Friday, March 23, 2012

Bishop's Election, Part Eight

It's the season of Lent, which means that many church leaders are busier than they typically are. Actually, I'm not sure if others are, but I certainly find myself with less time to wonder and talk about the upcoming bishop's election.

Still, though, whenever we talk about the appropriate qualifications for bishop, we almost always come up with at least a few basic models for how a bishop should operate.

On the one hand, some folks want a bold and visionary leader ~ someone who can challenge the pastors and congregations of the synod in the work they do. Some believe we need a bold and visionary leader who can be a voice of the church promoting justice in the public sphere.

Others believe that the primary role of a bishop should be as a pastor to the pastors of the synod ~ and some would say the bishop should be a pastor to the congregations of the synod. Under this model, the bishop would provide pastoral care to congregations and leaders of congregations in the synod.

Another easy model to fall in to would be for the bishop to serve as the primary administrator of the synodical business ~ to manage official issues like pastoral mobility, candidacy, budget, advocacy ministry, etc.

I'm not sure any of these are appropriate job descriptions for a bishop given our current time and location.

We live in a completely different time and society from when our current bishop was first elected. Eighteen years ago, very few people had cell phones, and even fewer used the internet. Now, people all over the world access the internet using their cell phone.

I respect our current bishop, and appreciate the work he has done. However, it's time in our culture and in our synod to re-think the role of bishop.

What if, today, the primary role of the bishop and the office of the bishop, is to get out of the way of ministry? What if the primary role of the bishop and the office of the bishop is to receive the stories of what's happening in congregations and among communities ~ and then to share those stories with communities who are involved in ministry in other places?

I believe that the synod would benefit from a bishop, and an office of the bishop, that would be primarily concerned with facilitating networks with the goal of problem-solving and strengthening ministry. Other than in the occasional role of public ritual and prophetic voice, the bishop should be mostly invisible, and instead should focus on highlighting congregational ministry.


Thursday, March 22, 2012

Back Home, Additonal Reflections

So, it's been a few days since I returned from the Fuller Center Spring Bicycle Adventure, riding with twenty-something other people down the Natchez Trace Parkway to raise money for the Fuller Center. I have to say, looking back, I feel like the trip was too short. I understand that a week was probably the appropriate amount of time for this trip, given spring schedules and family commitments and vacation schedules, etc.

But it still felt too short. It felt like we just were starting to get to know one another, just starting to fall into a rhythm of life together after a week, and then we go our separate ways and back to our 'regular' lives.

I've been on quite a few week-long trips that also involve sleeping on the church building floors (and other potentially uncomfortable places), mostly trips with youth groups ~ so I was ready for that aspect of this adventure.

What I wasn't ready for, though, was how great it would be to not be in charge. I was talking with a couple other pastors who were riding last week, and we all celebrated the freedom we were experiencing from having to make decisions. Each of us has led similar types of trips with youth groups, they (since they're both retired) have probably led many more than I have. But to experience the trip as a participant instead of as the leader was tremendously freeing for me.

At the same time, it wasn't a church trip ~ and because of that, I missed some of the aspects of this type of adventure that I've come to expect. For instance, directed conversation. We had a devotion every morning before we rode, and we had some group meetings. Other than that, though, there was no all-group conversations reflecting on our experience. Don't get me wrong ~ this was a different type of trip from what I've led, so I'm not advocating for the Fuller Center to include anything like that on future trips. I'm just saying I noticed that we didn't do that.

But because we didn't, I found it tougher to get to know the others on the trip. What I'm accustomed to is that I will know the participants before we leave, and that they'll all know each other as well. One of the things that happens in our week together, particularly through the group-building and directed conversation components of the trip, is that we get to know each other much better than we had before.

And so, without those components, after a week with these folks, I found myself wanting to have more time. I felt like we were just halfway through the trip.

