Responses

Comments and Letters from Readers, Viewers & Visitors

Thanks to all of you who have responded to the Essays, the Books, the Photos, the Blogs, the Videos, the Ideas.  I appreciate your honest and thoughtful reflections.   ~Chris

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“Just returned home from a lovely cleansing vacation in Sequoia and Yosemite. Picked up your John Muir meditations while there. It became part of our routine to read from it with a.m. coffee and as we drifted off in our tent at dark. Thank you. I’m ordering your other books. Greatly enjoyed your Muir meditations. He is my prophet and we were in our cathedral.”

~Maggie, comment on Chris Highland blog

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“Thanks so much for being in touch. I had come across your videos some time ago when I googled both nature chaplain and eco-chaplain. Yes, we do diverge a bit – I’m still firmly rooted in Judaism even as I find meaning in being out in the natural world. Your books look great – I’m going to get a hold of one of them.
Feel free to stay in touch.”

~Katy, Rabbi in Massachusetts

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“My grand daughter and I read your story, “The Greatest Tree of All”.  She liked it, but was confused about what made the floor of the Meeting Hall start “rising, cracking, weirdly warping” etc.  She wanted to know if some mysterious force underneath it was pushing upward.  She thought that if she could see the pictures it might help her understand.  So that made me curious… did you publish it with illustrations?  Did you find an illustrator?   I told her I thought it was just breaking apart from old age, but she made me promise I would ask the author about what made the floor start rising. . .”

~Karis in Canada

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“I really enjoyed your nature novel.  I love the way you express your passion for the natural world in your gift for language.  Your friend aptly pronounced it ‘brave’!  Bravo!”

~Andi, Marin County, CA

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“Hey, Thanks!  Last weekend, I ordered all of your books on Amazon.”

~Catherine, Portland, OR

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“I don’t feel the need to be a part of any church or religious body. I also don’t feel the need to believe in God. There are a lot of things I don’t understand, and God is one of them. Regardless of whether or not there is a god, I will and should strive to be a good person who treats others with respect, dignity, and compassion.”

~NJ, New Orleans, LA, comment on Christmas Baby

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“I frequently enjoy your book, Meditations of John Muir. I draw inspiration for hiking yoga that I lead in San Jose, Santa Cruz mtn area. I’m putting together my website and was thinking about quoting you on one of my web pages if I have room. . .I look forward to your blog. Thank you for publishing your book. I appreciate it.”

~Heather, Yoga Instructor, SF Bay Area

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“I just wanted to let you know that I just finished reading your [Jesus and John Muir] book and loved it.  Thanks again.  Oh yes, don’t you have a book of meditations based in John Muir’s writings?  I would like to get a copy of that also.”

~Bob, retired Minister, Marin County

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“Greetings, I just recently found your videos when searching for “religious addiction.” I like the format and the information you share! Are you planning to do more videos? Thanks!  Blessings.

~Krista, Comment on the Nature Chaplain Channel

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I wanted to thank you again for giving me a copy of My Address is a River.  I read it in December when I should have been studying for my New Testament and Old Testament finals – it kept me sane and gave me inspiration during a stressful period (and thank God I ended up doing well in both of those classes!).

I am so grateful for the work you do.  Thank you for carrying torches of hope for me as I wrestle with my call to ordained ministry, trudge through seminary on a slow boat, look at the sad state of the institutional Church, [and raise two children].”

~Wendy, SF Bay Area

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“I just finished reading your essays and watching your videos, and I love them!”

~Bryan, opera singer, photographer, comment on Nature Chaplain Channel

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“I will be interested in reading your book. I am a distant relative of John Muir and have visited Mt. Rainier in Washington State often. I consider it my stairway to heaven so to speak.”

~Lionstar, comment on Createspace blog
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“I quickly looked through your site and find it very compelling.  I shall look forward to future posts and look back to past ones.”
~Joan, comment on the blog, Beyond God

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“I really respect your effort here to try and communicate your intelligent thoughts and message. I hope it will reach more than just the choir, (obviously that goes without saying).”

