I began my Biblical journey a few years ago, not to find out about God, or understand how I can find my way to heaven. It just seemed incongruous for me to not find out about this famous collection of Christian writings. I wanted to know why.
The Bible is the most written, the most printed, the most read, the most given, the most taken, the most sold, the most bought, the most taught, the most studied, the most loved, the most hated, the most lied about, the most told the truth about, the most spiritually accepted, the most spiritually denied book in the entire history of the human race. Now I ask you, how could I possibly not look into this book. How could I live my life, without taking the journey through those pages.
When I began studying The Word, I believed in God but that’s about it. I thought the Jesus stuff was nice but unlikely. In many ways, I expected to find an interesting book, that would confirm my thoughts that the Bible was a book written by men, just like other religious books.
I knew that there was no way I was going to sit down and read the Bible from cover to cover, understand it, and be satisfied with my understanding. I would have to do something I hate doing, I would have to use the knowledge and assistance of others, to aid me in this journey.
I read statements (websites) made by individual pastors, individual churches, and whole denominations in my search for the truth. I did my best to understand the differences in different Bibles, and I tried to understand the proper translations from the original Hebrew, Greek and Aramaic. I found what I now believe to be the truth, in the midst of a sea of error and outright lies. Also no small amount of legitimate debate exists.
I moved on to a format that I have followed periodically since I was 4 years old with the likes of Oral Roberts, Billy Graham, Bishop Fulton Sheen and others. The TV preacher. As a child, it was merely entertainment to me. In some cases, it still is. This includes everything from the vast wastelands of pretend religion, to millionaire pastoral superstars, to the church near-by (for me Milwaukee and Chicago). It includes sermons and actual Bible teachings. Many different denominations and individual ministries. There’s much to be learned, and much to be forgotten.
When watching or listening to anyone preach the Gospel, especially famous preachers, ego has to be considered. Everyone who preaches, has an ego. Even the pastor at the little church on the corner. Actually we all have one. I have found an ego to be acceptable if it blooms because they want you to know God’s Word, and they want to do it well. Because they truly, know the Gospel, and can’t wait to share it with you. In other words, if their ego aids them in teaching God’s Word, not in making themselves feel superior to others.
While I listened and learned (and not), my own Bible was always close by. I double-check what I hear. As I began to see the truth, I was led to God both through some of those who preach the truth, and by the Bible itself. Finally the born again experience brings you closer to the Spirit of God, and opens up passages and chapters and books in an amazing way.
My results were not what I planned. I initially viewed this journey as an intellectual experience. While it was that, it became an amazing spiritual journey as well.
“I came to learn, and I learned to Believe” Wayne Nelson
Same Journey, Different Path
My years spent in the natural world were in a way, a part of the same journey that the Bible took me on.
In many ways, the most spiritual part of my life has always been when I was out in nature, hiking, exploring or interpreting her with my camera. I did not realize it for many years, but it was God I was searching for more than landscapes, wildlife and insects. I am part of God’s Creation similar (not exactly the same) to the trees, the rocks, the sky and the animals. Do not misunderstand me, nature is not my religion. At times I thought it was, but that part of God’s Creation is not any more my religion, than are the people I share it with. Just the same, the Lord did amazing work with the Earth (and the heavens), and to not appreciate it, and enjoy it would be for me, rather silly. Since the 197os I always felt compelled, to in some cases glorify her, but in all cases tell the truth about her with my cameras. In these last few years, it became my meager attempt to show what God had can do.
I have done many things in life that altered my journey, the one direction that was always correct, was being a nature lover and photographer.
Below are a few randomly selected images that represent Creation. They were the rewards from journeys both near and far.
Young Red Foxes, Illinois (top), and Wisconsin.
White Sands New Mexico
Desert Primrose, Utah
Flower and rain, Illinois
King of the hill. North Dakota
Bull Elk and cow, Wyoming
Yellow-bellied Marmot, Colorado
Painted Turtles, Missouri
The Badlands, South Dakota
Devil’s Tower, Wyoming
Great Sand Dunes, Colorado
Valley of the Gods, Utah
Monument Valley, Utah/Arizona, and storm
White Sands at dusk
Female Red-winged Blackbird with dinner, Illinois
Dark-eyed Juncos, Wisconsin. Female top, male bottom
Male Canvasback Duck during molt, Wisconsin
Splish, splash, having a bath. Male Mallard duck, Wisconsin
Mallard hen and surf, Wisconsin
Reddish Egret in backlight, Texas
Baby Sandhill Crane at sunrise, Wisconsin
Common Snipe, Wisconsin
Male Northern Harrier, Wisconsin
Female Northern Cardinal, my backyard, Wisconsin
Female Snowy Owl, Bong State Rec. Area, Wisconsin
Bottoms up. Male Northern Pintail
Early autumn, Wisconsin
Summer near lake Michigan, Wisconsin
Winter in Wisconsin
Beetle on the move, Wisconsin
Polyphemus Moth Caterpillar, Wisconsin
Our journeys can indeed be near or far, but the act of discovery is why we wander and learn, and why we create images.
Amos 9:6 He builds his lofty palace in the heavens
and sets its foundation on the earth;
he calls for the waters of the sea
and pours them out over the face of the land—
the Lord is his name.
God Bless, Wayne