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Season After Pentecost, 2019 Year C : The Epistle Passage – When terribly sad things happen to faithful and devoted believers

“By faith the people passed through the Red Sea as if it were dry land, but when the Egyptians attempted to do so they were drowned.
By faith the walls of Jericho fell after they had been encircled for seven days.
By faith Rahab the prostitute did not perish with those who were disobedient, because she had received the spies in peace.
And what more should I say? For time would fail me to tell of Gideon, Barak, Samson, Jephthah, of David and Samuel and the prophets– who through faith conquered kingdoms, administered justice, obtained promises, shut the mouths of lions, quenched raging fire, escaped the edge of the sword, won strength out of weakness, became mighty in war, put foreign armies to flight.” (Hebrews 11:29 – 34)
There are, beloved reader, more modern stories (ie. Stories of believers in Jesus Christ) of what the faithful had suffered. One of the books given to me during my teen years was a book about Christians who suffered for their faith. Some faith traditions are littered (in a good way) with stories of saints of the past who held firm to their faith. My own faith, Anabaptism is one such faith tradition that is so littered. All those stories are tragically sad, and a little disturbing. Not that Paul would have hesitated to disturb his readers. I don’t think the person who gave me the book of believers who suffered for their faith meant to disturb me either. But nonetheless, it gives one pain and pause.
“Women received their dead by resurrection. Others were tortured, refusing to accept release, in order to obtain a better resurrection. Others suffered mocking and flogging, and even chains and imprisonment. They were stoned to death, they were sawn in two, they were killed by the sword; they went about in skins of sheep and goats, destitute, persecuted, tormented– of whom the world was not worthy. They wandered in deserts and mountains, and in caves and holes in the ground.” (Verses 35 – 38)
Paul was very much like these believers – cast about, forsaking simple comforts, and allowing him/themselves to oppressed and disregarded. Not all of these stories that Paul refers to in passing can be found in the current canonical bible. But they are recorded for those who seek out their stories. And why did they endure this? What outcome might they have hoped for or expected?
“Yet all these, though they were commended for their faith, did not receive what was promised, since God had provided something better so that they would not, apart from us, be made perfect.” (verses 39 – 40)
Here we have the last clue to what Paul is getting at; what was started by them in their time (the faithful devotion and adherence to belief) was/is completed in our time – or more precisely in the time period that Paul is writing in. Question – are we in our modern time included in this? Or we as believers in the 21st Century a part of different era?
“Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight and the sin that clings so closely, and let us run with perseverance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus the pioneer and perfecter of our faith, who for the sake of the joy that was set before him endured the cross, disregarding its shame, and has taken his seat at the right hand of the throne of God.” (Hebrews 12:1 – 2)
There are few things sadder than running a race that you were never destined to win. These early believers, ie those before Jesus Christ, knew what it was like to adhere to faith and be devoted. Their stories are testament to that. But the faith that was/is most perfect was not yet revealed, and would not be revealed until Jesus Christ came. The advantage is to us, who live in the light of Jesus Christ. Jesus said, however, blessed are those who have not seen but still believe. He was referring to at the time those who would believe in him and the Divine who sent him without having known him personally and first hand. I believe that can apply equally to those who lived and died in faith before Jesus Christ. Yes, Paul is probably sputtering at that!
Beloved reader, it is not enough to know . . . . about who Jesus Christ and the Divine is. It really is not enough either to believe in their existence. What is called for . . . . is to reconstruct with the help of the Holy Spirit one’s entire life and align it would the Divine who sent Jesus Christ. And once aligned, to never ever sway from it. Sad, terribly sad tragic things may happen to us – but not nearly as tragic as to miss living out a life of faith. Selah!


Signs of the times 1

On the wall at our local shopping mall. “Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.” Romans 12:2 Advertisements

So Much Fun: Making Collage Photos and Getting Chills

A few weeks ago everyone
seemed to be playing with FaceApp,
which aged faces of young people.
You could see yourself in the future,
say, fifty years from now.
On our second honeymoon to Nova Scotia, we did the reverse.

