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No. 6


E s s a y s

Faithful Companions and Guides
Art and Nature as God's Chosen Vocabulary
Ken Gire

Ken Gire writes that Michelangelo's painting on the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel-the one in which God is reaching his hand to Adam's, their fingers not quite touching-perfectly symbolizes God's relationship to humanity throughout history: whenever he succeeds in reaching us, a window opens between heaven and earth in a moment of revelation. Yet, how do such revelations come to us? The author's interaction with the work of Vincent van Gogh taught him what is required to hear God's voice through his creation and creatures: looking, listening, receiving.

The Glory of His Discontent
The Inconsolable Suffering of God
Don Hudson

Christianity, Don Hudson contends, is in its very essence a religion of discontent. After all, closing our eyes to the suffering of this world is to choose to live in an innocence in which God himself does not dwell. Only an intimate knowledge of suffering-which is a loss of innocence-will constrain us to fiercely imagine truth, beauty, and goodness as God did when he confronted the chaos in Genesis 1.


Becoming Creation
Leatherstocking and The End of Nature
John Leax

"We are not bigger than everything else," nature writer Bill McKibben posits, "we are like everything else, meant to be exuberant and wild and limited." McKibben's theory identifies humanity with nature, says John Leax, and that in itself makes McKibben stand out in a long line of distinguished thinkers and writers on nature. More importantly, Leax points out, McKibben's thought also identifies us with God-and only by such an identification can we demonstrate caring responsibility to forward the healing of all creation begun in the incarnation.

Lingering at Walden
In the Workshop of Soul-Making
Doug Thorpe

Our work in this world, Doug Thorpe suggests, is an echo of the divine love that set it into motion; our productions merely continue the conversation begun at creation. Yet, in gaining the "mobility" that comes with our successes at work, we often are tempted to cut ourselves off from the eternal conversation. The result is as Wendell Berry suggests: the spirit of creation goes out of us, to our and the world's loss.

The Mars Hill Interview

No One Closer
A Conversation with James Houston
Aram Haroutunian

Our interview subject in this issue has made an impact on his world less by his "works" than by his self-and that's saying a lot. The author of several noteworthy books-among them The Transforming Friendship, The Heart's Desire, and one that's "still in his head," on mentoring-James Houston is known nevertheless as an influencer upon influencers. Read this quiet elder statesman's bold thoughts on "individuating in Christ," false silence, true spiritual friendship, and more.

Reminders of God

The Writing Life


"For Those of You Watching at Home"
Carolyn Jensen

"Mutual Sin" James Schaap


Sanne McCarthy


"Happy Tears"
Susan W. Jones


"Luke 8:8"
Kristy Johnson

"The Point"
Derrel Emmerson

"A Dish of Onions"
Lionel Basney

"Higher Mathematics"
Judith Deem Dupree

John Chisum

"Wearing a Tie"
Paul Willis

"Map of the Human Heart"
Joy Sawyer

Views and Reviews

Profile: A Tribute to Mark Heard
Doug Wheeler

Midge Ure, Breathe
Devlin Donaldson

John Mellencamp, Mr. Happy Go Lucky
Devlin Donaldson

Iona, Journey Into the Morn
Dave Urbanski

Music Also Reviewed
Devlin Donaldson


Interview: Novelist Ron Hansen
Scott Sawyer

Interview: Poet Scott Cairns
Brent Short

Review: Douglas Coupland's Generation X novels
Bert Mobley

Books Also Reviewed
Dudley J. Delffs


Sharon Hersh

Unstrung Heroes
Mark Miller

The Spitfire Grill
Jo Kadlecek

Films Also Reviewed
Compiled by Laura Wackman

Timeless graffiti from the broad canvas.

Mars Hill Contributors