Hello World

Dear World,

I’m back! It seems like I’ve only been gone for fifteen minutes, but that’s silly because where I went there was no time at all. It was wonderful! Leaving this time zone really helps put a perspective on current events. If I allowed myself to watch TV at all it was only movies that took place in the nineteen-thirties or forties or nature documentaries. So one day, when they talked about Leviathan at a church service I had just watched a program about schools of fish and the whole underwater world. It was a terrific coincidence.  I finished reading Uncle Tom’s Cabin which plopped me into the 1850s and Twain’s Joan of Arc which plopped me into the fifteenth century. From those books, I learned that as bad as the news is today and as excited and hysterical as people get about it, outrages are simply quid pro quo!

World, sorry about this, but you always have been a mess and I suppose you always will be. When one thing gets better, something else falls apart. Too bad! So, if you don’t mind, I will stay in you as I must because I have a mission to accomplish, but now I can see more clearly just what Jesus meant when He cautioned us not to be of you.

My new year’s resolution is that I will not let your news people and other semi-ignorant and deceived audiences pull me into their wars, fears, and hatreds. I think you all did fine without me and I think that if this is the way you want to run your life, well… I feel sorry for you.

Fortunately for me and my other aspiring immortal friends, we live in two countries at the same time. In my homeland, every last person has the best healthcare, is wealthy, can receive an excellent education, and is 100% protected from enemies! What more could a soul ask for?  Our King (no elections to fret about) is honest, dependable, and very intelligent. To know Him is to love Him. You are so different from each other, but I know that you get glimpses of my homeland and don’t seem to be too impressed. Too bad.

World, don’t worry about losing me entirely just yet, because I love my family and my friends so much, and they live in your countries. Even if I didn’t have a mission at all, I’d want to stay here for as long as I can, to be with them. I want to teach them about my homeland and hope that they can come live with me there forever.

Just writing to let you know that I am back. Keep in touch, but don’t get too close, you’re infectious and I don’t want to get sick.



Echoes from the Third World

Last week I visited Greece, an ancient place where the bones of my ancestors lay still waiting for Jesus to return and fly them home.I am not different from my ancestors, except that I experience the efficiencies of computers, cell phones and airplanes, indoor plumbing and electricity; all those things that did me no good at all last week at the beautiful but primitive family beach cove on my grandmother’s island.

The roads I travelled, that ran up and around dry and dusty mountains, were made for the feet of donkeys and men not automobiles. So as often as possible I walked them rather than experience the fearful threat of tumbling down a precipice in a metal can on rubber wheels.

There was a time when I thought that my mission was to build small cells on a five-acre parcel of land that I called God’s Green Acre. In those cells I wanted aspiring immortals to come freely to be alone with the Lord, the Wonderful Counselor, the mighty God to listen to Him for guidance away from the distractions of their own homes and the dubious guidance of human counselors. I was forced to abandon that mission and left God’s Green Acre kicking and screaming. Meanwhile the value of going to a small holy space away from the noise of this world has become increasing clear. To listen for the Lord’s wisdom and guidance, particularly in times of pain and conflict, but even in good times requires separation from one’s dusty world.

Last week I saw my mission realized by others in a beautiful way. Aspiring immortals have salted Greece not merely with churches, cathedrals, and iconic posts along roadsides but also with hundreds of chapels where anyone can spend time with invisible angels and saints, portrayed by icons to pray and to receive counsel from the Holy Spirit. These are the special places where we sheep learn to hear the voice of the Shepherd.

My favorite chapel was erected on top of a hill overlooking the crystal blue Aegean Sea and a mountainside blanketed with gnarly olive trees. It was dedicated to the Prophet Elijah. The story goes that a woman spent almost all of her money to purchase the property on this hilltop. With her own strength she carried rocks about two miles up from the sea to honor Elijah in solidarity with Christ. Many years ago a great fire engulfed that hillside. The fire was so devastating that planes were sent from Athens to put it out. Some people worried that the chapel would be destroyed, but alas that did not happen for the small chapel built by faith was protected from the destructive flames and stands today as a welcoming beacon of holiness.

