the Church Mission Society in the eighteenth century, under the leadership of many evangelicals, not least of whom was William Wilberforce. In a short time, the CMS began to focus on Africa and India. They then focused on the South Pacific, including Australia and New Zealand. Today, millions of men and women have come to Christ through the efforts of those original missionaries and their successors.

However, the focus was not only calling individuals to conversion, but also engaging the culture, with the intention of transforming all of society. This engagement of the culture is meant to Christianize the culture by injecting moral values which we want to see present, whether or not everyone is Christian. William Wilberforce's leading of the church to engage the sin of forced slavery is an example that affected people in England, Africa, and the entire world.

In short, Anglican missionaries struggled and sacrificed to humanize and affect the culture through Christian morality in the education, health care, and legal systems. Unfortunately, this heritage is currently being challenged from within, by liberal Anglicans who argue that influencing culture with Christian morals, education, etc., etc., is oppressive. I say "hooey" to that line of thought, and point to the amazing ministry, at great personal cost, that is being carried out day in and day out around the world by modern Anglican missionaries.

I love being a part of a church that speaks as many languages as exist on the earth. A church that expresses her love for Christ in hundreds of different cultures, but all with a similar church-culture and style of worship based on the 1662 Book of Common Prayer. Last Sunday, while I celebrated Holy Eucharist in Porterville, a similar and familiar worship was offered in Lima, Toronto, Nairobi, Sydney, Calcutta, Vientiane, and Singapore.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Reflections On The Funeral Of A Senior Saint: RIP Bill Hughes

Fr. Dale Matson

Bill Hughes (December 8, 1931-August 29, 2013) was a member of our congregation (St. James) for fifty years. During that time he served in almost every capacity available to a lay person. He would have celebrated his fifty ninth wedding anniversary later this month. He and his wife Joyce had a son and daughter and two grandsons. He was a Korean War Veteran and worked for the same company (New England Sheet Metal) for over 50 years until his illness necessitated leaving. He was also in leadership positions in professional organizations in the sheet metal industry. As they say, “The cream always rises to the top.” Bill was diagnosed with cancer last August and had been under treatment. He lost his battle and passed on within hours of being admitted to hospice care.

Of course this is more about his life than his death. Bill is another example of a life lived for Christ and a race well run. His life was a living Epistle as St. Paul would say. Our church air conditioner could not “catch up” on a hot Fresno day and we ran out of bulletins. These were also a testament to his many friends and family. Bill’s last assignment at our church was head usher. This is a tight fellowship and they were all in attendance. Bill had recruited, trained and supervised all of them.

Bill wore a surgical mask for the last months of his life because of a compromised immune system brought on by his cancer treatment. I thought about it every time I offered him Christ’s Body during the Eucharist. He was taking a risk but the importance of the Eucharist for his spiritual life superseded his life in the flesh as he fought his battle with cancer.

As each year passes, there are less people like Bill. He and his generation is the end of an era. We are losing so many like him now. How many people make a career of one job? How many people remain in one marriage for nearly sixty years? How many people remain in one congregation for fifty years? There is a Godly quality listed in the fruits of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22-23), that emerges. It is faithfulness. Faithfulness is the hallmark of the true Christian life.  Faithfulness also means fidelity, as in marriage. Bill demonstrated a lifelong commitment to those things God had provided. He loved his family, his church and his vocation.

We will miss you my brother but as we say in our prayers of the people, (Rite I, page 330) And we also bless thy holy Name for all thy servants departed this life in thy faith and fear especially Bill Hughes, beseeching thee to grant them continual growth in thy love
and service; and to grant us grace so to follow the good examples of all thy saints, that with them we may be partakers of thy heavenly kingdom. Amen


Saturday, September 7, 2013

A Time For Prayer

Fr. Dale Matson

“This evening, I ask the Lord that we Christians, and our brothers and sisters of other religions and every man and woman of good will, cry out forcefully: Violence and war are never the way to peace!" Pope Francis

