Friday, December 28, 2012

Fabulous Winter Steelheading on the Cowlitz River

Roscoe, the fish dog, kept watch for fish the entire day.
Today the steelhead fishing on the Cowlitz River in the central part of western Washington was as good as it gets.  For my sons, Gregg and Doug, and me, at least. 
Just after dawn as boats arrive on the Cowlitz.
We put in the river at 6:45 a.m. close to the fish hatchery near Ethel, still in darkness, in Ron Holt’s beautifully equipped jet sled.  Ron and his dad, Clancy, form the team of Clancy’s Guided Sport Fishing.  Not ten minutes into our journey, we had a fish on.  I was the lucky first one to get to fight this 13-pound fresh, angry steelhead whose trip upriver to spawn had just been rudely interrupted. 
About 10 minutes later, after several powerful runs, stripping line as she went against and with the strong current, our deck hand Shawn slipped the big net under the belly of the fish, and it was over.  A beautiful, silver, hatchery hen was in the box.  Ok, time to quit shaking now.
At least an hour went by and then it was Doug’s turn to pit his skills against another gorgeous fish about the same size.  He was rewarded, after another intense battle, with a hen in the box.
The fight is on.
 Next, it was Gregg’s turn to experience the adrenalin rush that only comes from fighting a winter steelhead on a rushing river in a jet sled that’s drifting downstream with the rapid current though skillfully controlled by skipper Ron.  In the photo above Gregg is fighting a wily fish (visible just under his right arm).  Note the doubled-over pole just to the right of his shoulder.  Before the day was over Gregg got another beautiful fish, totaling four for the Koskelas, and a fourth fisherman, John, also caught two more. 

Koskela men and their fish.
Six fish total in the boat on a day when fish were scarce.  I don’t believe anyone else had more than one or two.  We were fortunate and privileged to be fishing with a great guide who not only knows the water like the back of his hand, but who also knows exactly the right lures to use along with his secret “scent” (that you dip your lure in before casting) which the fish cannot resist.
Ron's dad, Clancy, and his clients, come alongside for a mid-morning break.  Ironically, I fished with Clancy 35 years ago on the Upper Sacramento River near Balls Ferry, early in his career.  It was either with long time friend Ken Kerley or longer time friend, Ed Wall, both of San Jose, CA. 
A monster thank you to Doug’s wife, Jamie, who made this adventure possible via a “significant birthday” present to her husband.   You'll have to ask Doug how old he is; my lips are zipped.  O, you can click on any photo to make the image larger.

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas 2012
To You and Yours
I really like this photo, as it reminds me of childhood winters in the Midwest.  I found it online and I believe it was taken in Michigan's Upper Peninsula.  Hope your Christmas is filled with its true meaning and your New Year brings joy and happiness.  -RK

Tuesday, December 04, 2012

A Tribute To A Gritty and Determined Young Woman

Our granddaughter, Talli, ran Cross Country for Azusa Pacific University this past Fall.  Their season culminated on November 10 taking first place at the National Christian College Athletic Association (NCCAA) National Championship Meet in Cedarville, Ohio.

Talli (center in above photo) came in third on her winning team and 20th overall in a time of 19 minutes flat.  But that only tells you part of the story.

She ran the entire race in pain, thinking she had shin splints.  "It seemed go get a little better as I ran," she said gamely while home for the Thanksgiving holiday.  Well, she's been in the APU trainer's office quite a bit since then, and finally, after recent MRIs, it was determined that she has a STRESS FRACTURE in both of her legs!  Such fractures are extremely hard to diagnose and often take a long time to do so.

So not only did she run one of the best races in her life, but she was 20th in the country with two stress fractures -- to me a virtually impossible accomplishment.  To say that we are proud of this young lady would be the understatement of the century. 

The photo above, taken a few days ago with some friends on a hill above the APU campus, shows Talli (far right) wearing a boot on one of her legs.  That was before she learned yesterday that she had factures in both legs.  We're now wondering if she's going to have to wear a boot on both legs!

As an aside, sorry it's been so long in posting.  I've simply been busy with other pressures.  I'll try to do better in the days ahead, but this story was too important to overlook.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

A Visit to the Seattle Seahawks Training Camp

"Quarterback competition" has been the key word in the Seattle Seahawks training camp which has been going on for two weeks now.  Kay Lynne and I visited the training facility yesterday morning accompanied by son Doug who planned and organized the outing.  Many thanks, Doug; it was a most enjoyable time.