I never met anyone in the chapel of Elijah or in any other chapel I visited but evidence of the presence of brothers and sisters was clear as the olive oil lamps were almost always lit and there were abundant supplies for worshippers, to tend the oil light, to light candles, and to light incense that their prayers may float up to God’s nostrils on wafts of sweet smelling smoke.

Thank you Greece for reminding me to come away from the world; to listen for the echoes of the invisible holy immortals, and the clear voice of God that instructs us in the way we should go.

Olla Kala (o.k.). (It’s all good.)

Hoping in Wonderland

In a week or so I will go back to Greece, isn’t that wonderful? I really mean wonderful. I wonder about how many zillions of different places and conditions there are on this little planet and how they are always changing with time. How does God keep up with it all? But He does!


I am going this time with a very specific purpose, to take my sons there and leave them. For a while they will explore the land and the peoples of their heritage. They will listen to the strange language that they have only learned in snippets from me and other Greek Americans and they will be forced to learn how to speak Greek to communicate their needs, just like my grandparents had to learn English to communicate with the Americans when they first arrived a little over a hundred years ago.  I hope they will see how differently the Greeks think which is reflected in the way they express themselves. I earnestly hope they learn Greek that much.


I hope that the living spirits of my grandparents will be with them on this journey as they were with me when I first went there as a teenager. I wish I could go there for the first time again. Instead, I will hold their hands and introduce them to this and that, and to him and her, and then I will disappear.


I will be invisible to them, but I will probably not be silent. Most of my grandparents left their own parents once and for all when they left their country. Telephones hadn’t even been invented. They were explorers and settlers in this very strange new land.


I love how reality can change in an instant with travel and with time and how that reminds me that someday and forever our reality will be on the new earth with days of darkness, hatred, fear, illness, and poverty way behind us in time and space. God makes it so easy for us to imagine that world; it’s a pity more people don’t make an effort to prepare to go there. Oh well, different travelers have different agendas I suppose.


May your week be holy and peaceful. May Love fill you and shine the Way before you. May you see millions of stars at night, the clear sun all day, and may your immortality be assured. Yassou Too.

World Hopping

No sooner did I begin to explore the kingdom of God within than my Boss assigned me to go on a journey to the northern ends of this old and gorgeous earth, that is the Orkney islands of Scotland.

So, here I am walking and riding beneath a gigantic umbrella of a sky decorated with an ever-changing cloud display, listening to angels hearts gush out songs, mesmerized by the views of mine eyes. I am here reminded why most people have no room within for other kingdoms.

To love this earth and these flowers and these people so much, and to contain the place of the eternal refuge from death is to need long legs. Long and muscular legs. Legs that can leap from planet to planet, that sometimes touch down on both together. Who but a gymnast would aim for such fancy dancing?

While here I read that saintly Celtic gymnasts from eras long forgotten considered time to be a gift of God, like beloved nature.

A gift! I wondered, thanking them for the seed of thought. I considered time to be a shrewd criminal, even an enemy that gives, then steals precious moments, holy moments and situations, that rips apart lovers, especially babies and toddlers from those who adore them. Which justifies such felonies with an occasional healing.

A gift you say o brother and sister of old? a gift? Out of respect I shall tiptoe behind your eyes to catch a glimpse of your gift.

Time is an element of nature, brother says. It is all a gift from the busy spider-weaving webs to clusters of blubells that ring silent songs while swinging from their long green stems and sipping life from large luscious leaves.

Nature, every ounce of it, every dark and light, moving, breathing, flying, fighting, loving, majestic, humble ounce of it so entertains us, so consumes us that the other kingdom hides as hard to find, hard

to believe, hard to live in,

demanding kingdom,

timeless kingdom,

natureless gorgeous kingdom,

breathless kingdom,

deathless kingdom.

What kind of explorer would forsake home for this unknown? Are we aspiring immortals brave or are we lunatics? Ha-ha! We could also ask ourselves if nature's  death is worth conquering.

Journeys offer what parlors and cozy beds never can.

Thank You for the shimmering, amorphous gift of Time, and all that it carries in its zillion pockets, but thank You more for an explorer's heart and the sparsely populated, lumnious, peaceful kingdom of God. How the Orkneys and my Shapinsay try to show me eternity with its long light days, spacious, barely populated, peaceful, watery ends of the old earth. Yes, I could live here forever.

