Linda Wagner has inspired a large crowd of writers through her work at the annual Seattle Pacific University writers’ conference.

She changed my life one day, in 1994, when I was working in the Humanities office at SPU. She asked if the rumors were true, that I was writing science fiction and fantasy. When I said, yes, she told me she wanted to start a reading and critique group for Christian writers of sci-fi and fantasy. That grew into a rewarding, close-knit group of writers who continued to meet regularly until just last year, when some in the group were called to other places and responsibilities.

But soon after it started, Linda invited me to join her and another mutual friend, Beth Harris (whose turn in this blog will someday come), in teaming up with a rowdy band of Christian artists to start Promontory Artists’ Association. Over the years between 1994 and now, Promontory has produced a magazine called The Crossing; hosted a long list of events organized to encourage, challenge, and inspire artists; and hosted the Web site It was there that I started Looking Closer, which was the path that led me eventually to my work with Christianity Today.

Because of Linda’s vision and dedication, a whole world of artists, both here in Seattle and out there in cyberspace, have been challenged and inspired.

This year, Linda is stepping down from her work at the SPU writer’s conference. But her work with Promontory continues. She recently helped organize an evening of looking closely at the films of master filmmaker Krzysztof Kieslowski, which was a great success.

I am confident that the moment Linda stopped and inquired about my writing was one of those moments when God granted me one of the greatest blessings I’ve known. Her friendship and care for me as an artist and as a writer about art have been fuel for my journey and protection for my work. I know she has been just such a blessing for many more besides.

Thank you, Linda, for all of your support, time, editing, counsel, and inspiration over the last decade. And thank you for being such a dedicated supporter for the Looking Closer endeavors over the past several years.