This has been a great week to walk the dogs early in the morning. The tide has been out, giving us some beautiful beach time on Mission Beach.

Our little dog, Smidgeon, checks out every strip of kelp because she just knows there are some treasures there to eat. The people may tidepool for treasures, but she scavenges the scraps that the seagulls have somehow missed.

Our chocolate lab rushes across the sand and splashes in the surf.

By 6 a.m., you no longer need a flashlight. The sun rising creates majestic images across the water and splashed across the clouds. The boats cruising across the bay intersect as the weary workers return and the expectant hopefuls begin their journeys. Eagles soar in search of their first meal of the day, the ravens and magpies shout encouragement, and the rustle and roar of the morning traffic begins.

It’s just another day in paradise.

I watched a couple of threads on Facebook this week, as friends were discussing the changing impression among Salvation Army officers of serving in Alaska. It seems in the past, Alaska was where you were sent if Territorial Headquarters didn’t know what to do with you.

People didn’t understand why some officers actually wanted to come up here. A posting in Alaska was not for the up and comers. That impression is beginning to change. Because of social media, people are seeing images posted of the beauty that surrounds us. Snow-capped mountains rise straight out of the sea. While bald eagles may be our national symbol, outside of Alaska, they are rare commodities and seldom seen.

Deer and moose and bears roaming the streets may have existed in the wild, wild west, but they didn’t know that they still do. We are the Last Frontier, and as people are captivated by its spirit, they too want to come.

What we love and what we need to have around us is fine when we are selecting communities to live in, but the things of this world that we can’t do without interfere in matters of faith and intercede between us and our Creator. The first commandment says, “You shall have no other gods before me.” When we make our comforts a form of our god, we break up the relationship between us and God. If we could stop allowing our ‘stuff’ from being more important than our calling, we could begin to enjoy all that we have.

As we post pictures and share stories of this place we love so much, I always do it with fear. If everyone wanted to come here, they would ruin the remoteness and the beauty that we enjoy.

If Alaska was as crowded as Seattle, the beauty and wild would be changed and tamed, and we wouldn’t want to live here. I’m afraid that the secret of our lands lure is out.

I’m just glad that we aren’t making it too comfortable yet that they want to stay. While we enjoy this great paradise we live in, let us not neglect to put its Creator first. That is a mystery we want to share.

Maj. John Quinn is head of the Salvation Army in Kodiak. He writes a weekly column on religion for the Kodiak Daily Mirror. Past columns can be found online at

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