Archive for the ‘A Village Is Missing Its Idiot’ Category

Preparing for the AT

December 23, 2010 Leave a comment

OK, so I’m old, I had a heart attack when I was thirty-eight, planted a church in North Central Ohio in my early fifties, have had some personal struggles that temporarily took me out of ministry and here I am planning a through hike of the Appalachian Trail. Some of you may say that there is indeed some village somewhere that is missing its favorite idiot. But, this is something I’ve dreamed of doing ever since I read about Grandma Gatewood.

In some ways this is a mission, and in others it’s a redemptive hike. And it will not be easy. Along the way it will be tedious, the terrain laborious. There will be cold, hot, muggy, rain, snow, and bugs. There will be long stretches of gray skies and green mud. There will be substantial call for determination to reach the goal of Katahdin Falls which is located in Baxter State Park.

It’s a mission because I’m a crazy Christian who believes that the primary purpose of the church is to talk to people about Jesus and for whatever reason I also believe that there is someone I’m supposed to meet on the Trail. It’s redemptive because life has been pretty difficult lately and it will provide an opportunity to heal and to “interact with the environment” to quote my counselor.

When you’re out on the a trail there is only one thing to focus on, and that is taking the next step. Yes, you must have a determination to reach a goal, but that goal is very far away. So, sometimes the best you can do is take a step, overcome the inertia, and begin to move in some direction: even if it doesn’t seem to make sense.

I remember reading that there are three things that can undermine a vision. They are fear, criticism, and good opportunities. All of those were present when I planned to start a church, and they are present now. Many good friends have expressed a fear for my safety, and quite frankly I appreciate the concern being expressed. Others have flat-out told me they think I’m a “bit off my rocker,” and I probably am. But the church we planted is still there and I believe that this will produce something significant and lasting as well.