I'm looking forward to next year, and next year I'll know better what to expect. Until then, let the adventure continue.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Days Six and Seven ~ Houston (MS) to Kosciusko to Jackson

Days six and seven on the Natchez Trace were beautiful. The weather, a little cool in the morning, and sunny & warm by afternoon, was perfect. The scenery, cypress forests and family farms and tornado devastation and a picturesque reservoir, took our breath away for most of both days.

I rode at the very back of the group on day six. Every day on the bike, two riders volunteer to 'sweep', or to make sure that we know where the back is and that no one ever rides alone at the back of the group.

The ride was leisurely, relaxed, and I reminded myself again of the joy of riding a bicycle. Perhaps the best moment of the day was when my co-sweep, Jonas, saw a dead armadillo in the road ahead ~ which he proceeded to bunny-hop at about 15 miles per hour.

Today, day seven, I rode at the front. There were between five and seven of us in a paceline, working together to ride faster than most of us could on our own. We haven't known each other very well for very long, but we were able to work together to move down the road quickly. And I reminded myself again, as we were flying down the highway, of the joy of riding a bicycle.

It was an amazing week with a really remarkable group of people ~ enjoying one another's company and participating in an activity about which we're all passionate, all while contributing to improving the world of which we're all a part.

I'm kind of looking forward to next year.

Let the adventure continue.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Day Five ~ Houston and Water Valley

We took a rest day today. Here's a rest day on the Fuller Center Bicycle Adventure.

Breakfast at 6:45 am. Load into a church bus and drive 45 minutes (Houston to Water Valley), where we met the folks we'd be spending the day with.

We split into five groups, each group heading to a different house to work on. I ended up spending a hotter-than-normal-spring-day-in-Mississippi on a roof with six other folks from the bicycle adventure, a few other local volunteers, and some guys who knew how to do the work.

Photo Credit: Nathan Slabaugh
We tore the old shingles off the roof, repaired the roofing in the places where that was necessary, and put the new shingles on. Those of us who didn't know roofing spent our time doing the hot and scratchy work of ripping the fiberglass shingles off the roof and hauling them to the dump truck.

The woman who lives in the house we were working on came out to talk with us a couple times, and was incredibly grateful for the work we were able to do.

It's tremendously gratifying to be able to directly connect with the work the Fuller Center is facilitating in communities all over this country and around the world. I know the bicycling is important, since we get to surprise people in the communities we end up in ~ and we get to share the end result of the bike trip, the end result of the fundraising we've done in anticipation of this trip. But to spend the day actually and physically connecting with the work gives me a more complete experience, which then gives me better words to talk about this work.

Of course, we had an amazing barbecue lunch in the middle of the day. And then, before we came back to the church building, we had another 'I-can't-believe-it' potluck at the local United Methodist Church.

Now, with non-cycling muscles sore from a day of work, we're getting cleaned up and ready to ride down the road tomorrow.

That's a day off on the bicycle adventure ~ let the adventure continue.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Day Four ~ Saltillo to Houston (MS)

Just a note ~ this post will also be up at the Fuller Center Bicycle Adventure Blog.  


There was a lot more traffic on the Trace today as we passed by Tupelo. Other than today, though, as we've been rolling our way down the Natchez Trace Parkway, we've hardly seen any traffic. Cars would pass occasionally, but we're often on our own.

It was a gorgeous day on the bikes today. It was a little overcast when we started. Before long, though, the sun came out and kept us warm all the way into Houston, Mississippi.

Sometimes we ride with others on the trip, sharing stories and learning more about each other all the time. Sometimes we ride by ourself, accompanied by little other than our thoughts as we stare either at the white line under our front wheel or at the road disappearing in the distance.

Most of the time we're surrounded by woods, passing meadows and farms along the way. It sometimes feels like we're out in the middle of the wilderness. But then another roadway crosses our path (some of which are quite busy), and we're reminded that we're not really so far removed from the rest of the world.

