I grew up in a religiously and historically diverse region of the western US, which proved to be a major influence that shaped my life. Remnants of mining towns, Native American culture and language, old houses and photographs, antiques and quilts, stories people told of their families – all conveyed history’s influence on the world around me.
In places I have lived, there were people of European, Japanese, Chinese, African, Mexican, Native American, Indian, and Vietnamese descent. I attended churches of the Presbyterian Protestant denomination, but have family and friends who are Catholic, Episcopalian, Baptist, Mennonite, Mormon, Jehovah Witness, Jewish, Buddhist, Hindu, and Muslim. Many of these people, in telling their stories, convey how the history of their families, of where they came from, and their spiritual beliefs have influenced the world around them and their lives.
I came to see that our lives are stories, that history is our stories. I came to love the stories I was taught in Sunday school and Bible classes, as I came to understand how God uses these stories to communicate with us, and to accept the Spirit’s revelation through the stories of the historic reality of Jesus’ life, death, and resurrection. I longed to understand life from the perspective of those in the stories.
This led me in college to study anthropology, old world archaeology and history, comparative religions, and US history. These in turn led me to develop an interest in the sciences, which reveal a history of forces that influence us as people, though we may not be aware of them.
And I developed a desire to share my love of history by telling stories. From an early age I began to write stories set in the past, of people and places I longed to experience. In college I traveled in the US, Israel, Greece, Italy, Germany, Austria, and Egypt, visiting places where some of history’s stories were lived. Later I completed a secondary education teaching certificate, taught briefly in public schools, but now teach in church settings to fellow Christians who also long to better understand the roots of our faith and how history has shaped what has become the church.
‘Wilderness Refuge: A Prophet’s Kingdom’ is the first story in my exploration of the New Testament’s context from the perspective of people of the 1st century. It grew out of my longing to understand the social, political, economic, cultural, religious, and other realities of the time, so as to better understand the context of Jesus’ life and message, to share with readers the insights this understanding may bring.
For me, this understanding has deepened, clarified, and strengthened my faith in Christ, enriched my relationships – with Christian brothers and sisters and those who believe differently from me – and continues to spur my exploration of the stories that make up our lives, now and until whenever history may itself come to an end.