Skip to content

Scissorcutting, After Summer Travels

August 8, 2017
Maywood Class 2

Charles, Arnie, Erling, Jim, and Roger  Maywood Class of 1967

Chicago River 1

Water Cannon on Chicago River

Summer began with a trip to Chicago in May for Jim’s 50th year of ordination celebrated at the Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago in Hyde Park.  The seminary hosted 50-year graduates from Maywood and Rock Island Campuses, and I enjoyed visits with four classmates: Erling Lindstrom, Roger Asplund, Arnie Pierson, and Charles Austin.

I also spent a day bumming around downtown on Michigan Avenue, visiting the Lake View building, where I had worked with my Uncle Verl, as a commercial art apprentice, when I was in high school in the fifties. I did a quick tour of the Art Institute then continued north up Michigan Avenue. The architectural boat tour was magnificent.  Afterward, I walked all the way to Wrigley Field, about six miles. Sadly, the Cubs game was a disappointment; the Cubs lost to the San Francisco Giants  6 – 4.  I did enjoy a visit at the park with Arnie Pierson.

In June we had a wonderful three-day visit with my cousin, Mark Knudsen, who came from Puyallup, Washington.  We ate at The Glockenspiel in Mt. Angel and enjoyed many hours of conversation.

Grant Memorial 1

Following Mark’s visit, we drove to southern California for a memorial service on June 17 for my cousin, Grant Bornzin.  His sister Gail was our gracious host.  We enjoyed visiting with family and a delicious catered dinner in Gail’s back yard.

Grant Memorial 7

Grant Bornzin 1940-2017      Air Force Academy Graduate

Gary Steven's 80th birthday

Susan and Gary Stevens with Tyler,      Lori and Jeff Joyce                












After returning from California we drove to Minnesota  to celebrate with Carmen’s family.  Her brother, Gary Stevens, turned 80 on June 29.  We enjoyed dinners at Jake’s Pizza, the Bergen restaurant, and Pizza Ranch.    It was good to see Greg and Tammy, Mark Stevens, and Aunt Iris with Linda and Cindy.

Summer also brings good direct sunlight through our windows for cutting, so I’ve been busy lately.  I’ve done three butterflies, one mountain stream, and a pelican.

Tiger Swallowtail 2.jpg

Tigerswallowtail                  on Coneflower

Mountain Stream

Mountain Stream


In Memory of Al Anderson

April 14, 2017

To get going on scissor-cutting in the new year I went into my file and found some beautiful drawings by my CPE supervisor, Al Anderson.  I copied them onto the back of the origami paper and began cutting.  Thank you, Al, for renewing my artistic pursuits, just as you helped renew my ministry many years ago. The drawings were done in 1980 and the cuttings in 2017.

Al Anderson 3-2017

Al Anderson Red 2017

Overwhelmed with Gratitude

March 13, 2017

It has been many months since my last post.  Carmen and I are finally recovering from back problems, sinus infection, and winter depression. We are overwhelmed with gratitude for all our blessings: improving health and energy, the love of family and friends, and of course, our beautiful home and each other.  We celebrated our 50th anniversary last August 27th with dinner at the Space Needle and wonderful visits with my brother, Gary and Debbie, and with friends, Bill and Judy.  Keith and Joel spent Christmas Eve and Day with us, what a blessing!  And finally, thank YOU, for checking in on my website.

Jim & Carm at Space Needle 1

Trials at Trinity

August 17, 2016

Copies of the Trinity saga are now available from the author.  I am excited to have the third book completed, a combined novel encompassing all the adventures, trials, and blessings of the first two books. A couple of new chapters, and some transitional material make for a pleasant read.

One friend wrote, “I just finished your wonderful book a few days ago. It is really a good story and you are a really good storyteller. It is indeed a saga of great scope with many interwoven subplots and a complex cast of characters. I found the details delightful. I was swept up in the story.”

If you would like to purchase a copy, send me an email:

Bull Elk Scissorcut

January 21, 2016

Bull ElkIt’s a new year, and I’m excited to share my latest scissorcut (4″x7″). Hunters especially should enjoy this one.  Anyone interested in purchasing, please contact me at


Heceta Head Lighthouse

December 25, 2015

Heceta Head framed

The Oregon Coast has many moods. Breakers at Heceta Head roll up onto the rocky cliffs. A distant ship heads for the mouth of the Columbia River bound for Portland. I was thrilled to do this most recent scissorcut for my good friends, Bill and Elaine Wilson of Silverton.