But when we talk with people along the way, or when we arrive at our destination for the evening, it almost feels like we're more removed from reality. We're often met by surprise and almost-disbelief when people hear what we're doing. For instance, our greeter here at Parkway Baptist remarked that riding 40 miles on a bike sounds like torture to him.

In spite of what people may or may not think about our adventure, we've been warmly welcomed into the churches and homes of folks we've met along the way. And I think we're all excited about staying two nights in the same place. First, we get a day off the bikes.

More importantly, though, we get the opportunity tomorrow to participate more directly in the work the Fuller Center is all about. We'll be heading out to three different homes to do repair work. We'll creating safer and more secure conditions for folks who, for whatever reason, aren't able to make the repairs themselves.

This is what our trip is all about ~ creating safe and comfortable housing, while taking the typical capitalist trappings (profit, interest, etc.) out of the equation.

We're spending the week riding across this part of the country, raising money and riding bikes and building homes and building relationships. What could be better?

Let the adventure continue.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Day Three ~ Collinwood to Saltillo

A beautiful 88 miles of riding today. We rode through cool, overcast weather for much of the day before the sun broke through and toasted our skin just a little bit.

We rolled in to First Baptist Church in Saltillo, Mississippi ~ which is a big enough facility that many of us found floor in a private or semi-private room to sleep on.

After being shuttled to a couple members' homes for showers, we were blessed by plentiful food provided by a generous congregation. And tonight, there's no official program. Some of us were able to get the group's laundry done, which (let me say) is a tremendous blessing. Other than that, and a few other chores, we have an evening mostly free to do what we want here in this big-church-in-a-small-town facility.

Some of us seem to be going to bed early, some went out for ice cream, and most seem to be simply spending time together. It's nice to mostly just relax after a long day of riding.

We were graced last night by a guest, even as we were guests at Collinwood UMC. Someone met Faith in town, and invited her to have dinner with us and to stay with us overnight. By the time we met her, Faith had ridden over 2000 miles on her bike, and had hundreds more miles to go.

She had started in Florida, headed west to Texas, made her way back east a little way, and found the Natchez Trace. She'd made it as far north on the Trace as we had made it south.

One eternal maxim might be that no matter how involved and devoted a person is to their particular passion, there's always someone more hardcore. Sure, we're doing something that many people probably wouldn't ~ but our ride is supported (we don't have to carry our own gear), we know where we're going to stay and where our food will come from every day.

To take the bold step that this woman has taken, setting out completely on her own and trusting that she'll find what she needs is, in my opinion, respectably bold. I hope she finds what she's looking for.

Tomorrow we'll ride to Houston, MS, where we'll stay two nights, taking the day Thursday to work on three building projects.

Let the adventure continue.

Monday, March 12, 2012

Day Two ~ Shady Grove to Collinwood

We've known ever since we first started to be able to see the weather reports for this week that it might rain on us. We knew yesterday as we rode through a beautiful partly couldy day that rain might move in sometime over night.

We woke up this morning and looked out the window at an overcast day ~ though, by the time we started riding, the clouds had begun releasing their stores. We know why this part of the country can be so beautifully green, since we rode through it almost all day.

It was a 55 mile day, give or take. We had rain on and off (more on than off) for almost the whole ride. The sun started to break through the clouds for me about five miles from our destination, and we've seen sun peeking through a little bit at a time since then.

The congregation here, Collinwood United Methodist Church, provided us a huge spread, potluck style again … and it was another feast for the ages.

We met quite a few of the members of this congregation, were treated to a concert by a member of this church who was really pretty good, and shared the story and ministry of the Fuller Center.

A few of us went down to the local outdoor basketball court and played a couple games ~ just to work the kinks out from sitting on a bike for a few hours.

I'm sitting outside the church building in the cool of the evening. There are bullfrogs and crickets and barking dogs providing my soundtrack ~ it seem like a fantastic way to spend the last part of the evening.