The City of God

Dear Aspiring Immortal,

Last weekend I flew southward, away from my frigid home town. On Saturday I found myself sitting in a landscaper’s re-creation of Portofino, Italy in summery Florida. Real palm trees helped form a convincing make-believe Italy with concrete molded statues and buildings decorated by tromp d’oeil paintings. My happy foursome enjoyed an eight hour reunion at a pool side scene, a make-believe dock scene, and the Bar American scene. Actually, since we were last together my friend Zoe remarried, so one of us was new. Zoë’s deceased husband Skip Walker was a great artist and a good friend of mine from art college. Skip contracted cancer and left his body many years ago, maybe ten. I don’t know how long and it doesn’t matter, especially to him. Her now husband is an economics professor who taught us much that afternoon.

My new friend Jim explained to me why I should be more concerned about the economy than even the badnews casters’ reports lead me to be. We shouldn’t be spending so much deficit money. Money is being fabricated from thin air; our Federal Reserve is storing cotton. The more of this play-money we send into the world the thinner the bulwarks become that protect us. If you think evil is nothing more than a nightmare some people conjure up to scare others, or if you think it is just an attitude that can be overcome with proper debate then it is easy to become vulnerable to it.

The day after that sobering talk I went to the airport. The airline counter attendant could not upgrade us because the flight was full. In jest, I told her that people were probably flocking to DC to tell Congress to stop the foolishness. That was enough to open the floodgates. She said that she had loved this country but wasn’t proud of it anymore. In her mind we were rapidly losing the spirit of free enterprise that made us a great nation.

I wanted to tell my new friend and the attendant to live well and be patient for the land of immortality, the City of God. The City of God is real. No one will be admitted who doesn’t believe it exists and who doesn’t recognize its Leader.

There is a river whose streams shall make glad the city of God,

The holy place of the tabernacle of the Most High.

God is in the midst of her, she shall not be moved;

God shall help her, just at the break of dawn.

The nations raged, the kingdoms were moved;

He uttered His voice, the earth melted. Psalm 46

So many empires have collapsed and so many civilizations have evolved since Adam and Eve decided to not trust God. Watch what is happening even if this generation sees the collapse of the beautiful representative democratic idea, because of power grabbing humanity. It really doesn’t matter how the civilizations fell. What matters is resting in God and reflecting His image. What matters is that the City of God is perfect because the source of power there is pure good, pure God with His truth, love, and beauty. Aspiring immortals live there in our hearts and do all that we can to create a make believe City of God here, like Portofino in Florida.

Jeremiah 17:7-9

7 “ Blessed is the man who trusts in the LORD,
And whose hope is the LORD.
8 For he shall be like a tree planted by the waters,
Which spreads out its roots by the river,
And will not fear[a] when heat comes;
But its leaf will be green,
And will not be anxious in the year of drought,
Nor will cease from yielding fruit.

Dear aspiring immortal friend, never fear. Our Lord is with us.



Time Traveling in Greece

Because of my quest to live on the future planet of immortality my Boss, in His infinite wisdom, thought it best to fling me over to the site of ancient Greece, the intellectual icon of the pre-Judeo-Christian world. I knew better than to complain about being sent to the past instead of the future but I mumbled something about needing a little more than three days notice next time. He heard me (of course) and reminded me that the trip to the new planet will occur with NO notice at all, so if I was a serious candidate, I’d better figure out how to prepare faster. “Practice,” He said, “was exactly what I needed.” I smiled while mentally checking off my to-do list.

I promised that I would tell you why I was sent to Greece when I found out. Apparently I was sent to represent a man’s father and uncle at his wedding, to climb a mountain for him and his future children, and to thank an old woman for something she told me twenty-five years ago.

Being visible is not everything. Even invisible immortals those whose first flesh ceases to encase them still live among us, help us and use us. Together we wait for the land of immortality to be ready, each of us in his or her realm. I have a group of about one hundred invisible aspiring immortals for whom I regularly ask God to bless. I know these people are alive and they know I’m alive. Two of them have the same name, my grandfather is one and his nephew is the other. They both wanted to be seen at the wedding and so I suspect that they asked God to send me in their stead.