Newly signed Matt Flynn (from Green Bay), rookie Russell Wilson (U of Wisconsin) and veteran Tavaris Jackson (last year's starter) are all vying to be the starting quarter back for 2012.  As of today, it looks like Matt Flynn is in the lead, named to start Saturday's game and play the first half.  Wilson will get the nod in the second half.  Same as the first game.  TJack, unfortunately, is rumored to be on the trading block.

I took a few photos, and above are Flynn (15) and Wilson (3) getting ready for a passing drill with several of the top receivers -- Sydney Rice (long hair), Doug Baldwin (89), Deon Butler (11), Golden Tate (81) and Braylon Edwards (17).

Above, in a quarterback drill, Russell Wilson hands off to rookie running back Robert Turbin from Utah State.  He's a tank who can squeeze through small holes with blinding speed.  He should be fun to watch this year.

Above, line coach Tom Cable works with the versatile 300-lb behemoths who make up Seattle's offensive line.  These guys are not only big, but they can move like cats.  Cable teaches each one to play any line position (except center) so he has ultimate versatility and substitution capabilities.  Seattle is expected to give the 49ers a run for the NFC West title -- which may be a daunting task.  We shall see.  Btw, click on any photo to make a larger image.

Tuesday, August 07, 2012

Perfect Weather Enhances Victoria, B.C. Trip With Long-Time Friends

It isn't often you get to visit a real castle.  But we did so last weekend on a trip to Victoria, B.C. with our long-time friends, Dwight and Lynnette Klassen, from discovery Bay, California.  Dwight and I have been friends for over 50 years, first meeting as incoming freshmen at Westmont College in Santa Barbara, California.  That's Craigdarroch Castle above, located in the heart of Victoria.  Completed in 1908, the castle was primarily the home of coal barron Robert Dunsmuir (the namesake of the city of Dunsmuir, California) and his wife, Joan, and several children and grandchildren.  It has also served as a military hospital, a college and a music school.

Above are Dwight, Lynnette and Kay Lynne at the entrance to the castle.  Below is the "everyday" dining room of the Dunsmuirs, reflecting the opulence in which the very rich lived at the beginning of the 20th century.

The formal dining room used when there were guests was even more elaborate.

We arrived in Canada on Friday evening and made our way to Brentwood Bay, where Kay Lynne and I had first visited about 40 years ago.  Then it was called Brentwood Inn and was a small motel with a coffee shop.  Now it is Brentwood Bay Lodge and Pub with hundreds of waterfront rooms and a dock and marina at water's edge.  That's the four old friends above, Lynnette, Dwight, Kay Lynne and moi.

On Saturday, we visited the Royal Canadian Museum, also in downtown Victoria, known for its exhbits of pre-historic creatures and its re-creation of Victoria streets as they looked about 100 years ago.   Above photo is a reconstruction of one of the dinosaur skeletons.

Saturday morning we spent down at the harbor.  Above pic was taken from a harbor dock looking toward the famous Empress Hotel.  We passed on afternoon tea this time.

We enjoyed absolutely fabulous weather for the entire weekend -- an unusual occurrence in Victoria.  On the way back to the ferry dock in Sydney for the return trip home, we stopped and had lunch at the Rum Runner Pub, a delightful eatery.  Above is the view from the restaurant looking back toward Anacortes and Mt. Baker, which you can make out in the distant mountain range just to the right of center.  You can click on any photo for a larger view of it.  The ferry ride back through the San Juan Islands was the perfect ending to a wonderful weekend.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Photo Post - A Whale of A Good Time With Friends

The killer whale called the Orca (above) is what we were seeking to view in its natural habitat.  Our long-time friends, Ed and Darlene Wall from San Jose, California, visited us last week, and so we went on the Victoria Clipper on a whale-watching excursion last Thursday.   On the 2-1/2 hour search on the Clipper we did see several Orcas swimming in families -- all but one from the local "J" pod, but none as close as in the shot above, which was taken on a similar trip in 2008.

Above, we are approaching the Deception Pass Bridge at the north end of Whidbey Island on our way to where the whales frolic, mostly in the Strait of Juan de Fuca adjacent to the San Juan Islands.  The area just past the bridge was shrouded in fog for several miles until we got out in open water.

After the whale-watching, we pulled into Friday Harbor to have a late lunch.  Coincidentally, the Washington State ferry, the Yakima, was just pulling into her berth, presumably on her way to Sydney, BC, near Victoria.

