1. Q. Why the title, Via Maris?
  2. A. It’s where Jesus walked, the region in which his influence began. Some 300 years before Christ, the network of Roman roads, the viae Romanae, began to extend the empire’s reach, eventually reaching Gaul, Britain, Asia and Africa. For centuries, armies and trade goods passed over these stone-paved roadways; remnants still exist; some are used to this day.

A land bridge, paralleling the Mediterranean coast, passed through Israel to connect Europe to Asia, and then to Africa: the Via Maris – the Way of the Sea. Due to the geographical constraints of the land, the natural route of this road passed through the Galilee. Jesus and his disciples would have known it, walked on it.

It was on the Via Maris that the gospel made its way outward to Ashkelon and Ashdod, Gaza and Canaan, to Migdal and Hazor, Damascus and Memphis and Anatolia. That was only the beginning.

Today, some 2,000 years later, the gospel has reached every country in the world. Jesus said, “Go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you, to the very end of the age” (Mt 28:19-20). Of the world population of nearly eight billion, 2.6 billion practice Christian faith.

Leaving Nazareth, Jesus went and lived in Capernaum, by the lake called Galilee in the area of Zebulun and Naphtali.

Thus the words of the prophet Isaiah were fulfilled:

‘Land of Zebulun, land of Naphtali, the Via Maris along the Jordan, Galilee of the Gentiles … take heed: the people living in the Land of the Shadow of Death have now seen a great light.’

From that time on, Jesus began to preach, “Repent, for the Kingdom of Heaven is near.”-Matthew 4.13-17 NIV

  1. Q. Why am I doing this?
  2. A. ‘I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your heart through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the saints, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge — that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God. Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all you ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within you, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen’ (Ephesians 3:16-21, my paraphrase).  That’s why.


And a few notes about the stories: The Dragon and the Child, a fable for grown-ups, came to me fully formed one Saturday morning when I was pulling weeds. Never happened before, hasn’t happened since. I stopped doing what I was doing, sat down at my typewriter (didn’t have a computer back then) and spent the rest of the day detailing the story while it was still fresh.

Convocation of Flies is a terrible, horrible, awful story which you may find repellant – but it is a story I believe needs to be told for no other reason than to remind us, to give some form and shape to ‘our struggle that is not against flesh and blood’ (Ephesians 6:12).

In Sprinting in La Paz, the dual sailfish tailwalk and the serenade of the Jalisco baseball team happened just the way I have described when my wife and I were in La Paz, Baja California, in 1974.

The two protagonists in River of Life, Delphine and Victor, are drawn from real life incidents and people. In the early 70’s I met an extraordinarily abrasive man, a Jew, who told me of how, at the age of 16, he had walked out of Nazi-occupied France. The man’s grating arrogance was understandable, even excusable once I heard his story. Ten years later, I heard the account of a young woman who escaped from a Communist-occupied country by miraculously crossing a river on a makeshift raft, which by all reason, should have been seen and stopped with gunfire. The woman now serves as a missionary to her country of birth.

Revolutionary is drawn from the life story of a dear friend and seminary classmate. Sadly, having served as a missionary to his country for a short span of years, he know serves in Heaven having been taken by the ravages of cancer.

I owe a debt of gratitude to my friends, writers, and critics who all serve to keep me accountable, honoring the Word of God as I plod, pen in hand, through the fields of the Lord: gratias tibi, Betsy and Francois Vilmenay, Marcus Neuman, Elena Bogdan, Sherry VanZante, Carole Lowen, Debbie Kantorik, Polly Culp, Tom Beaman, Ron Taylor, Mike Raether, Dave Craig, Ben Irao, Kelly and Steve Ernst and Mark and Holly Schipper. With untold gratitude, I honor to my wife and ‘Sweet Babboo,’ Jeri Beth for her patience, and for her enduring love.

Pete Schipper
Santa Cruz, California
September, 2023