“Syria’s faithful Christians have suffered for many months.  We are reminded in Hebrews 13, “Remember those who are in prison, as though in prison with them, and those who are mistreated, since you also are in the body.” I am calling the Anglican Church in North America to pray for protection for the Syrian Church, relief for those who are suffering and wisdom for the international community as they consider how to respond.” Archbishop Duncan, Anglican Church North America

I humbly cry to You O Lord, restrain those in positions of power. Give them ears to hear the voices of those who seek peace. Let the cries of Your people be heard who are weary of war, violence, persecution and suffering. Give those involved in conflict hearts to negotiate. Protect the innocent and keep them from harm. Instill leaders with humility and patience. Give Your people hearts to pray and fast. Restrain the use of power and force in a futile attempt to punish others. Lord, find a home for those who are displaced; who have no place. Silence those who call for war, for bombs, for death. Give all Your people hearts of compassion and mercy. Let Your people see the good in others and embrace their right to live in peace and prosper. Lord, Let justice clothe herself in patience and wisdom gird herself with mercy. Amen

“Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God.” (Matthew 5:9)  

Friday, September 6, 2013

Why I'm Anglican VIII

Because We're Ecumenical

Bishop Eric Menees

So far, I've said that I am Anglican because we are: Biblical, Liturgical, Sacramental, Evangelical, Rational, Episcopal, and Ecumenical.

Allow me to unpack what I mean by Ecumenical. A quick dictionary search tells us that the term Ecumenical comes from the Greek οκουμένη "oikoumene," which means "the whole inhabited world." When I think of “Ecumenical,” I think of the Ecumenical Councils which took place between the fourth and eighth centuries, and which brought the church worldwide together to make decisions regarding faith, doctrine, and polity.

Unfortunately, with the split of the Western and Eastern Church, and then the many splits since, when we refer to "ecumenical," we are referring to denominations coming together to work in unity with a common mission for the spread of the gospel of Jesus Christ. I believe that is essential, both for the spread of the gospel and for the goal of the reunification of the church, so that we can truly be a catholic (universal) church!
We work ecumenically with other like minded Christians for the kingdom and, in doing so, fulfill Jesus' words from the gospel of Matthew: "And many false prophets will arise and lead many astray. And because lawlessness will be increased, the love of many will grow cold. But the one who endures to the end will be saved. And this gospel of the kingdom will be proclaimed throughout the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come." (Matthew 24:11-14 ESV)

I should clarify here that Ecumenical and Interfaith are NOT synonymous - though many mainline denominations seem to think so. We can work cooperatively with men and woman of good will who are not Christian, to be sure. However, this does not mean that we change our standards or make accommodations to work with other faiths. Interfaith dialogue on issues of faith are important to gain an accurate assessment of their thoughts and beliefs, but those discussions should be followed up with a clear invitation to accept Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior.
As members of the Anglican Church in North America, we have been so blessed to receive succor and support from so many Christian brothers and sisters from other denominations. When I first left the Episcopal Church, it was the kindness of Pastor Mike Law and Community Christian Church in San Marcos, CA, who offered us a place to meet, which allowed a new church to be birthed. In the Diocese of San Joaquin, we've benefited from the Baptists, Lutherans (Missouri Synod), Assembly of God, and many other denominations, who have reached out to us in love and concern.
Ultimately, as Anglicans, we embrace Ecumenism because we desire to be reunited on the common belief that Jesus Christ is Lord!

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

"Under God" In The Pledge Of Allegiance

“The state Supreme Judicial Court will begin hearing arguments this week in an atheist Acton couple’s quest to strike the words “under God” from the Pledge of Allegiance their children say in the Acton-Boxboro Regional School District. The couple’s suit, filed anonymously on behalf of their three children, goes to the SJC tomorrow, with a pair of Washington, D.C., activist organizations taking part in the proceedings.”

The pledge was written by a Baptist Minister Francis Bellamy and did not include “Under God” until the final of several revisions.

I was a fourth grade student when “Under God” was added to the pledge of allegiance. There were 48 stars in our flag at the time. A history of the pledge is here.
I do remember including it, being a bit awkward initially.