He has loved airplanes since he was a boy. Fifty years ago, you could stand under the wing of a plane!

Shirley on the Rocks, 1969 and 2019.


Standing in front of the Citadel. Halifax. Clowning with flags after 50 years.

Couldn’t find any Pepsi in glass bottles, so I went with my water bottle.

Nova Scotia with football jersey. Fifty Years Later!

At Peggy’s Cove. In 1969 these three were only the twinkles in the eyes of their parents, who were still twinkles in our eyes.

These collages were much fun to make. They were taken almost exactly fifty years apart in places almost exactly the same, or as close as we could find.
True Story: We took three nights and four days at a Hampton Inn (using Hilton Honors points saved for this purpose) in Halifax before the rest of our family arrived to stay with us at a big AirBnB. We did not try to locate our original motel, although I knew the name. In June I had found a postcard I had pasted into the honeymoon scrapbook. It was from the Citadel Inn. While in Halifax, I decided to look up the address to see if we could walk past the place we stayed our first night in Canada. The closest thing I found was the Citadel Halifax Hotel, which I figured was the new name for the same place, but when I looked it up on Yelp!, it said it was closed.
Why was it closed?
Because just a few years ago, “our” motel/hotel was razed. Why?
So that the Hilton company could build a new Hampton Inn — the very place we stayed for three nights! We had returned to the same earth without knowing it.
Coincidence? Maybe. But the discovery gave me chills. And I made a new collage.

1960 Brunswick St. Then and Now.

Have you ever done a photo collage with old and new pictures? Tell us about it. When was the last time you discovered a “coincidence” that gave you chills?

Are we living in “the Great Tribulation”? (Peaceable Revelation #3)