~Chip, Pacific Northwest, comment on the Nature Chaplain Channel

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“Yes, I have been to your website again to immerse in your gems. I shall appreciate your sending me a copy of “My Address is a River. A Place to Belong, Closer to Home.” Next to space, water, which is in us like space, is indeed our other home in this world. Its thumbling and splashing and rolling generate air too. It is energy. So your title is apt! Wishing you a happy avalanche of sales too.”

~Lere, Mathematician, Berlin, Germany

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“I am gay and a priest in [the UK].  I came across your videos on youtube.  They made me smile for all sorts of reasons not least because of your happy use of the word gay and your message of kindness/acceptance.   Nature’s blessings to you also.”

~WG, United Kingdom

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“I love your wisdom! I too believe we must “tend” to Nature and care for our home, our temple.  But Nature is a frightening thing, too.  Living in Africa makes one aware of that- especially when HIV lurks in every corner.  I would like to think that with thoughtfulness we could live in harmony with Nature and put an end to our destruction of the wild, poverty, overpopulation and disease as a result of our harmony with Nature.”

~Amber, Biologist, Chicago, Illinois

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“Wow!  I have just done some web browsing and am delighted to make your electronic acquaintance. . .What a truly fascinating background. . .I love reading about your mix of social justice and environmental sensibilities.”

~Jan, Educator, Berkeley, California

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“Felt compelled to send you a note letting you know how much I enjoyed reading some of your essays.  Reading your comments is like remembering my own life journey in the spiritual realm. . .  Let me offer my thanks for having this web site.  I am sure it is a solace for many, I know it is for me.  Keep up the site.  Keep up the message.  I feel exactly the same way.  You are an inspiration to all of us.”

~Wayne, retired History Teacher, Langley, Washington

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“I started using your “Meditations of John Muir” last year for daily devotions – and I truly believe that inspired me to begin doing “John Muir in Person” presentations! So thank you!!  I ordered a case of your books which I have available when I go on tour with my presentations.  The response has been wonderful, and I fully expect to go through that case by the end of the
year – so there’ll be another order early next year!

It would be wonderful to meet sometime. In the meantime, thanks for the great gift of “Meditations” you have given us. It is superb. Tonight, I’m going to your web-site!”

~Don, retired Minister, Nevada City, California

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“What a wonderful book [Meditations of Walt Whitman], both as to conception and execution!  The same applies to the other books in the series as well.  ‘Nature meditations’ should be part of the curricula in institutions of higher learning throughout the land.  How well each book in the series speaks for Chris!  They bespeak moral sensibility, an imaginative, scholarly mind, and a caring, sensitive soul.”

~Vimukta, Hindu Monk, Olema, California

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“What a beautiful website and thank you for placing your writings on the web.  I am very interested in hearing more about your ideas for Earth Chaplaincy. . . .  My story is a little similar to yours and I would like to connect with you to hear more about your concept of an Earth Chaplain.”

~Judith, Interfaith Chaplain, Pacifica, CA

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“I adore your website. . .I meander through it. . . .  It is a sanctuary for me.”

~Lori, Tech Manager, San Diego, CA

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“I loved your web-site.  Your poetry favorites are exciting and profound.  I like your poetry.”

~Baird, retired Physician, Langley, WA

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“Chris, I just finished your essay [“End of Religion”]. Very nice. Speaks my language.”

~Dan, Virginia, USA

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“I  enjoyed your website greatly.  I was doing a search on Jesus and John Muir, and somewhere in the googleism I got to Nature Temple.  Well done.

Technically I am a native to Nepal.  Kathmandu to be exact.  That is where my exposure to the roof top of the world, different cultures, hinduism, and buddhism birthed.  Later in life I moved to Washington, and I suppose as far as the states go, Washington is home to my soul.  I lived outside of Leavenworth on a apple orchard.  The Cascades became my sanctuary so to speak.  In some ways they still are. . .  Now I am over in Idaho.  Different mountains in Idaho.    There are over 350 peaks over 10,000 ft.  But the Cascades are home, and maybe someday I will get back.

I grew up in a Presbyterian church.  That was a drag.  Not cause it was Presbyterian.  Baptist, Methodist, Unity, Catholicism….they all would have been a drag.
I heard and knew about God…..but I did not know God.  Big difference.  Today, humbly I can say I know God.Anyway, thanks again for sharing.”

