What Others Are Saying:

Steve Case, through his emersion into the story, reminds us that the presence of the divine surrounds us continually and he teaches us how to tap into that presence.

 - Mary Beth Howe, Author:A Baptist Among Jews



 Mark Twain is one of my favorite authors.  I read Huckleberry Finn in my senior year in high school because it was required.  My English teacher told us it had been banned in schools in many areas of the country. I asked what other books has been banned and my teacher gave me a copy of Twain’s Letters from the Earth.  Thus began a life-long love of Twain’s work.  Letter’s from the Earth and Captain Stormfield are two of my favorite works. Ever.

 Twain’s real name was Sam Clemens.  Most of you know this.  When the riverboats would float down the Mississippi river it was one man’s job to drop a weight into the water and measure the depth. He would call out the depth to the boat pilot.


was a river-boating term. It was the spot where safe water became dangerous water and dangerous water became safe. Anything less than mark-twain was going to be hazardous. Anything more than mark-twain was safe sailing. It is strange to hear a man’s name used as a term isn’t it? If you didn’t know what the words meant, what would your name mean?)

 I want to live at the spot where dangerous becomes safe and safe becomes dangerous.  Safewater = having a discussion in the youth room about events I clipped from the news.  Dangerous water is probably setting off a dry-ice bomb in the church parking lot.

 You can live beneath mark-twain, don’t get me wrong but eventually it could get you in trouble. You can live above mark-twain but I think eventually it becomes boring.  There are times for both. If you are one of the college readers then right now is a time in your life to live above mark-twain. Study hard. Get the degree. Do what you have to do. Graduation (high school AND college) is, for some, that moment of crossing over the mark-twain line. The secret is having the experienced boatman calling out the depths and letting you know when you may be in over your head.

 I’ve been trying to think where Jesus lived.  To the pharisees he was in dangerous water...all the time. He let the disciples sail into dangerous waters on purpose just to make a point.  Maybe the God/Jesus/Holy Spirit is the one calling out the depths to us. Letting us know when it’s safe to put on more speed and when we need to pull back and pay more attention to the river in front of us.  Then it becomes up to us to listen.

Sometimes we run aground.

Sometimes we end up on the rocks.

Sometimes we can put our feet up and and enjoy the view as we travel.

But that makes me the boat-pilot. I may run aground due to my inexperience but if I don’t learn from it....if i don’t listen the next time...I could get stuck. I might lose my captain’s license. 

 Mr Twain learned to live his name. He seemed to on the border quite often.  If I ever got the nerve to get a tattoo I would get “mark-twain” the term but then I’d spend so much time explaining what I really meant.

 Sometimes being Christian is about living at mark-twain. It certainly took us into some dangerous places on mission trips. Sometimes it can be dangerous just talking about what you believe outside of the church walls.  I never want our faith.  Those are safewater.  What we do might be dangerous. Stepping outside of ANY comfort zone is dangerous. But with experience...which comes with failure...and guidance which comes from listening to the God/Jesus/Holy Spirit we will get where we are going.


 “Marrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrk Twaaaaaaaaaaaaaaain.”

 What are you sailing into?

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