President Eisenhower signed the bill to add “Under God” into law in 1954 and stated "From this day forward, the millions of our school children will daily proclaim in every city and town, every village and rural school house, the dedication of our nation and our people to the Almighty.... In this way we are reaffirming the transcendence of religious faith in America's heritage and future; in this way we shall constantly strengthen those spiritual weapons which forever will be our country's most powerful resource, in peace or in war."

We began every school day with the pledge at U.S. Grant Elementary School. The school has since been torn down and is now an empty lot. We also began every school assembly in the gym with the pledge and the Lord’s Prayer. I don't remember any students who remained sitting during the pledge but there may have been some who did not recite it. The U.S. Supreme Court ruled in the early 1940’s that Students were not required to recite the pledge or even stand for it since it was a “compulsory unification of opinion” and ran counter to the first amendment. This was the result of Jehovah Witnesses who initiated the court case believing that loyalty to the flag (which symbolizes our country) is a form of idolatry. In a sense, they are right.

I can remember some of my teachers actually crying when they would say the pledge with us. I also remember seeing a copy of the Ten Commandments on the wall of my Government Class in High School. In the local theaters we said the pledge before the movie began. I supposed it will only be a matter of time before “In God We Trust” is removed from our currency.

The phrase “Under God” came from the transcribed version of Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address. “…that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom, and that this government of the people, by the people, and for the people, shall not perish from this earth.

Something happened along the way, although I have no issue with the courts insuring that no one is forced to participate in a ceremony that may offend them but something has been lost. However, not participating is no longer enough of an individual protection. It is simply easier to make an activity illegal.  A culture swept free of religion is one that is also swept free of meaning, purpose and vision. “Where there is no vision, the people perish: but he that keepeth the law, happy is he. (Proverbs 29:18)

I am part of the last generation of those raised in a Christian culture. I pray for the children and grandchildren. They will be living in a culture that is both pagan and hostile to those of the Christian faith.


Sunday, September 1, 2013

My Favorite Fresno County CA Mountain Hikes

The Cover Photograph is Kearsarge Pass Looking West

Fr. Dale Matson

Often my civilian and clerical lives merge. As a cleric there is a kind of prophetic mindset. By this I don’t mean future telling as much as stating what is obvious but hidden. I don’t mean this in a critical sense either because it is all too easy to distort the prophetic role into that of a critic or simply a grumbler. The older we become, the easier it is to do this. At my age one has to be intentionally positive.

 It is obvious to me, that most of the world, including Fresno County California residents, is not aware of the beauty that lies hidden in the mountains and wilderness of Fresno County. Much of this beauty is found along the wilderness trails of eastern Fresno County. We have become a nation that drives to beautiful places. The places I am referring to are not accessible by automobile. John Muir understood the importance and the need for humans to spend time in the wilderness. There is a twofold effect of immersing oneself in the wilderness. We need to be freed from the distractive white noise of civilized living and once again attune to and reacquaint ourselves with the primitive sounds and smells of the wilderness. Once we have ‘acclimatized’, we have eyes to see and ears to hear once again. We are not blocking things out. We are taking things in.

I wrote this book to share what I have discovered in Fresno County California with those who are not familiar with her rugged beauty. It may seem odd to some that the combination of rock, trees and water can be so varied and wondrously beautiful. The primary purpose of this piece is to pass on beauty that is difficult to access and rarely shared in color in a digital format or black and white on the printed page. It would be too costly to produce a color version in paperback.

I am thankful that my health and fitness level allow me at the age of sixty nine, to continue to take on the effort required to find and experience the mountain passes that I am sharing. There is an emotional lift to reaching these high places where most will linger to chat with other mountain pilgrims. This work then is both educational and a sharing of the beauty that I have been able to capture in photographs. I hope others will be attracted by the beauty and see first-hand for themselves. I have offered suggested routes which are rough guidelines that are not intended to take the place of detailed maps. A wilderness permit from the agency that controls the entry point is required for all wilderness travel that requires an overnight stay.  For those of you who are unable to travel the trails, this is an opportunity to see the beauty from your chair. Someday it will be the same for me.

“The mountains are calling and I must go.” John Muir.

The book is available on Kindle now in color and will be available in paperback sometime this week.