Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Perspective 4000'

Lake Clark covered in ice fog
There are several reasons why I like flying; one is experiencing the simply incredible scientific phenomenon of flight itself. It is, well… Phenomenal. The other is the perspective that it gives you. They say sometimes you miss the forest for the trees, but I think sometimes in Alaska it’s more like missing the mountain range for the mountains.

Tanalian Mtn.
Here in Port Alsworth you can see a number of mountains but most of the view is just the one that looms overhead known as Tanalian Mountain. But this past weekend, Mark brought me with him on a trip down to Naknek. In a matter of minutes after taking off with his Cherokee Six we leave the Alaska Range behind us, fly over Alaska’s largest lake, across seemingly endless flats, and find the ocean. I’ve seen it all on maps before, but there’s nothing like seeing it all from the air to help you really understand the terrain.
I will not deny, that a botanist who gets down on his hands and knees with a magnifying glass and studies the tundra that I am flying 4000 feet over at 160 mph will also see the nature of God reflected in his creation, but I also believe there is a time to step back and remember what we are looking at.
I have spent entire semesters at Multnomah Bible College focusing on single books. The pages of Jonah and Ephesians are a little extra worn in my bibles and I have gleaned incredible life changing truths from them. But now my knees are sore and my back is tired and I’m itching to fly. I want a fresh perspective. What is this book that I’ve spent my life studying really about. How does the Story flow? How does each book build on the others? Who are the main characters? What is the plot? Who are the heroes and who are the villains? What character do I get to play?
The Alaska Range
That is my task for the next 3 months, to gain some altitude, get a better view, see the sights. And the best part is that I don’t have to do it alone. Eric and myself have been having a blast as we begin the process of looking over what we will teach the students at Tanalian Leadership Center this year. And while Eric and I are more equipped, I expect it will be more like asking the students to join us on an exploration adventure than it will be teaching them what we’ve learned.

We bought a roll of paper 18 inches x 1200 feet so we can record our progress on the journey and always look back to see where we’ve been. The length of the paper, however, does not limit the potential for adventure, and I have a feeling that if we ever come back from this one, we will not be the same.