Ted Grimsrud—August 13, 2019
I first became interested in theology when I was in high school and began attending our small town’s Baptist church. My early education in theology included at its center the conviction that we were living in the End Times, the period shortly before Christ’s return. Virtually every sermon I heard and every Bible study I participated in touched on Jesus’s second coming. Someday I’d like to figure out why this was such a popular topic in that context.
One of the big ideas in this future-prophetic take on Christianity is the expectation of a catastrophic time just before Jesus’s return filled with massive violence and destruction. This event has often been called “the Great Tribulation.” I was taught that, happily, genuine Christians would be raptured out of their present life in order to be with God and to miss this terrible ordeal. In this view, the Tribulation would be a just act of God’s judgment against sinful and corrupt humanity—regardless of the carnage that would ensue.
I was taught to be attentive to the downward spiral of human history, looking for signs that the Great Tribulation was at hand. This was all pretty heavy stuff, and it does not surprise me that I, a young man about to head out into the big, scary world, would have taken all the teaching quite seriously. I read Hal Lindsey’s The Late, Great Planet Earth over and over again, along with numerous other similarly themed books.
Rethinking the End Times
Then I went away to college. It was easy enough to live a kind of compartmentalized life —my fundamentalist theology in one compartment, my non-religious academic studies in another. However, that separation actually left me quite passionless about both compartments. When I was a junior in college, I found a congregation that started me on the path of bringing things together.
One of the key moments was a conversation with a mentor about our shared future-prophetic theology. With my minimal exposure to Christianity, I had assumed that what I was taught about the End Times was simply what all Christians believed. My friend said no, actually, the majority of Christians don’t believe the same thing I do. I was kind of stunned. That realization opened up everything. Almost immediately I encountered other views and soon dropped the future-prophetic schema. And during my senior year, I did find a strong passion for integrating my theology and my academic studies.
As my views about the End Times changed, I still held on to some sense that the biblical message was still linear—with a future consummation when Jesus returns. A few years after I finished college I decided to try better to understand the book of Revelation. That effort culminated in my first book, Triumph of the Lamb: A Self-Study Guide to the Book of Revelation. I wrote there about the New Jerusalem as our promised outcome that is certain to come in the future. I didn’t look for specific fulfillments of predictions given in Revelation, but I nonetheless did take the general promise of future paradise fairly literally.
Maybe we wouldn’t have a “Great Tribulation” like I had been taught, but we could still count on some kind of culmination, and it could be that things will get worse before that promised final healing.
A present-focused interpretation
I have continued to enjoy interacting with Revelation and have evolved in how I interpret it. What hasn’t changed since the late 1970s is my conviction that Revelation underwrites Christian pacifism (I have written extensively about this conviction on my website). What has changed is my gradually coming to dismiss the idea that there is anything at all in Revelation about the future—including a promise for a certain happy ending to the story.
I now think that the images in Revelation commonly interpreted as being about the future (especially those of New Jerusalem in chapters 21 and 22—but also earlier visions that seem to promise a sure downfall for the Powers of evil) are better understood as hopeful statements of what can be in the present should we live and believe rightly. The point of those statements is to inspire readers to follow the way of the Lamb in face of demands for loyalty from the nations of the world. If we are to have a happy ending, Revelation speaks of the only way that might happen—following the Lamb wherever he goes.
So, in this framework, the “great tribulation” (or, as translated in the New Revised Standard Version of the Bible, the “great ordeal”) is not at all about a predicted (and hoped for) future nadir of human life that will precede our destined final outcome of paradise. Rather, it’s simply a kind of hyperbolic way of talking about present historical living on earth. The “great tribulation” is another image along with the terrible plagues that are presented in three series of awful events in chapters 6 through 16. Numerous times in Revelation, we are told of the duration of these plagues—3½ years or 42 months or 1,260 days. It becomes clear as we read the book as a whole that these numbers symbolize historical time. Revelation does not speculate about how long in actual history this 3½ years will last; there is no interest in when precisely the end will come. What matters is living faithfully during this time however long it lasts.
The book hopes to empower its readers for living in the long haul. To sustain faithfulness, John suggests, requires a healthy community (such as the congregations in Philadelphia and Smyrna) and clarity about what following the Lamb wherever he goes entails (such as consistently choosing loyalty to the path of persevering love over the path of giving loyalty to the various iterations of Babylon).
Our “tribulation”
One way to characterize the “tribulation,” then is to see it as describing the on-going struggle to live with courage and creativity in the face of the clash of worldviews between the Beast and the Lamb. In our time, this courage and creativity leads to resisting those elements in our culture that make for brokenness and alienation, be it outright war and violence or the more subtle allure of living with the comforts of wealth and security while too many in our society and broader world struggle to get by.
The Beast (in cahoots with the Dragon and False Prophet) persistently seeks to gain people’s loyalty, to turn people away from the Lamb, to gather ever more allegiance to the dynamics of domination. The Lamb stands against this “worship” of the Beast (cf. 14:1-5), though at great cost. To follow the Lamb is to say no to all the various ’isms of these 3½ years. And saying “no” can indeed lead to tribulations.
Sustaining the witness
What is our best strategy (as followers of Jesus, as people of faith, as people of good will, as peacemakers) for living in our time of tribulation? A crucial point is to recognize that “tribulation” time is the same as historical time. There is no escape, no end to this time—as long as we live on earth. So, Revelation means to empower its readers to sustain their witness, not to hope for a “rapture” out of historical time. The numerous visions of worship scattered throughout the book help capture that dynamic (see 4:1–5:14; 7:9-17; 11:15-19; 12:10-12; 14:1-5; 15:1-4; 19:1-10). The worship happens in history, amidst the tribulations.
So Revelation means to emphasize the need for clarity of sight. There are two competing calls for loyalty in Revelation that the seven messages in chapters 2 and 3 make clear are vying for allegiance within the congregations. To navigate the time of tribulation (that is, the time of living in history), people need to keep the ways and commitments of the Lamb at the center and discern how the ways and commitments of the social and political status quo contradict the Lamb.
Revelation helps us to recognize the difference between religious convictions and practices that empower us to put into practice genuine justice and those that encourage us to live in harmony with empire as a way of life. Chapter 18 illustrates one key element of these two paths when it envisions judgment against the empire for how treats the fruits of creation, including human beings, as commodities to be exploited for the sake of profit. Linking back to chapters 2 and 3, we may note that the teachings of the false prophets in those chapters (e.g., such as “Balaam” and the “Nicolaitans”) surely involved affirming active participation in the economic world of the Roman Empire—unjust and exploitative as it may have been. Challenging such accommodation remains a central part of the Lamb’s message.
Revelation helps us to recognize the difference between two ways of “conquering”—the witness of the Lamb who conquers with persevering love as opposed to Babylon’s approach of “conquering” by treating human beings as commodities and relying on death-dealing firepower. The continuing attempt by those who claim to follow the Lamb also to affirm preparing for and participating in the state’s wars and other aggressions surely echoes John’s sharp condemnation of how his readers tended to join with the “inhabitants of the earth” in offering fealty to the Beast (i.e., the warring state; see 13:4-8).
Revelation does end with a powerful and inspiring vision of “New Jerusalem.” I’d suggest, though, that we should not take this as a guarantee that an all-powerful God will make sure everything ends up okay in the end. Rather, I think that the purpose of this vision is to hold before us a sense of what can be when we see reality in light of the witness of the Lamb. That is, New Jerusalem is only possible when we embody the Lamb’s way during this time of “tribulation.” And it is meant for our present, not off in the distant future.
[The “Peaceable Revelation” series of blog posts]