On the day of the wedding, I was lead to the foot of a hill that is the highest point in Athens to make a pilgrimage to the hilltop church for the couple and for their children. A pilgrimage is more than a hike in that during the pilgrimage the hiker connects with God for a particular purpose. I hoped that my fear of heights, by adding to the sacrifice of this vertical trek, would empower my prayers to break through hostile celestial territory.

When I finally reached the top I passed an open door on my way to the front of the Church of Saint George, which just happens to be the groom’s name. My joy of arrival turned sour when I found the church doors locked so I walked back to the opening to see if someone would let me in. A very competent guard dog rushed over to me followed by a beautiful old woman with heavenly blue eyes. I asked if I could light a candle and she replied that the church would reopen in about an hour. I explained that my mission was urgent and couldn’t wait. So she lead me to the front door of the church and with her magic key let me in. A gaggle of tourists followed close behind us. Inside, I explained more to her about the urgency of my mission as the older couple were desperate to produce children (the male of which would be given the same name as the men who sent me on this mission.) She was clearly a woman who could appreciate a good challenge and enthusiastically volleyed with her own recent miracle. About to die with a high fever, she beseeched Saint George to intercede for her life. Her prayers were followed by a gushing vomit, and then her health was totally restored. Still reveling in our like mindedness, the old woman asked if I wanted a large candle and I assured her that this mission called for extreme measures because the couple was so old. In agreement, she fetched a 5 foot high candle, the likes of which I had never seen! I wondered how I would get that candle in the small sandbox. Together our hands guided the candle in multiple gyrations and we finally set the tall candle in its place.

A candle sacrifices wax to illuminate even as a soul sacrifices its own substance to overcome darkness. To light a candle with purpose is to transfer the sacrifice (i.e. wax) and love (i.e. light which overcomes darkness) of the candle to a prayer. Sacrifice and love make things happen. I am convinced that on that mountain top church of Saint George two new children were conceived in the mind of God.

Two days later my long-time dream to return to our ancestral village came true. Twenty five years ago when I was last there my family went to the village church one Sunday morning. Immediately after the liturgy some women approached and asked if we would come to their homes for lunch. We went to the home of Mrs. Z where her children and grandchildren were gathered. Mrs. Z was clearly an aspiring immortal. She took my young hand, lead me to her iconostasis and with a piercing look Z commanded me to recite the 51st psalm daily. Then we went back to the parlor for tripe soup and a group picture.

I have proudly displayed that picture all of these eventful years next to photos of my family and friends. This picture of young me between my baby boy in the arms of Irene, my little girl held by her husband, surrounded by one big loving Greek family always represented the ideal family to me. The photo has been especially comforting since so much of my own family is deceased or childless and isolated. But more than that, in reciting the 51st Psalm daily I have connected through the life of David to God in a very real and holy way. “Have mercy upon me O God...Thou shall sprinkle me with hyssop and I shall be clean, Thou shall wash me and I shall be whiter than snow... The bones which Thou hast broken shall rejoice...Take not Thy Holy Spirit from me. Restore unto me the joy of Thy salvation and steady me with a guiding spirit. Then I shall teach transgressors Thy ways and the impious shall be converted unto Thee... Thou hast loved truth, the unclear and hidden things of Thy wisdom Thou hast made clear to me... Create in me a clean heart o God and renew a right spirit within me”. I believe that the command of Lady Z lead me to landing this job as God's writer-friend. I wanted to thank her.

So before the trip I took the photo and Xeroxed it. In the village I showed the photo to the woman manning the handicrafts store who sent me to the geological museum. From there another woman lead me into a narrow alley way. When we stopped she looked up to a window and shouted at the top of her lungs for someone to come down. I suppose another ethnic group invented the doorbell. Once inside and settled the family-of-the-picture one by one emerged. I kept asking for the old woman and they repeatedly assured me that she was still alive and would come to see me. They called Irene in Athens and we chatted away trying to close the gap of these many years. Irene too had a copy of the original picture and looked at it often. It was so good to be reconnected.

