My Mt. Everest

The Wallflower Wanderer

The tallest, fiercest beast of rock, ice and snow on the planet goes by many names. 

If you’re the average Nepali, you’ve grown up calling it Sagarmāthā, meaning “forehead in the sky.” If you’re a native speaker of the Tibetan languages, it is the “mother of the world” or, Chomolungma. But those of us who have not had the rare pleasure of casting our eyes from a young age upward toward the behemoth, which rises like a ghost from the Mahalangur mountain range — we know it as Mt. Everest.

Mt. Everest-1-2

It’s 5:45am and I’m making my way in darkness toward the nearest main road from my Airbnb in the Lainchaur neighborhood of Kathmandu.

The simple but sturdy four-story concrete home is buried deep in a pocket of squiggling half-paved, half-dirt streets that don’t appear to have names. Many are scarcely wide enough for a single car to pass people on foot.

Even at this early hour, when I reach the big…

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Dynamite and Prayers


Dynamite and Prayers is the title of photographer Max Becherer’s stunning new book.

Dynamite and Prayers cover BLOG

Although the subject is the emerald miners of Afghanistan, Max’s storytelling transports us to a sweeping landscape few of us can even imagine — and unveils the true cost of war.

Max Becherer rainbow spread

I’ve had the privilege of working with many world-class photographers, but Max is one of only two I know personally who have chosen to focus on war. He’s captured some of the most famous images of the conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan — his C.V. is full of names like Baghdad and Fallujah — and in the process he’s repeatedly risked his life.

A war photographer’s work is obviously taxing: While everyone around you is trying to either kill or survive, your job is to watch and record. Over time, it can take a toll on your humanity.

But in Max’s case, exposure to war…

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Church as Family vs. Church as Healthclub

Britain & ‘The House of Saud’

I am in no way a leftist. On the other hand I am in no way an Islamist and cannot stand the Saudis… who are the source of so much Islamism in the world.

A Year of Trolling

Eleanor Knott

Late last year, at an event organised by LSE’s Grimshaw International Relations Club, I shared my experiences of trolling as evidence of the implication of academics in an form of hybrid war and campaign of discreditation.

Well, this campaign became a bit more real (and surreal) when I stumbled across a Russian talk show discussing my research and more specifically my recent Monkey Cage piece, where I discuss the complexities of Russian identity, as I observed them in 2012 and 2013. Totally surreal, the talk show comes out of Zvezda, the Russian Ministry of Defence’s TV channel, and featured the well-known nationalist Konstantin Zatulin, who interesting and ironically, was banned from Ukraine during Yushchenko’s presidency for making claims on Crimea.

The name of the program…

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St Petersburg in winter: ‘Like stepping into a Russian novel’

I used to have a good friend who live din Saint Petersburg as a psychiatrist. His cards, letters, and photos of the place were superb.

Travel Associate

St Petersburg, the setting for key scenes in the BBC’s dramatisation of ‘War and Peace’, is at its best under a blanket of snow.

On the edge of a frozen lake, somewhere outside St Petersburg, I am stretched out on the wooden racks of a rickety banya, or sauna. Clouds of steam part to reveal several lobster-pink Russians on the racks below. Some maniac has just thrown a bucket of water on to the hot stones in the corner, and the temperature – already somewhere between gas mark 8 and Dante’s Inferno – rises dramatically. I feel my bone marrow is melting. Meanwhile, my new best friend, Seva, is whipping me with birch twigs – “For improving circulation,” he grunts.

St petersburg Neva River

Russian banya are the Baltic equivalent of ginseng; they cure everything: liver complaints, skin conditions, muscle ache, sexual dysfunction, broken hearts, spiritual unease. They are an integral part of the…

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RESPONDblogs: Books that Inspired Me in 2015



Hey – would you mind if I share with you the 3 books that made a big impact on me in 2015?


FIRST – Shaped for Significance

Why do we do what we don’t want to do? How can I stop spending so much time regretting the habits which are pulling me downward in life? Is there any hope for experiencing freedom from this?

James Burn and Rachel Bennett give a roadmap through these difficulty and thorny issues that so many (honest) people will admit to. And they point us forward and give hope that…one day I WILL be all that God’s intended me to be.

It’s a great workbook – practical, but meaty too.

This book is published by Kingfisher Resources. It isn’t available on amazon right now…but it certainly should be!


SECONDRelativism: Feet Firmly Planted in Mid-Air

I’ve noticed that whenever the subject of morality comes…

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On My Father’s Birthday: A Letter To The Man Who Killed Him


freshly-pressed-circleThank you to Word Press, who Freshly Pressed this piece. I have been deeply moved by the responses. Thank you to the many, many people who have read this post (here on WordPress and on Huffington Post) and shared their kind words or their own stories. I write to impact people, but this one is very personal. I did not expect the response that it got; I’m very grateful to everyone who has shared it, responded to it, or read it. Thank!

Dear Sir,

I don’t know your name, but you killed my father on June 9, 1973, in Stockton, California. My father was thirty-two years old then; I was ten. If he had lived, he would have been 74 on November 29, 2014.

The year my dad ws killed The year my dad ws killed

I am a 51-year-old woman now; my father has not been with me for most of my life, and yet I…

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Convince Me There’s A God – Archaeology 29

Faith & Self Defense

Convince Me Theres A GodIn past studies we saw that archaeologists have discovered records of three ancient deportations of people from Judah to Babylon: 605 BC, 597 BC, and 586 BC. Daniel was taken during the first captivity in 605 BC (Daniel 1:1-7). Many scholars believe Ezekiel was taken during the second captivity in 597 BC.

One thing the Books of Daniel and Ezekiel have in common among critics is they believe both were written later than the 6th century BC. The reason for that is simple – if Daniel and Ezekiel wrote during the 6th century BC, then the accuracy of their prophecies would be formidible to their opponents. As we saw in earlier studies, the Hebrew writing in Daniel is consistent with a 6th century BC dating, similar to Ezekiel’s Hebrew. Could it be that critics oppose these findings because of their anti-supernatural bias?

Let’s see what we can learn from archaeology – keeping…

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New book on Archaeology and the Bible

Bible, Archaeology, and Travel with Luke Chandler

A new book titled, Digging Deeper into the Word:  The Relevance of Archaeology to Christian Apologetics is available on Amazon. The author is Dr. Dale Manor, Professor of Archaeology and the Bible at Harding University.

Dr. Manor is Field Director of Excavations at Tel Beth-Shemesh, an important site for several biblical events. It has 114 pages with nearly 40 color photos. It is quite affordable with a price of only $15.95.

Digging Deeper into the Word:  The Relevance of Archaeology to Christian Apologetics (Vienna WV:  Warren Christian Apologetics Center, 2015).

Book contents:


Chapter 1:  Archaeology and the Bible:  What Does This Have to do with That?

Chapter 2:  Abraham:  What Did You See?

Chapter 3:  Hezekiah:  The Churchill of Judah

Chapter 4:  It is Written…

Scan Cover of “Digging Deeper into the Word” by Dale Manor

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