Do All Roads Lead to God?

First, if it’s really true that Jesus is the way to Father and that no one comes to the Father except through him, (Jn 14:6) then it seems that no other religious leader or religious doctrine can bring us to the Father. “The” is a definite article, and it implies …
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Season After Pentecost, 2019 Year C : The Old Testament Passage – When sad things happen to a Good Loving Divine

I am at a decision point again concerning which Old Testament passage to use. Both passage are critical of the people of Israel and Judah. Isaiah compares them to a vineyard that was carefully and tenderly planted but something went wrong – terribly wrong.
“Let me sing for my beloved my love-song concerning his vineyard: My beloved had a vineyard on a very fertile hill. He dug it and cleared it of stones, and planted it with choice vines; he built a watchtower in the midst of it, and hewed out a wine vat in it; he expected it to yield grapes, but it yielded wild grapes.
And now, inhabitants of Jerusalem and people of Judah, judge between me and my vineyard. What more was there to do for my vineyard that I have not done in it? When I expected it to yield grapes, why did it yield wild grapes?” (Isaiah 5:1 – 4)

Jeremiah is speaking for the Lord God against the prophets of that time. The prophets, unlike Jeremiah, are not faithfully speaking the word of God but are created prophesy out of thin air and their own imaging. The Lord God (through Jeremiah) says that things are as bad as when Baal was worshiped instead of the Lord God. The implication is that the Israelites, before and while they were being formed as a called and chosen people, were seduced in the past and are being seduced now my false worship and the prophets are doing nothing to stem this inclination.
“Am I a God near by, says the LORD, and not a God far off? Who can hide in secret places so that I cannot see them? says the LORD. Do I not fill heaven and earth? says the LORD. I have heard what the prophets have said who prophesy lies in my name, saying, “I have dreamed, I have dreamed!” How long? Will the hearts of the prophets ever turn back–those who prophesy lies, and who prophesy the deceit of their own heart? They plan to make my people forget my name by their dreams that they tell one another, just as their ancestors forgot my name for Baal.” (Jeremiah 23:23 – 27)
In both passages the Lord God is determined to put an end to what has happened. Isaiah says,
“And now I will tell you what I will do to my vineyard. I will remove its hedge, and it shall be devoured; I will break down its wall, and it shall be trampled down. I will make it a waste; it shall not be pruned or hoed, and it shall be overgrown with briers and thorns; I will also command the clouds that they rain no rain upon it. For the vineyard of the LORD of hosts is the house of Israel, and the people of Judah are his pleasant planting; he expected justice, but saw bloodshed; righteousness, but heard a cry!” (Verses 5 – 7)