Above are Ed & Darlene making their way back to the Clipper after a short shopping jaunt following lunch.

The actual harbor at Friday Harbor bustles with activity all the time.  As in any Washington State harbor, you'll find a diverse variety of locally owned vessels.

Just as we were getting ready to board the Clipper for our return voyage to Seattle, the movie-famous schooner, Spike Africa, chugged back toward her berth after an afternoon of charter sailing with a load of tourists.  Built by well known maritimer, Bob Sloan, she is functionally elegant and provides an unforgettable sailing adventure for all who climb aboard.

Friday, May 18, 2012

Talli Makes State Meet For 6th Time in H.S. Track and Cross-Country Career; Comes In 2nd in District in 3,000 Meters To Qualify

Our high school granddaughter, Talli, a Senior, qualified yesterday for the High School State Track Meet of Oregon in Eugene May 25 & 26, by running a 10:49 race in the 3,000 meters, coming in second in the District by only two seconds.

In posted times for the year, Talli is actually first in her District with her 10:43 PR time a few weeks ago at the Centennial Invitational.  In the photo above taken by her dad, she (left, in blue) is approaching the finish line in yesterday’s run already having established second place but was just not quite able to overtake first place.  She ran a fabulous race.

At the State meet, she is tentatively scheduled to run, pending final adjustments, just before noon next Friday, May 25, at the famed Hayward Field (think Steve Prefontaine) on the University of Oregon Campus.
Congratulations, Talli, on an incredible high school Track and Cross Country career! She has made the State meet SIX TIMES during her four years of high school.  This is her second time at the State meet in Track, and she made State all four years in Cross country.  I’m not sure how many varsity letters Talli has, but I think it’s in double digits. 
Now I’m wondering if she’ll like the feel of the track at Azusa Pacific well enough to run in college?  But I think I also may have overheard her say, “Show me the scholarship money first!”  Smart girl.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Talli Beats Five Boys and Wins 3,000 Women’s Run in Hillsborough

Our HS senior granddaughter, Talli, yesterday tied her own personal best in the varsity track 3,000-meter run and won the women’s race in just under 11 minutes in a dual meet with Century High School in Hillsborough, Oregon.  With the guys running with the gals (to reduce heats) Talli beat four of the nine Newberg guys in the race.

I’d say that’s mighty good!
She’s been working hard lately, and it is paying off for her.  The photo above shows her ahead of two boys and heading for the finish line.  Based on analysis of her time in this race, she may qualify to run in the fast heat at the Centennial Invitational a week from Saturday.  Go Talli!

As long as we’re on the subject of grandkids, it’s been a while since I’ve posted their photos…..

Above are their Easter photos taken a week ago Sunday.  That’s Talli, Aubrey and Hayley in the top pic and Ally and NJ in the bottom pic.  Are they special, or what?

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Three Ancient Jocks Attempt to Conquer Spring Training in Phoenix – Post #3

We Actually Saw Some Baseball

Amidst the disorientation, forgetfulness, old-men-driving-in-a-strange-town-antics, and just general tomfoolery that all went on during our time in Arizona, we actually saw some baseball!

In fact, all three games that we took in were good baseball games other than the scores, which in two cases at least, could have been different. The first game we saw featured the Giants hosting the Cubs in Scottsdale. The good guys (Giants, of course) scored first but ended up losing the game, 8-6.

We sat behind a boisterous group of Cub fans who were enjoying the 85-degree temps with us, and who normally would be happy to be away from the friendly confines at this time of the year, but the temps in Chicago were not far behind – very abnormally in the 60’s. A gal, who obviously knew her baseball and who also was not afraid to speak her mind, began raving about the Cubs reorganization and their new president, youthful phenom Theo Epstein.

Unfortunately, the Cubs, again this year, are not figured to go anywhere in the NL Central – not with St. Louis, Milwaukee and even Cincinnati in that same division. The gal yakked on and on about Epstein, so finally I asked her, “What’s so good about him so far?” (the Cubs haven’t made many changes in the time he’s been with them).

Her answer: “He’s cute.”

About then the Cubbies rallied for a few runs and all the Cub fans came to life. I was born in Chicago, so I’m not exactly a Cub-hater. But the best part of this game, for me, was that I think sitting in the hot sun for several hours put the nail in the coffin of the bad chest cold I had had for a couple of weeks previous.

