There was a time in my life when I left the church. It was when stories about abuse and harm that happened in churches were being shared and I couldn’t reconcile what I saw as a lack of accountability and restoration with a mission that was for the wholeness of Love. I decided, very intentionally, that I would never participate in organized religion again.

This was also about the time when I met my partner, Alan. For one of our first dates, he took me canoeing down the Brule River and began introducing me to the canon of trout fishing. The books were never really about fishing. They described philosophies of life, ways of being, and like a good sermon, they were inspirational. Several used words like meditative, contemplative, cathedral of the pines, river as church, the sacred, the holy. In the autobiographical elegy “A River Runs Through It,” Norman Maclean describes growing up under the direction of his father, who was a Presbyterian minister and fly fisherman, and that there existed “no clear line between fishing and religion.”

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