And the Lord God through Jeremiah warns,
“Let the prophet who has a dream tell the dream, but let the one who has my word speak my word faithfully. What has straw in common with wheat? says the LORD. Is not my word like fire, says the LORD, and like a hammer that breaks a rock in pieces?” (Verses 28 – 29)
What we have to remember, beloved reader, is two things. First – The Lord God seeks to be in relationship with humanity and creation. “In the beginning” the Divine wanted to do something with the lifeless chaos we now call earth. Starting with bringing order and a system to the vastness, to coaxing life where there was not life, to creating humanity – the Divine wanted to create relationships. So it is vastly wounding (if you can wound the Divine) that humanity turns away and craves other things. Second – this is according to two humans who may or may not be point perfect in understanding the Divine and the motivations and sentiments of the Divine. We can and do know that the Divine seeks relationship because Jesus Christ was sent. But knowing the sentiments of the Divine during the times of Isaiah and Jeremiah – that is a little more challenging. Test it out for yourself, beloved reader. Take the invitation to be in relationship with the Lord God and Jesus Christ. Discern for yourself what the Trinity wants. I can guarantee you, you will bring joy to the Divine by reaching out! Selah!

To What Extent is the Old Testament a Sufficient Revelation of God? (podcast)

Greg considers the relationship between the testaments.  Episode 548 Greg’s new book: Inspired Imperfection Dan’s new book: Confident Humility Send Questions To: Dan: @thatdankent Email: Twitter: @reKnewOrg Subscribe: iTunes | Stitcher | Google Play | RSS
The post To What Extent is the Old Testament a Sufficient Revelation of God? (podcast) appeared first on Greg Boyd – ReKnew.

A Rhythm of Welcome: No Solo Instruments

I love this gorgeous cover of Leslie Verner‘s new book! It looks inviting, and I know that her message of welcome and hospitality is sorely needed in our world today. I’m thrilled to host Leslie on my blog, plus she’s offered to give away a copy of her book, Invited: The Power of Hospitality in … Continue reading A Rhythm of Welcome: No Solo Instruments

The Disclaimer

Occasionally, someone will tell me they were worried I was judging them. I, on the other hand, was completely oblivious. 

Sometimes I feel like I need a big disclaimer above my head saying, “Even if we disagree, I still respect your perspective.” Or “I don’t expect you to look just like me.”

So here’s a partial disclaimer and a chance to read my mind. You may want to read the green characters’ words first: 

NOTE: I won’t say I never judge people. I am human after all. But chances are much more likely that I’m inwardly criticizing how you treat a newcomer or the prepositions you use discussing singleness (two of my biggest pet peeves) instead of your clothing or beverage choices.