The second game we saw was against the Cleveland Indians, again in Scottsdale. But this time our seats were down the right field line – Giants territory. In spite of that, we happened to sit behind a young couple who were from the Cleveland area but who had recently moved to Kentucky so the man could attend seminary. They were Cleveland fans.

He was a married Roman Catholic who was planning to enter the Diaconate (new to me) of the Church and eventually assist a priest in a local parish. He was a knowledgeable baseball fan as well as a smart seminary student, and so he, Joe and I had a wonderful discussion about the church, his mission – and baseball.

He may be one of the most interesting young men – if not one of the most dedicated – I’ve ever encountered. Dwight and his wife talked family dynamics (wives serve equally in the Diaconate) and kids (they had two young children). Another excellent game, which, incidentally, ended up tied at 6. They don’t go into extra innings in Spring Training.

The final game – Giants against my hometown Seattle Mariners in the Mariners stadium in Peoria – turned out to be the best game of all (pic above shows M's stretching and warming up before the game -- #20 is hard hitting Mike Carp). Giants bats finally came to life in this one, and they pretty much sewed up the game early, although the M’s came on late to get within a couple runs. Final score, if I remember correctly, was 8-6 Giants.

But the interesting thing was how beautiful the Mariners stadium complex was in comparison to the Giants’. The M’s are in a farther-out suburb of Phoenix and share the complex with the San Diego Padres; however, there is a beautiful new stadium, ample parking and a slew of restaurants and shopping across the street.

The Giants, on the other hand, play in downtown Scottsdale in an older park with uncomfortable seating and totally inadequate parking (see first post). The Giants facility is fine overall, but it’s obvious the newer complexes have many fan advantages.

I’d have a photo of the three of us normally in this post. Dwight had a lady take one on his FILM camera (he’s techno-challenged) but she somehow didn’t click the shutter correctly. So when he got home and developed the film, nothing was there but the shots he took.

He told me yesterday he’s looking at an iPhone. Guaranteed more interesting stories if he gets one. :-)  

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Three Ancient Jocks Attempt to Conquer Spring Training in Phoenix – Post #2

My Smart Phone Saves Our Bacon

When three old codgers, once proficient baseball team mates, rendezvous in Phoenix some 50 years after their prime to take in several Spring Training games – well, strange things can happen.

Cell phones can vanish. Deteriorating brain cells can short out and cause the loss of all sense of direction. Meticulously laid plans can unravel. And it all happened the first day we were there (see previous post).

Of the three of us, Joe is probably the least tech savvy, but I’m not around him enough to really know. He’s a retired high school teacher, as is Dwight, and they obviously had to have enough skills to navigate the school system – of 10 years ago. However, Joe had given his cell phone to his daughter recently and came on the trip without one.

As we learned after the fact, Dwight’s cell had fallen out of the pocket of his loosely fitted pants onto the floor of his car on the way to his departing airport, and he arrived in Arizona without one as well. As for myself, I’m an age-appropriate tech junkie, so my phone was strapped securely to my belt.

Why is this important? My smart phone (an i-phone4) saved our bacon. Many times.

Of course the phone has built-in GPS, and so we were able to easily navigate out of the airport and quickly head in the right direction to the ballpark of the first game we were going to see. Dwight drove the rental car, I sat in the right seat as navigator, and Joe periodically – no, often – shouted what he perceived as warnings from the back seat – which were usually ignored.

The phone GPS system does not talk to you sweetly with directions. However, it is a good mapping device, and shows your location, so you can navigate better than if you had a paper map. And it’s search feature was primarily the element which saved the hides of these old, directionally handicapped friends.

For example, after the first game in Scottsdale on Tuesday, I just plugged in the name of our hotel in Mesa (we got by far the best deal there), and my trusty phone pointed the way without error. When we got hungry later in the evening, the i-phone suggested three great restaurants, all less than a mile away.

And so it went. When Joe needed to text his daughter, it was a snap. When we needed to find the Giants’ minor league practice facility (photo above) – no problem. And when we needed to find the best way to drive 60 miles to the Mariners’ game in Peoria on Thursday, the i-phone came through again.

I wonder how bad-off these three old friends would have been without a smart phone. Not sure I want to think much about that.

Monday, March 19, 2012

Three Ancient Jocks Attempt to Conquer Spring Training in Phoenix

POST #1 – Almost A Strike Out on Day One

I can’t remember exactly when we decided to go to Spring Training, but I think it was back in January. Several of us San Jose State college roommates (from back in the late 1950’s) had been emailing about which San Francisco Giants games we wanted to attend this year – something we did initially a few years ago.