We've done good work during the day, enjoyed being together with our group and with a group of (people who before today were) strangers, shared music and food, and are now relaxing at the end of the day.

Even if a person isn't on a bicycle touring trip, it seems like a pretty good way to pass the time.

Let the adventure continue.

Day One ~ Nashville to Shady Grove

I'm posting this today (Monday) because we didn't have access to an internet signal last night. In a little while, I'll post something about today's adventures.


After a couple days of orientation, we had a morning of packing up and eating and waiting around and participating in Sunday School class at Vine Street Christian Church (Disciples of Christ). We went to their adult Sunday school, after which we listened to a pastor from the Congo talk about his congregation of Congolese immigrants, and about the situation in his home country.

Then, we circled up for a beginning devotion and blessing, loaded up on our bikes, and started riding. A little ways through part of Nashville, and we made it to the Natchez Trace Parkway.

The Trace is beautiful. We rode along rolling hills, past beautiful farms and buildings that are falling down. Up and down, around sweeping curves in the road, past other cyclists as very little traffic besides motorcyclists passed us, we had a fantastic day riding.

We rolled into the little village of Shady Grove, Tennesee and up to the United Methodist church building where we're staying tonight. We got an amazing reception as we arrived. Once all of us had arrived, the members of the congregation drove us to their homes for showers, after which we returned to a crowded fellowship hall where we were greeted by tables laden with a feast.

Now, I've been to a number of church potluck suppers at a number of different churches. I'm pretty sure that there are only two differences ~ regional variety in cuisine, and the configuration of the fellowship hall.

This potluck feast (that we didn't have to bring anything for) was very simliar to every potluck I've been to. Grown-ups load up their plates and sit down with friends and whoever else is at the table. Kids run around, trying to get to the desert table before they have dinner, and community is formed.

And no matter how much or how little food is on the tables, there's always plenty for everyone. I've only been to one church potluck that the offerings were somewhat sparce, and no one walked away hungry even from that one.

The potluck served to us by Shady Grove United Methodist Chruch was just like every one I've ever been to ~ plenty of food, plenty of good conversation, plenty of Holy Spirit in the room.

Let the adventure continue.

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Orientation Day

We arrived into Nashville yesterday for the Fuller Center Spring Bicycle Adventure.  We've met each other, and taken the time to be oriented to the week that we'll be together.

Orientation is done ~ tomorrow we'll start riding down the Natchez Trace Parkway.

As part of our orientation, we took a 'practice ride' around Nashville today.  I've never been here before, and I'm discovering that (at least where we've been so far) it's a beautiful city. 

I'm excited to see a beautiful part of the country at a beautiful time of the year ~ I'm more excited to get to know these surprising and remarkable folks who I'll be riding with for the week. 

Tomorrow, before we start the actual ride, there will be a send-off ceremony.  For those who might be interested, the send-off will be streaming live online.  The plan is to have a send-off ceremony at 11:30, and to start riding at about noon *Central Daylight Time* ~ make your own adjustments for time zone.  I'll put the ustream address for the send-off up as soon as I know it. 

Let the adventure continue.

Traveling Before Sunrise

yesterday, out the rv window
clouds hung high in the sky
above our heads
their dark underside
contrasting the lightening sky

today, the horizon is hazy,
but the sky is clear, and
all I see out the window,
hung like a child's mobile
from the bedroom ceiling

is this momentary vision,
before the sun comes up
and overpowers
the waning moon, now
just a few hours past full

Friday, March 9, 2012

Ride Down Memory Lane, Part Two

Here's the follow-up to the previous post, remembering the bikes I've ridden … well, not every single bike I've ever ridden ~ just the ones I've been able to call mine.
But before we get to that, here's a photo of bikes from the previous post, my brother on number (3) and me on number (4).
Anyway, if you're too lazy to read the previous post, here's where we are in the timeline, dear reader. We've just moved back to Colorado, and I've been riding a 9-year-old mountain bike as a commuter as I make my way around Longmont. I rode it in to the church building, to make hospital and home visits, and to run errands. My kids fondly remember riding in a trailer behind that bike to go to the YMCA, after which we'd ride through the drive-through pizza place, slide our dinner under their seat in the trailer, and make our way back home or to the church building for meetings.