On Walking Long Distances

I went on a long walk last Friday. Seventeen kms or so, according to a map I consulted this afternoon, up and down a mountain. Not being a terribly proficient hiker and, consequently, not possessing a decent pair of hiking boots, I used someone else’s. Which (unsurprisingly) turned out to be a mistake. Halfway along my long walk, one heel had been rubbed pretty much raw. My hiking companion generously patched together a combination of gauze and duct tape to tamp down alongside the heel of my boot which enabled me to hobble the rest of the way up and back down on a hot summer’s day. Six days later, the heel is still a rather unsightly red. But the spectacular views of the Canadian Rockies were more than adequate compensation for the accumulated discomforts of my long walk.
I went on another long walk earlier this spring with my daughter. This time, it was around sixteen km. We joined a much longer walk called the Walk for Common Ground from Edmonton to Calgary for a one-day stretch between two small central Alberta towns. The purpose of the walk was to build community between indigenous and non-indigenous folks, to reflect upon treaty obligations, and to raise awareness more generally. It was another blistering hot day, and I returned home with a resplendent sunburn and aching feet. But, the shared experience with my daughter, the good conversation with new indigenous friends along the way, and the sense that we were participating in a meaningful activity more than made up for the difficulties of the walk itself.
A few summers ago, I was looking for some light reading and dove headlong into Henning Menkel’s “Wallander Mysteries” which follow the life and times of Kurt Wallander, a police detective in a small coastal Swedish town. These are your stereotypical page-turner crime novels—fairly formulaic, not particularly deep. Good summer reading, in other words.
I wasn’t expecting much food for theological thought in these books, but there was a section in the opening pages of Sidetracked, that has stuck with me since I first read it. The scene is a long way from Sweden, in the Dominican Republic, where a young father who has tragically lost his wife sets out from his impoverished village for the big city in order to get his young daughter baptized:

Pedro reached the city one afternoon as the heavy rain clouds gathered on the horizon. He sat down to wait on the steps of the cathedral, Santiago Apóstol, and watched the black-clad priests passing by. They seemed either too young, or in too much of a hurry to be worthy of baptising his daughter. He waited many hours. At last an old priest came slowing towards the cathedral. Pedro stood up, took off his straw hat, and held out his daughter. The old priest listened patiently to his story. Then he nodded.
“I will baptise her,” he said. “You have walked a long way for something you believe in. In our day that is rare. People seldom walk long distances for their faith. That’s why the world looks the way it does.”

Those last two sentences jumped out at me. People seldom walk long distances for their faith. That’s why the world looks the way it does.
In the context of the novel, walking long distances is literal. Pedro has walked a long way to find someone to baptize his daughter. And indeed, the Christian tradition has a long and rich history of pilgrimage—people literally walking for days, weeks, or months to visit sacred sites, or to spend extended time in prayer and meditation. My own Mennonite history is the story of people who are familiar with long distances, making their way from northern Europe to Prussia to the Ukraine, to places like Paraguay and Mexico and North America, always on the move seeking a safe place to practice their faith.
But the reference to “walking long distances” can obviously be interpreted metaphorically, too. We’re often quite prepared to exert ourselves for the health benefits or for the inspiring scenery or for causes we deem important. And faith can certainly weave its way through these exertions. But in broad terms, are we willing to “walk long distances” for our faith? Are we willing to sacrifice much of anything for it? Are we particularly keen to enter into the struggle of renegotiating and refining faith, of disciplining habits even when the bloom has come off the rose, of asking difficult questions or sitting with uncomfortable contradictions? Or is faith implicitly seen as a sort of spiritual garnish on essentially secular lives?
The other day a friend asked me if I thought that one of the reasons that the church was struggling in the North American West was because it asks so little of us. I’ve been thinking about that question a lot, lately. Perhaps the old priest in the novel is right. One of the reasons the world (or at least the church) looks like it does is indeed because we seldom walk long distances for what we believe in any more.
The image above is of yours truly, and was taken by my wife as I wheezed, gasped, and staggered toward the terminus of a long walk.