Finally the moment I awaited arrived when the old woman emerged. I was so relieved to see her that I thanked her before another moment passed for the command about the 51st Psalm. She didn’t know what I was talking about, couldn’t remember telling me that, but was determined to continue her role as my apparent spiritual guide by instructing me to make the sign of the cross as widely as possible across my body to ward away any possible evil spirit that may try to enter my heart and soul. I smiled and wondered if that could possibly be as effective as the psalm and figured I’d give it a try. After more exchanges of love, I went on my way grateful that Lady Z was still alive and suspecting that she always will be.

Having gone from the present deep into history, then forward to the recent past, then back to the present, then onto the future, only to quickly return to the near past and present has truly been a dizzying experience, but one well worth the rides. An aspiring immortal can only focus on the future just so much!

The Good World

You’re not going to believe this, but my Boss is sending me across the Atlantic again! When I applied for this job as God’s writer-friend, I had no idea so much travel would be involved. What was I thinking though, when the whole point is to prepare immortals for safe travel to the land of immortality?

While writing the last entry about pride making us too big to get through the narrow gate, it occurred to me that all of this preparation could appear to be absurd unless the destination was obviously desirable.

I am here to report that this old earth is fabulous! Sometimes I can’t imagine how the new one could be any better. Last month, in England, I went to a palatial hotel that made me feel like I was visiting Queen Elizabeth (only she wasn’t home, but told her staff that I could have the run of the palace). The gardens were magnificent, the food delectable, the pool and sauna prepared me for the relaxation room where I melted into a comfortable chair strategically positioned in front of a large aquarium. There I watched colorful sea creatures living in floating-harmony with each other while listening to the sounds of waves and violins. Then I travelled to Burgundy where I visited a serene cheese maker and her contented cows. Her cheeses were creamy and pungent; the still warm French bread she served had a perfect crust and the center was the lightest that I had ever known bread to be. Days later I found myself on a ship cruising through cobalt blue waters to Cozumel. It struck me then how much of this planet is water and how relatively insignificant the hectic land mass is to the planet as a whole. As I gazed out to sea, I also thought about the trips by sea my grandparents took when they left Greece for America at the turn of the twentieth century, never to return to their homelands or to see their parents again. Now, with only two days notice, I am being sent to Greece, and to our mountain village in the Cyclades. As usual, I don’t know why I am being sent there, but I am sure I will find out and then you will too.

The connection between all of this travel and going to the land of immortality has not escaped me. I think I am being shown how quickly reality can change. Waking up in DC, Luton, Beaune, at sea, Hora, in heaven or on new earth are equally new, different and real. I think I hear the Boss saying, "Get used to it. Be ready to be somewhere totally new and different. Be willing to go...alone."

God is the kind of Father who wants neither to bribe anyone to love Him nor to threaten anyone to go with Him. To tell someone to give up eating chocolate or pride so (s)he can go to Disneyland misses the point entirely. To see God, even a glimpse of Him in your heart, is a truly amazing experience. His magnificence, the many glories of His majesty are breathtaking. His love and patience, His Wisdom, His intelligence and His sense of humor are light-years beyond anyone on earth. If you can imagine how absurd it would be for the king of England to want to bribe someone to live with him on one of his estates with a mansion, or seventy virgins, or worse, to threaten them that they will suffer fire and brimstone if they won’t make the journey to Westminster, then perhaps you can see why God would neither bribe nor threaten a soul.

The beauty of the new earth has less to do with better geography and more to do with what is not there. There is no sickness, sorrow, or even sighing. There is no darkness or death, and there is no marriage, even good marriages. No one goes there for the food and wine, the sea and sun, but simply because the world ended and segregation prevailed; God discriminated against those who were always free to love or to hate, to be like Him or to be unlike him. When He gave birth to His children through the narrow gates in their hearts, He hoped they would choose life.

Yes, my fellow aspiring immortal, we want to go to that place of light and life more than anything in this world not for the candy or to avoid taxes but because God lives there, and we will be able to see Him there, whereas now we can only hear Him speak to us, and we can only see evidence all around that He is actually here.

I’ll be back in a week, please come back too.