Thank you for visiting!

You are invited to read Marcus of Abderus and the Inn at the Edge of the World, the first novel in my fantasy adventure series. Visit the Edge of the World! Come for the view, stay for the adventure!

Sunday, April 26, 2009


This week I decided to go to Wintergrasp. In Azroth the realm of Wintergrasp is found in Northrend. Azroth is the imaginary world that is the home to the Role Playing Game called the World of Warcraft. Northrend is one of the three known continents in that imaginary world.

I spend a bit of time in Azroth every week. I love the game.

Wintergrasp is a zone in perpetual war even greater than the general state of war that exists in Azroth. Periodically the Horde or the Alliance will attempt to take the main keep in Wintergrasp, and gain dominance over the zone for two and a half hours.

I fight on the side of the Alliance.

Most players are better at player-versus-player combat than I am. I have largely played a game of exploration and cautious warfare against characters that exist in the game. So, why Wintergrasp?

Largely because I had not tried it, and have completed exploring the world of Azroth. So, I went there. I found within the keep a number of turret weapons mounted on the walls. This was something I could do! So, I waited for the next battle, and tried my hand at defending the walls.

It was a lot of fun. Watching for the enemy coming toward the walls. Lobbing rounds at their war machines and warriors. Seeking a point of advantage that had an available weapon, and trying to stop the advance of the Horde.

I am still not particularly good at player-versus-player warfare. However, I can lob explosive rounds with great delight. So far I have done pretty well.

Who knows? I might get good enough to go out into the field and do something other than dying repeatedly.

That sounds like some real fun!

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

The Shack-

I recently completed reading The Shack, by Wm. Paul Young. It is a tale of spiritual renewal, and comes at a time when I am seeking renewal of my own spirit. It is the tale of a man meeting with God, and obtaining a much needed healing. I found I could relate with the protagonist on many levels.

Having experienced Multnomah Falls and Lake Wallowa, two of the locations in the Pacific Northwest where the story takes place, I was drawn into the story quite deeply. These are places of great beauty, and I recommend them as special places to visit. The writer shared details that brought back some fond memories, and gave the tale a context of reality for me.

There are some theological criticisms of the book out there on the Internet. They are not without merit. However, this is a novel, and as such not held (I should think) to stringent theological standards. Additionally, it is presented as an individual experience with God, and not presented as normative.

Other than the normal bruising of life, the protagonist Mackenzie Phillips suffered the brutal loss of one of his children. This is a catastrophic bruising of the spirit, a deep breaking of the heart. As a consequence of this loss Mack suffers from guilt and depression, and is in need of healing.

The loss of the child through a brutal kidnapping and murder touched a nerve with me. I am of a vindictive nature, so this hit me hard. Most people (or so it seems to me) experience sympathy for victims and focus on helping them. I do experience sympathy for the victim, but my first thought is dealing with the perpetrator. I long for vengeance as well as justice. It is neither a wholesome nor biblical attitude.

Mack did not respond quite that way, but he fell into a great sadness as a consequence of this terrible event. It is the healing of Mack's heart that is the heart of this book. He had to learn to forgive and to love again, beginning with his relationship with God.

Forgiveness is also a difficult thing for me, and so this book pointed me back to that weakness within myself. It is another thing I must deal with in seeking my own healing and renewal. Forgiveness cannot wait on those being forgiven to repent and make good their failure. Real forgiveness is a difficult thing to master, and that challenge is well presented in this book.

A lot of elements of Christian experience were dealt with in the telling of this tale, far too many to list right here. For some readers this book might help resolve some of their own difficulties in their faith, redefining aspects of their Christian experience. Others may be compelled to seek the truth through Christianity. Though this book is about a Christian having his faith renewed, it can also serve as a tool for evangelism.

I did have an "Aha!" moment when reading this book. When Mack was somewhat flippant toward God regarding God casting people into Hell, God challenged him in a way that was revelatory. God required Mack to choose which three of his five children would go to Hell. Ultimately Mack was freed of this decision, but I believe that in the context of the story it was a very real challenge.

While the righteousness of God and divine justice make Hell a just end for the unrepentant person, I had never examined what this might mean from the perspective of God. He loves His children, and Hell is a great price to pay for their rebellion. The Shack helped me see a bit more of the depth of God's sacrifice and the great cost of sin.

Again and again Young returns to the importance of relationships in God's purpose for His people. Practice and performance pale in comparison with relationship as central to God's purpose for His creation. It comes down to more a matter of being than doing.

This being aspect of relationship was illustrated quite nicely through Mack's interactions with God. While Mack's journey toward healing was not painless the growth in his relationship with God as presented in the book had some moments of great warmth and beauty. It made me more conscious of relationships as a critical aspect of the outworking of my faith.

I would consider The Shack a catalytic piece of literature. The reading of this book can be the beginning of changes in the reader's life. It is not so much informative as transformative. It is an experience worth having, in my opinion. The cost is small, just the price of the book and the time to read it.

Who knows what the benefits might be? There is only one way I can think of to find out.

Highway 395-

I just completed a Google Document project, a virtual tour of Highway 395. This project had several goals. First was to learn how to use Google Documents.

I found Google Documents to be a positive experience. I could work on the document on any Internet connected computer. I did not have to haul the document around on a thumb drive, email it to myself, or otherwise do much of anything. I started, edited and maintained the document on Google.

It is easy to share, as well. I have an Internet document, accessible to other Google users. If I wanted to I could open the document to modification and editing by other Google users.

The interface is easy to use, and adequate to my purposes.

My second goal for the document was trip planning. I hope to travel highway 395 from the deserts of California to the border between Washington and British Columbia, either next year or the year following. This provided a nice planning tool. Not all of my planning is in the document, but it is a beginning. A dream, and a plan.

My third goal was to share the document. I am doing so through the link at the top of this blog. Contact me via email or comment to gain access. If you have feedback regarding the document, the idea or any other aspect of realizing this dream, feel free to comment here and share your thoughts. I hope to email some friends and family as well, and involve them through my blog and this document.

My final goal was to work on integrating my blogging and the planning of this trip. I wanted to use the various tools and learn to use them better.

This was a fun and interesting project. I believe that using Google Documents allowed me to build my dream of travel, explore use of Internet tools, and share my dream with other Internet users. I suspect that this is just the beginning.