“Visit the moon without leaving Idaho,” reads the cover of one of the brochures for Craters of the Moon National Monument in Idaho, a place Chandler and I visited on our recent trip. It’s a fascinating place with over 53,000 acres of cinder cones, lava tubes, tree molds, lava rivers, spatter cones, and lava beds as far as you can see. In 1969, Apollo astronauts came here to study geology that would help them identify rock formations on the moon. NASA still uses it today to study volcanic formations on Mars and train future martian explorers to be field geologists.
Chandler loved it. He’s always been fascinated with strange geological formations and this trip was rich with examples from Postpile National Park in California to Zion National Park in Utah, but none as weird as Craters of the Moon. One hill, pictured above, is covered entirely in crushed lava, making a surreal flat black backdrop to Chandler and the people climbing it. There is much that is mystical about this place; it definitely has an other-worldly quality.
Chandler’s sense of the spiritual has always been centered in the mystical, which makes me nervous sometimes, although I have come to resist putting down what I don’t understand. So far it has helped him connect with the Lord, and who am I to argue with that? A background steeped in legalism can make us fearful of anything we don’t understand, yet who are we to take issue with anyone’s spiritual journey? Arguing against someone else’s experience is a fruitless task. Better to point them to the truth than to try to prove them wrong about something we know little or nothing about.
Our job is to move people on to the truth rather than dissect their past or try to figure out whether they are right or wrong. In fact, there will be things in someone’s past that can be a springboard to the truth, and these are the things we want to look for in someone’s story rather than to try to prove them wrong. Besides, what great thing have you done by proving someone wrong? All you do is make them defensive. Better to agree with what is right about what they already believe and move on from there.
As I say in one of my songs …
Jesus is the only way,
But there’s more than one way to Jesus.
from “The Only Way” by John Fischer