November 24, 2015

For the past four weeks I have been teaching a class at our church in which we have discussed religious diversity, religious extremism, and the path to peace.  On this week of Thanksgiving it seems appropriate to pray for peace, so I share my reflection, a brief summary of my presentations at Immanuel. (About two pages in length.)

As difficult as it may be for some Christians to accept, God loves other nations as much as he loves the USA. Arabic and Islamic nations are now being torn between opposing ideologies, Western secularism which holds the promise of freedom and democracy, and Islam which holds the belief that Allah has given us laws by which to live. Conservative Muslims continue the call to Jihad, a struggle against all worldly forces which would separate us from Allah, including American interference in political and economic issues. Moderate Muslims see the possibility of maintaining the faith in a pluralistic culture. Radical Muslims believe their faith represents the truth, and all the world should be converted to Islam. Ironically, the same divergent views are held by moderate and conservative Christians, equally committed to either co-existence in a pluralistic world, or to a mission of conversion for Christ.

All human beings, of every race and religion, are the Creator’s children (for those who believe in a Creator). All human beings are paradoxically good and evil, holy and sinful, wise and foolish. The problem is not “religion,” as some scientists and atheists contend, but in ignorant or naïve, extreme or unenlightened expressions of religion. Every religion needs to warn its observers of the dangers of zealotry. Passionate, well-reasoned beliefs are good. There is nothing inherently wrong with commitment, sacrifice, and dedication; but when taken to the extreme, these virtues can become distorted and twisted into spiritual blindness and evil passions.

Our friends of the Buddhist faith encourage all souls to seek enlightenment. Science and religion seek truth. What is enlightenment? What is truth? These age-old questions are being explored in new and relevant ways. Science has given humanity a new perspective on many aspects of reality, on the nature of the universe, on how our world has evolved and changed, on how things work, and often, why they are the way they are. Religion is being forced to come to terms with these facts, findings, and theories (which, if not proven, provide the most logical and consistent explanation for many phenomenon).

Most scientists exhibit humility, acknowledging that the more we know, the more we realize is still unknown. Proponents of religion have also been humbled by the amazing discoveries of science. We might say we are awed by how much control and responsibility the Creator has entrusted to humans. A smug, know-it-all attitude, whether exhibited by a scientist, religious leader, or street thug, is a sure sign of ignorance and lack of enlightenment.

Enlightened individuals are becoming more and more aware of the value and necessity of dialogue. Christianity, Judaism, and Islam all lay claim to “divinely inspired scriptures.” These writings tell of our origins, ethics, and beliefs about God. We must find ways to explore the truths within these writings which do not deny the truth within the scriptures of others. For example, within the Christian tradition, one common sense principle of interpretation is that: “Every verse or portion of scripture should be interpreted within the context of the whole.” Another example is that of historical context and on-going or progressive revelation. Some laws of the Old Testament or Jewish scriptures no longer seem relevant or valid because history (or God) has so changed our human community (slavery, polygamy, animal sacrifice, etc.).

In our world community, communication has changed the way we interact with other cultures. Most of us are “products” of our nation and religious heritage; but we are broadening our perspectives and beginning to realize that in order to co-exist, we must acknowledge the validity of other cultures and religions. In medieval times, Christians referred to Mohammedans as “infidels,” the same term Muslim extremists now use for Christians. This commitment to dialogue must become part of the mission of each of our world religions. The arrogance of religious extremism and absolutism must be renounced. Perhaps the greatest evil facing our world today is not unfaithfulness, but ignorance.

Faith is more than believing something is true without proof. Faith is the trust I place in God and in the promises God has made through the prophets and through Jesus. This faith of mine is a personal choice and commitment, and I am as certain of this truth as I can be of anything that is beyond verifiable. I cannot prove any of it, nor will I try. It works for me; it seems good as well as right. At the same time I acknowledge the value of many different faiths for those who practice them.

I recognize that others hold their beliefs with similar passion. And I believe they should have the right to do so without interference from me, from any religious institution, or from any state or government. The only exception might be religious practice which is self-evidently harmful to life, society, or the environment; or which flagrantly violates just laws. Terrorist killings such as we have witnessed in Paris and in New York on 9-11 are clearly evil acts of murder for which there is no justification in any religion.

And finally, I believe that Jews, Christians, and Muslims worship the same God, and that nothing but good can come from humble dialogue, discussing what we believe about the one true God of justice, mercy, and compassion, and why we believe as we do.