The Alien Argument Against Naturalism

Christians might have reasons to suspect that aliens don’t exist – one could reasonably expect God to say such a thing if it were true in His holy Word – but naturalists generally have no need to reject the possibility of E.T. existence. There might be naturalists who personally find it unlikely, but very few would claim that it is impossible or that belief in aliens is like believing in Santa.
However, this seems to be incompatible with naturalism. If there is no way for an atheist to exclude the possibility of intelligent life in our universe, how can s/he exclude the existence of intelligent, spiritual life outside of it? Openness to alien life seems to be necessarily combined with an openness to the supernatural.
The naturalist might respond that we have no objective reference point to non-physical persons, while aliens can be viewed as simply animals that happened to evolve elsewhere. To this objection I would point out that we can imagine vastly different aliens in out universe, and if we add possible parallell universes – that most naturalists are open to – there’s really no limit to what creatures we can conceive as possible.
Hence, openness to alien life seems not to rest on references to earthly animals but on what’s logically possible. And there is no logical contradiction in imagining non-physical, spiritual beings. To those who think that non-physical beings are impossible I would simply point out that that’s a circular argument that presupposes naturalism.
We have no evidence for the existence of alien life, or the existence of other universes. Yet most atheists would say that it’s entirely possible for aliens or other universes to exist. I find it arbitrary to view the existence of supernatural entities as impossible due to (perceived) lack of evidence when one does not draw that conclusion concerning aliens.
So just to be clear: I’m not saying that I know that aliens exist, or that God is an alien. What I’m saying is that a naturalist either must say that alien life is impossible, or cease to be a naturalist. There is no middle ground.

Eastern Experiences

Top Eleven Experiences in Cape Breton and Newfoundland (in no particular order)

The Lookout Trail up Partridgeberry Hill. It was a warm sunny day and the climb was steep but the 360 degree views were spectacular. Gros Morne National Park is known for Gros Morne but the trail to the summit is a 16 km all day hike with 800 m vertical so for those like us who have limited time and energy, the Lookout Trail offers similar views with less than half the distance and vertical.
Western Brook Pond boat tour. The advertising photos for Newfoundland come from this ancient inland fjord and the advertising holds true. Continuous gasps of awe! We got a little bonus when one of the guides entertained us with east coast folk music on the return trip.
Unique geological formations. A few of the best places to see layered rocks and unique formations are Green Point and Lobster Cove Head in Gros Morne National Park and Black Brook Cove in Cape Breton Island National Park. You don’t have to be an amateur rock hound like me to appreciate these. And if you see any “inukshuks” when you visit they might be my creations.
Eating fresh lightly battered cod and drinking Iceberg beer at Quidi Vidi micro-brewery in Quidi Vidi Cove. The cod was actually good (I generally don’t like fish) and the beer was crisp and refreshing but what made it an experience was the location in a sheltered cove down and just north of Signal Hill. A feast for the eyes as well as the mouth.
Cape Spear. Just because it is the easternmost point in Canada. Desolate and wide open, perhaps not unlike much of the country that lies to the west.
Standing on top of a rocky knoll called Mill Cove Lookoff in the driving rain. Most of the weather was clear for us during our visit but for this short hike/scramble in Terra Nova National Park we got the full dose of iconic east coast weather.
Seeing the sunset from the summit of Skyline Trail on the west coast of Cape Breton Island. Hiking 9 km in the evening and then returning after dark was one thing but the sunset from the multiple viewpoints was something else. Wow!
Finding mini orchids along a few paths through bogs in Cape Breton, Gros Morne, and Terra Nova. Pitcher Plants, the unique provincial flower of Newfoundland, were abundant but spying a few of these miniature beauties was special.
Walking the streets of old downtown St. John’s. It seems almost every residential street is a unique “jellybean row” with the iconic brightly and variously coloured row houses.
Signal Hill. The Cabot Tower is the recognizable symbol but the short hikes around the North Head were where you not only saw the ocean but felt it in the breeze and got great views of St. John’s Harbour. The Newfoundland Chocolate Company Café is appropriately situated part way up the walk to the top of Signal Hill. They make a lovely iced dark café mocha latte.
Supper on the deck with a view of the Exploits River in Bishop’s Falls. We cooked it ourselves at a lovely little Airbnb house and after dinner went for a walk to the old trestle bridge and ended the evening with s’mores around the fire. (I had to add an eleventh because all the others were from the east or west coast of the island and we did drive the entire Trans-Canada Highway from Port-aux-Basques to mile zero in St. John’s.)

All of the above were experienced with my sister and brother-in-law who were enjoyable traveling companions. And we only fought about directions once!
Two more posts coming about the “spirituality of the rock” and a sad story about New-found-land.


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