7) We didn't live in Colorado for too long before I decided I wanted to start competing participating in triathlons ~ for which I would need a road bike. I entered one race in February. But since the bike portion of that race was on a gravel surface, so I was able to ride my mountain bike.
So, about a week before my first on-road event, I picked up the cheapest road bike. Two training rides before the race, and the high-pressure narrow tires felt effortless compared to the knobby mountain bike tires I was used to by then.
I rode that bike for quite a few years, little by little getting it set up exactly like I wanted it ~ the right gearing, streamlined cockpit, etc.

Within a year after we moved to Denver (in separate incidents), the mountain bike and the road bike (along with my wife's road bike, which was originally identical to mine) were stolen out of our garage ~ I blame the drug-dealing hoarder who lived in the garage across the alley.
We got her road bike back, but my two are gone. But since by this point she was no longer interested in road cycling, I took that bike over as mine, gradually (again) setting it up just like I like it.

8) With that bike set up as a triathlon bike, I needed something for around town. I jumped on the fixie bandwagon with a bike I found for pretty cheap on craigslist. Now, at least on the city streets, I can feel like I can pretend to be a hipster.

9) Sometime along the way, my brother's old mountain bike became mine. I've ridden it in a couple of off-road triathlons, and done some (really tame) mountain biking with my kids. It's been hanging in the garage for about a year, for want of a little minor work to the front shock.

10) The bike I'm riding this week in the Fuller Center Bicycle Adventure is one I picked up for really cheap. I'd like to start going out on shop-sponsored group rides, and a triathlon bike is inappropriate for that activity ~ so I got this one set up as a road bike that will also serve well as a commuter on my 13-mile ride to the office (since it's a little far and a little hilly for the fixie).
I took it out for one last training ride. It felt great for those 30 miles, and I trust that it'll keep feeling great for the 400+ were riding this next week.

To the two of my seven readers who lasted to the end, thanks for indulging my ride down memory lane.

Let the adventure continue.

Ride Down Memory Lane, Part One

The big Fuller Center Spring Bicycle Adventure begins with orientation on Saturday, and we ride out of Nashville toward Jackson on Sunday. In anticipation of spending a few hours on a bike over the course of a week, I started thinking about all the bikes I've ridden.

1) I remember seeing a photo of me on a little (probably red) tricycle, but I don't actually remember that one. I may have had another bike or two when I was very young ~ if so, that's lost to my memory.

2) The next one I remember is a single speed, bmx-style bike with coaster brakes. I rode that one around and around on the gravel road on the property where we lived. On that bike, I learned to ride a wheelie, 'peel out', and lock the brakes in a long skid.

One day, I tried a big jump of a little hill. The jump was great. The landing, however, found me on my butt on a flat slab of rock immediately before the bike found itself on my head. Fifteen stitches later and a few weeks of healing later, I was back at it. I believe the scars are still visible.

I rode that bike from the time it fit me 'til I had extended the saddle too far out of the seat tube that it bent backward. Before long, my butt was only a few inches above the rear wheel ~ before long, it was time for a different bike.

3) I was jealous of my friends who had bikes with gears that they could change. One Christmas, I'm sure after my parents got sick of me incessantly bugging them about it, I came out to find a shiny new 10-speed ready for me to ride. I learned to shift gears, work the brakes with my hands, and manage a much higher center of gravity.