~Jim, Idaho, native of Kathmandu, Nepal

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“Just a quick note to congratulate you on your intellectual honesty, spiritual courage, and aesthetic and literary sensibilities. (I found your website while doing a search on John Burroughs.)  My path, though different in its details is, nevertheless, significantly similar. I, too, was very religious in early life, was ordained for the clergy, and ultimately left such undue certainties behind, preferring the honest over the familiar. Yet, like you–and Emerson and Burroughs and many others–I did not see the constructive alternative to religion being the uninspired science of mere cataloguing and scrutinizing. Intensity of experience and imagination and emotion and relationship to the whole…have their places, too.”
~Michael
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“What a pleasure it was for me to read and know your mentality and spirit towards Mother Nature, on the web.  It has become my great dream to have some of your favourite works on those well known naturalists of our planet.  I am from Ethiopia and have deep devotion for Nature and it’s servants like you.  I am not bare in mind when I am in contact with Nature, with Spirit.”

~Thomas, Geography and Environment major, Addis Ababa University, Ethiopia

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“I have been a Natural Spiritualist all of my life.  I am a Native American, Creek Nation.  Everything that you have said about Natural Spirituality is correct.  It is so simple and yet the powers of creation are so complex that it is breath taking if you look deeply into it.
It does not matter what religious background that you come from, Natural Spirituality does not hold anything against an individual.  Natural Spirituality is all the religions in one and yet it is not.  But you know that.
One thing that I tell people about Natural Spirituality is that it is like a path that you discovered in the forest.  You decide to see where this path leads you and you follow it.  The path may seem dangerous at times with fallen trees, rock slides, quicksand, and things that block your way and the path may take several turns and twists and you may get lost but remember, at the end of that path is the most awesome view of the extraordinary powers of creation.

What would it take for you to start the Earth Chaplain Organization?  I talk with people who are interested in Natural Spirituality all over the world.  Most people say that Natural Spirituality is what they have been searching for.  I must agree.  It is something that is a feeling deep down inside you that is awakened.”

~Benny, Creek Nation, Oklahoma

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“I am interested in helping to establish a network of earth chaplaincy.  Was very impressed and moved when reading your web site. . . .  Hope that I might be of some assistance in building an earth-based pantheist chaplaincy.”

~Thomas, Public School Teacher, Toronto, Canada

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“I was surfing the internet for ‘sacred nature’ and I came across your beautiful website.  I believe in nature as my spiritual home. . .and people of all faiths are welcome.  God is too big for one religion. . . I worship through nature, in nature I feel the presence of the sacred mystery of life.  Thank you for your web site, an inspiration to my inner self. . .  I will visit your site often, it gives me deep spiritual awareness.”

~Lynn, Georgia, USA

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“I just finished reading your web pages. . .and I want to applaud your vibrant existence. . . I am very excited about your ideas for creating a Nature Temple and establishing interspiritual Earth Chaplains!  I want to know more about what being an Earth Chaplain involves.”

~Paxdora, Pantheist-index.net

{Earth Chaplaincy is listed under “celebration”}

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“This is so cool what you are doing. . .thank you so much for sharing it.  Your writings stay with me and influence my life and my family, how I see and respond to this beautiful earth and the people around me.”

~Karlene, Actress and Unitarian, SF Bay Area

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“I want to thank you. . .for sharing your lens of life with us.  You’ve influenced me to decide to leave my job [in six months]. . . .  I can see through you that I am denying myself too much of the everyday joy in life by working in a life-suppressing environment.”

~Janet, Social Worker, Seattle, Washington

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“I have been enjoying and savoring my ‘walk with Waldo’. . .It is a book that I will read and re-read.  I really appreciate your intuition in pairing the other writings with Emerson’s essays.  Thank you so much for sharing it with me.”

~Marsha, Woodcraft Artist, Langley, Washington

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“I find your web page very productive and interesting.  More information on Earth Chaplains!”

~Pat, Member, Universal Pantheist Society

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“Thanks, I needed that [essay on “Livelihood”].  I am in the throes of figuring out who I am right now as I am not defined by job or title or role.  I liked your essay and the one before this as well.”