Somehow we struck on the idea of going to Spring Training in Arizona where “you can see the teams and players up close,” rather than going to regular season games. After many digital discussions, we picked some dates that seemed to work. The Cubs at the Giants home stadium in Scottsdale last Tuesday afternoon (above photo), the Indians (also at Scottsdale) on Wednesday afternoon, and the Mariners at their home stadium in Peoria against the Giants on Thursday evening. We were happy with the schedule.

The two other guys, Dwight Klassen of Discovery Bay, California, and Joe Medal of San Jose, California are Giants fans of course. I’ve been a Giants fan since the Bobby Thompson home run in 1951 against the Dodgers, which got them into the World Series that year. All three of us lived together in college and have been friends ever since. Our birthdates are separated by only a month, and all of us love every aspect of the incredible game of baseball.

I should point out that we played a fairly high level of organized softball together for almost 10 years after college – not the slow pitch variety that is so popular now, but the fast pitch version where the ball travels nearly as fast as a baseball, but the pitcher’s mound is 20-feet closer to the batter than in baseball. If you blink at the plate, the ball is in the catcher’s glove.

Enough history. We planned to meet in Phoenix at Sky Harbor airport last Tuesday morning about 10:30, which would give us plenty of time to get to Scottsdale by the 1:05 game time. Or so we thought.

I tried calling Dwight’s cell phone as soon as I landed about 10:15. I muttered as the phone message said, “the Verizon customer you are trying to reach is unavailable at this time.” “Where could he be?” I thought. Dwight is not exactly a techno freak, and I immediately wondered if he had forgotten his phone (which has happened before).

I called his wife a bit later when I realized that Dwight and Joe came in at one terminal and I had arrived at another. There was no way we could meet “at baggage” as we had arranged, because each terminal had its own baggage pick up. STRIKE ONE.

I determined that the best chance of meeting up with them (especially if Dwight had no phone) was to take the shuttle bus over to the car rental center and we would likely run into each other there. Wrong. After an hour’s wait, I finally called Dwight’s wife at their home and asked if she knew if he had taken his phone with him. She had no idea, but thought so. So I told her I was at the car rental center in case Dwight called home asking if she’d heard from me. Turns out it was good that I had done so.

I then went over to the car rental agency with whom I knew he had made the reservation and asked if they had a car ready for Klassen. After several minutes of looking, the agent said, “We can’t find a thing under that name.” STRIKE TWO. And it was less than two hours to game time. I was getting very antsy.

Finally, a half hour later, here comes Dwight and Joe, looking frustrated and a bit disheveled. “Where’s your phone? I ask him. “It must have dropped out of my pocket in the car before I walked into the Oakland airport,” he said sheepishly. “I don’t have it.” Fortunately, he had been able to call his wife and find out where I was.

Ok, now to solve the car dilemma. Of course the biggest dilemma was the comedy of misunderstandings, wrong turns and incorrect assumptions made by three old men who used to be able to easily get ‘em out on the ball field. Age is not kind, even to old athletes.

To make a long story short, using my cell phone, Dwight finally tracked down the persons with whom he had made the reservation (a “travel club” with special deals) and we were able to get our car and head towards Scottsdale. In the frustrating process, we learned the rental agency would have been happy to provide us with a car for three days – but at more than $800! Our “club rate” was only $165, so we were pretty freaked until Dwight got it worked out. Amazing how supply, demand and a simple advance reservation can affect the price you end up paying. O yeah, and spelling the customer’s name correctly (they had it under Klaason, not Klassen, so the computer search did not bring it up).

Our buddy Joe just sat contentedly under his large, fedora-like wide-brimmed hat while Dwight and I stewed over the mix-up. Joe is a straightline guy – relatively unaffected by circumstance.

We finally arrived at the stadium just as the National Anthem was being sung. But of course in downtown Scottsdale, there wasn’t a parking place within a half mile of the stadium. We finally found a spot quite a ways away and began the long, slow walk. Tres viejecitos andando mas despacio.

The first good thing that happened to us that day was in the form of a pretty young college gal who was driving a converted golf cart that was carting passengers from their cars to the field. We jumped on, and, later minus $10, arrived at our seats just as the Giants were coming to bat.

The Cubs eventually won, 8-6, but something happened after the game that had NEVER before happened to any of us. We couldn’t remember where we had parked. New city. New ballpark. New streets. Pretty girl driving the golf cart. We were doomed.