4) I rode that one around for a while, until I outgrew it ~ but I still wanted to ride. I wanted to ride like Connie Carpenter, who had just won the Olympic women's road race. My dad knew a guy who spent a lot of time cycling, and who was willing to sell us a road bike that he had rebuilt. It had good components, was in good condition, and had a very cool paint job. While most bikes are smooth and shiny, this one was textured and painted matte black. Of course, I was a growing teenager and couldn't ride that one forever.

5) I inherited the bike my dad was riding, got geared up with a Campagnolo cycling hat, padded gloves, and cleated shoes. I was big-time, riding miles up and down the country roads. I kept that bike for years, riding it regularly in high school and occasionally in college.

It was on this bike that I began to discover the wonder of the freedom of urban cycling. I rode around San Antonio some, one summer evening listening to a free Stray Cats concert for a while before riding around again on empty downtown streets.

6) I still rode that yellow bike in seminary, but discovered that it was inadequate for singletrack mountain biking. There was a bike shop about a mile from my apartment, though, that was happy to sell me a relatively inexpensive mountain bike. I took a couple months getting that bike set up exactly like I wanted it. It worked well on mountain trails, and it worked well as a commuter bike. The yellow one didn't get much use any more.

Both the mountain bike and the yellow road bike moved with me to California; but neither got much use. After a couple months, we moved from a terrible apartment to a lovely little cottage. However, there was very little room in that cottage for two bikes that didn't get used. I put the yellow bike outside, and within about 5 minutes, it made its way down the street with someone who would get more use out of it than I was at the time.

I rode the mountain bike as a commuter vehicle while we were in Eugene, OR. I rode it to the nursing home where I was a chaplain, and later I rode it to the group home where I worked between internship and my first call as a pastor. And when we moved to Longmont, CO, with only one car, I rode that bike as a commuter vehicle.

That's enough for one blog post ~ I'll put the rest of the bikes up later.

Let the adventure continue.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Day (-) Two

The adventure has (sort-of) begun ~ sort-of, because although the Fuller Center Bicycle Adventure doesn't really begin 'til tomorrow (Friday) night, I'm spending Thursday and Friday traveling. 

This morning, before the sun came up, I left Denver with my dad and with Bob (you probably don't know Bob), traveling in Bob's RV.

We watched the sun come up through the windshield, and we rolled into the western edge of Kansas City, KS as the sun was approaching the horizon behind us, having spent the day traversing the beautiful prairie and rolling hills of Eastern Colorado and Kansas.

I'm barely a day into this adventure (which really doesn't start 'til Saturday), and already I've had the chance to meet some fascinating people.  We're staying with friends of Bob (remember Bob?  you probably haven't met Bob yet), who he's known for years.  They've welcomed us into their home and provided dinner, a place to sleep, and very interesting conversation. 

Tomorrow night we should be in Nashville. 

Let the adventure continue.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Getting Close

The date is getting closer. We leave in just a couple days ~ I'm almost ready to consider that we leave in not too many hours ~ for the FullerCenter Spring Bicycle Adventure.

Early Thursday morning, I'll be driving away from Denver, headed east to Kansas City, and the next day off to Nashville. Eighteen hours in an RV gets us to a new place and to the beginning of new relationships.

Over the course of the following week, we'll have six days of cycling and one day of building. We'll have quite a few hours of saddle time to travel the 400+ miles from Nashville to Jackson ~ plenty of hours on the bike, around dinner tables, and wherever else we find ourselves; plenty of time to build relationships with each other.

But more importantly, we're bringing with us thousands of dollars of contributions to the Fuller Center ~ money they'll use to provide safe and comfortable housing for folks who need help breaking the oppression of our capitalist system.

See, the Fuller Center doesn't give away free houses ~ the Fuller Center doesn't give away free home repair. The Fuller Center builds comfortable homes and makes repairs to provide a measure of safety, and the Fuller Center expects the folks for whom the work is done to pay for the work.