~Jack, Minister, California, USA

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“Thank you for your visit [to our college English class].  Your presentation and discussion trans-formed a very ordinary unit on [Walt] Whitman into something very special, very inspirational, and very mind-opening that the students and I will remember for a long time to come.  You are truly a gifted teacher, and I want to thank you again for that wonderful gift.”

~Chad, Community College Instructor, Bellingham, Washington

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“Dear Free-thinker,  Good essay.  Good to be reminded of all our foremothers and fathers.  We need to claim that ground today. . .and tomorrow.  You are, and I am too.”

~Carol, Interfaith Council Director, California

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“Congratulations on another excellent essay!  I’m glad you presented it at a Unitarian Universalist fellowship too.”

~Harold, Webmaster, Sierra Club; Universal Pantheist Society

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“Wow, Chris!  I just went to your website and clicked on every photo, each one making me yearn to be in it.  Then I read down the quotes, until I came to the one beginning ‘There is no need for an altar.’ I said, yesss!  This is my favorite!  Until I got down to the end and found out it was yours. This is the inside of my soul.”

~Patricia, Writer, Coupeville, Washington

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“Oh, you are ranting again!  Keep it up!”

~Todd, Teacher, Composer and Minister, San Francisco

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“For years I have been wondering about our need for physical shrines and temples, obligatory pilgrimages, etc. and the need for change as in, focusing on our internal temple, the one within ourselves.  I found your site and your work with naturetemple very interesting. I have even checked out availability of your meditations series on Amazon.  Keep up the good work.”

~Theresa, Ottawa, Canada

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“I’m on an airplane to Houston tonight, so have some time to catch up on my reading (i.e., your writing). For some reason unknown to me I started at the bottom and am working my way up. So far I’ve gotten through “Just Us, or Justice”. These are interesting – I want to keep reading them so that must be a good sign. You’ve had some really good experiences. Your writing is strongest when you’re relating a personal experience – the page really lights up when you’re telling a story. I think you should consider expanding some of the storylines.”

~Mark, Business Executive, Chicago, Illinois

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“I just read your online book, ‘Why I Am No Longer a Christian” [now, Life After Faith].  Thank you.  I am currently on a spiritual journey, mid-life quest to find what is true about religion and life.  I was raised in the Baptist church, for many years attended fundamentalist churches and for the past couple of years no church.  I have always said ‘I wish we could have church outside.’  I have always felt closest to God in beautiful natural surroundings.  I have longed to live in the mountains, in the valleys, in natural places. . .I am blessed to have a gazebo for my sanctuary.  It is surrounded by trees, plants, flowers, birds and squirrels. . . I’m learning about wisdom traditions. . . There is so much out there. . . So much and yet, I’m most at peace in the quiet of a forest.  Your words encourage me.  I am not alone.”

~Susan, Texas

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“Every now and then I check in on your website; usually on days at work that I need a breath of nature, truth, or inspiration. . .I appreciate the work you have put into the website.  Thank you for making it available.”

~Allene, Mount Vernon, WA

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“I understand better now your meaning of an Earth Chaplaincy and must say I like it very much. This may be just what we are looking for in fact. It may be much of what is needed to help spread the truth about how important Nature is to everything and how spirituality can be experienced so intensely simply through a walk in the woods. The type of unofficial network you have here is a great idea and I’m sure it will crystallize as much as it needs to when it needs to. . .Each person is potentially an Earth Chaplain, your network could be somewhat of a medium of growth for them to become that.”

~Thomas, Tennessee

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“I thoroughly enjoy your writings about your journey.  I too have a very fundamentalist/evangelical background but my liberal seminary experience forced me to think!  I wasn’t used to thinking; I was an expert in ‘believing.’. . .I appreciate your openness and willingness to be true to who you are.  Keep up the work that God has called you to.”

~Larry, email comment

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“I like to think of Mr. Muir as a Moses-figure – preaching environmental awareness. – A VERY nice presentation you have created here! – A pleasure!”

~Chiparoo, comment on “John Muir: The Wild Gospel of Nature,” Nature Chaplain Channel

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“We have never met, though tend to run in the same literary circles. I am writing to you today in my capacity as [an editor] firstly to introduce our press to you and convey to you what a great admirer I am of your work. . .”

~L.B., Connecticut

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