For 45 minutes after the game we drove around the stadium area to no avail. We kept explaining to the kind post-game cart driver where we thought the car was, and he would drive there – but our car was nowhere to be seen. Dwight might could be excused as he sat up front next to the young lady, while Joe and I were talking in the back and never paid attention to where we got on the jitney. And I didn’t mark the gps on my phone.

Eventually the after-game driver found the car, based on descriptions of the area we each thought we remembered. Ageing is wonderful in many ways – but not when you’re in a strange place. It was almost STRIKE THREE, but we finally, sheepishly, got in our car and headed for the hotel.

Friday, January 20, 2012

Seattle Is A Wimp?

The Ken and Barbie wise-guys in Los Angeles called us Seattle folks “wimps” yesterday because they heard we were crippled and grumbling from the horrific snow and ice storm which is finally now on the melt.

O yeah? I’d love to see how they would handle the barrage of elements that hit us during the past three days. Tinseltown comments, by the way, are pretty much ignored up here in the real world.

Pictured above is what happens when a tree becomes snow-laden and then slightly melts in the day-time sun but then re-freezes in the night chill. The heavy ice that accumulates becomes too much for the tree to bear, and it comes down – not caring what is in the way. Pictured at the top, in contrast, is a sample of the beauty that can be gleaned even from adversity – both photos taken by

When a tree falls on power lines, people are suddenly without electricity. Right now (Friday evening) almost a quarter of a MILLION homes still are in the dark. We were without power for 15 hours on Thursday, and that seemed like an eternity. But we were among the first to get our power back. I can only imagine how these folks are feeling as many of them are now approaching 48 hours of heatless homes.

Above is what our town house complex looked like on Wednesday morning looking out from our garage. Still tonight, the now solidly frozen, tire rutted snow is 6” deep – making it nearly impossible to even walk on. Yesterday, I could not navigate the 200 feet to our mailbox on the slippery ruts, grooves and frozen slush.  I simply didn't trust my decrepit knees to hold me up in the wind.

And I don’t consider myself a “wimp”. I grew up in Chicago which can have pretty hideous winter weather, but add steep hills nd an abundance of tall fir trees, and then you have what we have experienced here.

Temperatures finally rose above the freezing mark this morning, but it’s still looking like another day, if not two, before the melt-off is complete. More rain and slowly rising temps tonight are creating more havoc in some areas. Early today when melting snow caused a nearby river to rise suddenly, a car was swept away into the fast-moving water, and lives were lost.

We’ve lived in the Pacific Northwest for almost eight years. We’ve had longer winter storms in that time but none this intensely devastating. We’re thinking tonight of all of those still without power. Crews are coming in from out-of-state to help get things back to normal. It isn’t going to be easy.

Tuesday, January 03, 2012

In His New Book, “Simply Jesus,” N.T. Wright Suggests We May Miss the Essence of Christianity If We Don’t Understand the Implications of Who Jesus Is

I just finished reading Simply Jesus by Anglican theologian N.T. Wright over the holidays, and, once again, he has radically disturbed my very Western, Americanized perception of Christianity.

On the other hand, in doing so, he has offered a vision of Jesus that is much more compelling, and, which, according to the author, deals with the right questions and enables us to gain a fresh worldview – that of first century Christians.

Wright points out that the questions we ask about Jesus as 21st-century American Christians are very different from those asked by those in the first century. Our questions are generally quite direct: Do heaven and hell exist? How do I get to the first and avoid the second?

Back then, he suggests, the questions were very likely quite different. First century Palestinians had quite a different worldview than ours, and we need to understand their worldview in order to understand what it meant for Jesus to be born, live, die and be resurrected in that period of history. Only then can we understand enough to ask the right questions today.

And so for most of the book, Wright weaves an intricate thread consisting of the strands of history, culture and religion that formed the genre of first century Christianity.
What emerges is an understanding of Jesus that you or I likely did not learn in Sunday School. But it is a powerful and enlightening tapestry which is woven. We learn, according to Wright, that Jesus himself, by his death and resurrection, established the kingdom of God on earth which continues now and will be fully known at his second coming (in spite of the predicaments we find our world in today).

Of course there is considerable theological discussion on the whens and wherefores of the kingdom, but Wright weaves a tightknit and comprehensive brief for his views.
I found the book a fascinating read. But keep your mind open to fresh gleanings. The Jesus you meet in this book is one you’ve likely not seen quite this way before.