What the Fuller Center doesn't expect is for folks to be burdened by ridiculous and all-consuming debt in order to have an adequate home to live in.

There are still financial transactions ~ folks still pay for their homes and home repairs. The thing, though, is that the Fuller Center has removed from the transactions the concern over market forces and any preoccupation with profit.

In addition, the 'normal' ways our society determines worthiness to own a nice home (financial wealth, high standing in society, etc.) are discarded. Instead, the determination that someone deserves safe and comfortable home is made based on whether or not they currently have a safe and comfortable home.

So, while I'm excited about relationships, and about spending a full week traveling with people I don't know yet, I'm most excited about being a small part of the transformational work being done by the Fuller Center. And if you want, there's still time for you to make a contribution to the work they do.


Monday, March 5, 2012

It Felt Like the First Day of Spring

I saw a monk on rollerskates today
he was weaving between runners
and cyclists, his habit flapping in the
speed-created breeze.
                                     We weren't
alone out there, the monk and I ~
sixty-degree days at the end of
winter drag people out with the
promise of tomorrow's water-
cooler story.
                      Sixty degrees won't
last, though. Winter hasn't let go
quite yet. The monk and I were
lured out today, to skates and bike
enjoying the warm respite. I have
gloves and a jacket; I wonder if the
monk has ice skates.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Bicycle Adventure ~ What's Exciting

As the Bicycle Adventure nears, I've been pondering what it is that excites me about this trip. First, and perhaps the biggest draw, is that I get to spend a week with my dad. He planted in me the idea of riding a bike for long distances when I was a teenager and we were considering riding from our home in Texas to my grandparents' home in Florida.

Beyond that, though, what's getting me pumped about this trip is the opportunity recognize again what it means to be human.

What I mean is this. As I write this, I'm sitting in a corporate coffee shop (not the one you might think) at 8:15 in the morning in downtown Denver. The only reason I'm here is because I'm waiting for the flat on my car to be repaired. Otherwise, I'd be on my way to work.

I'm sitting here, though, watching people rush by, or at least walk with intentionality and purpose, on their way to someplace that's apparently pretty important ~ many of them on their way to work like I would be, if I didn't have a flat.

I don't know whether everyone else is like me, but I tend to get wrapped up in the day-to-day, here-and-there, respond-to-the-demands nature of having a job in our society. There are two things that, pretty quickly, jolt me out of the tedium of the monotonous ordinary ~ both of which are related to this adventure I'm embarking on very soon.

One is travel. Moving through time and space (especially traveling by not-airplane) reminds me that we're created to be in relationship with one another. Traveling provides the opportunity to meet new people, and (if you're not traveling alone) to get to know your friends better.

The other is staying in one place. I don't mean the regular 'get-up, go-to-work, come-home, go-to-bed, repeat' kind of staying in one place. I mean taking the time to really get to know the patch of ground where you live, or the neighborhood that you call home, Creating a real, comfortable, safe home into which a person can sink deep roots (remembering that roots don't have to be permanent to be deep). This is the kind of work the Fuller Center does, and I'm proud to be a very small part of that work.

In addition, travel and staying deeply in one place both force me into a different relationship with myself. These force me, in different ways than the ordinary of the rest of life, to remember that it's not all about me.


One Week Away

The Bicycle Adventure is getting close.  One week from today, I drive away from Denver with my dad and one other guy.

We're headed to Nashville, where we'll meet the twenty-something other people who we'll travel for a week on our bikes down the Natchez Trace Parkway

I might even have the chance, if the weather holds, to get some miles in on my bike tomorrow and/or the next day.  I've spent plenty of time on our stationary recumbent bike in the basement.  But if the saddle on my bike is like a wooden kitchen chair, then the seat on the recumbent is like a couch that you sink deep in to with a good book.  And the saddle on my bike is not nearly as plush as a wooden kitchen chair. 

Many people, though, endure much worse than saddle sores ~ I'll be fine.