Tag Archive: journey

??????????Thinking while driving is something of which I am excessively guilty. But it is completely legal. In fact, I wish more drivers were guilty of that. Unfortunately, they insist on doing everything they can to avoid actually paying attention to the road and the vehicles around them. Not to mention the drivers who consider traffic signs, such as “left lane for passing only,” mere suggestions and therefore they do not apply to them.

I drove to Nacogdoches last week to pick up our youngest son, J.D., from SFA. On the drive out there, I recalled a trip I made to Nashville in the late 70’s. Joel Nichols and I had just begun playing music together. Joel was going to school in Nashville and I moved out there while he finished his last year and we played music. I had to drive out to SFA and back on the same day. It wore me down. I remembered that Joel and I did not think anything about driving back and forth from Nashville – even though it’s a twelve hour drive.

The first time we drove to Nashville – Joel to return and I to move – I was following Joel in my Comet. My tailpipe had come loose and Joel rigged it with a piece of wire if I remember correctly. It was not too long into the drive before the tailpipe fell loose. Fortunately, the wire kept it from falling off completely.

I would signal Joel and pull over to the side of the road. He would pull over behind me. Then he would grab a towel he had in his car, run up, lay down under my car, shove the pipe back in and tighten the wire. I waited for Joel to get back in his car before we hit the road again.

I would be listening to my 8-track player and cruising right along. Eventually, the tailpipe would come loose again. I would turn the volume up as loud as I could. I would speed up, then slow down so I could hear the radio. When I could not stand the sound anymore, I would signal Joel. Then we would go through the process all over again.

At one point in the journey, we pulled over again as was becoming frequent. When Joel walked up to my car, he was grinning. I asked him what was funny. Joel had been listening to the CB radio in his car. I was driving the truck drivers crazy, speeding up and slowing down. I didn’t think it was so funny at the time. As far as I was concerned, I was doing what I had to do to hear the music.

We went through the process numerous times, but finally made it to Nashville. The reason we didn’t think anything about driving back and forth long distances was because we were young enough to not have anything to worry about but getting to where we were going. I was still concerned about getting where I was going when I was picking J.D. up, but I wasn’t nearly as relaxed as I was driving to Nashville that day. I enjoyed the solitary confinement in the car because it gave me time to think, but it also gave me time to think about problems and worry.

What is the point, you ask, besides just the story? And that is a legitimate question. I was wondering myself for a while. But I think I have the answer. Driving back and forth from Nacogdoches, I was thinking about what I could be doing and what I had to do. When I was driving back and forth from Nashville -as I said earlier – all I had to worry about was getting there and wondering what would happen when I got there.

Sometimes I wish the times could be like they were when Joel and I drove to Nashville. Then I wonder if anything has really changed. Then I think about what has changed. Then I think I might not really wish that at all. Then I get to where I’m going.

Peace be you.

In 2010, at age 49, Bruce Moore quit his job and spent three months cycling the TransAmerica Trail from Virginia to Oregon. Moore shared pictures, memories, and learning experiences from the trip with the group at the December meeting of King of Glory Lutheran Church’s GUSTO! program on Monday. Following corrective heart surgery in 2009 for a previously undiagnosed pediatric condition, Moore became determined to accomplish his three main goals. Having cycled in college, he wanted to bike across the country. He also wanted to write a book and start his own company.

After planning and preparing all winter, and training during the spring, Moore departed from  Yorktown, Virginia on May 8. As he told the audience, the journey took 93 days. Moore rode  4,105 miles, riding for 79 days with 14 days rest. While he traveled by himself, with his wife, Kristin, meeting him a few times along the way, he was rarely alone.

Moore shared pictures and stories of fellow cyclists with whom he had ridden, as well as good Samaritans along the route who welcomed the travelers, giving them water, treats, and shelter for the night. One woman has been serving water, lemonade, cookies, and shelter to cyclists on the TransAmerica Trail for many of its 35 years of existence. The trail was mapped out in 1976 for the Bicentennial. Six thousand riders made the trip that first year. About 500 cyclists make the trek each year, some eastward bound and others headed westward.

An entertaining speaker, Bruce Moore described being dive-bombed by a hawk, seeing nothing in either rearview mirror but a huge wing. He spoke of the lack of vegetables in rural areas. Of being welcomed by three churches along the way whose congregations had formed a ministry to welcome cyclists traveling along the trail. Of his habit of eating at local diners for social interaction and friendly smiles.

On August 8, after 4,105 miles, 42 nights camping, 42 nights in hotels, 6 nights in hostels, and 3 nights in churches, Moore met Kristin in Florence, Oregon. He dipped his front wheel in the Pacific Ocean, having dipped his rear wheel in the Atlantic three months earlier, completing the journey from sea to shining sea. Moore launched his own software company upon returning to Dallas. Counting the blog as a book, he accomplished all three goals. He is now working on other goals.

Bruce Moore’s cycling adventure also raised funds for the National Multiple Sclerosis Society. His blog may be found here.

Peace be with you.

Alyce McKensie, Professor of Homiletics at Perkins Theological Seminary at SMU, published a post before Easter entitled “Have You Got Your Ticket” on Patheos.com. With three teenagers and end of the year school and church activities, I was distracted and only recently re-read the post. The lectionary text that week was the Walk to Emmaus in Luke 24:13-35. “… Easter season is a journey that begins with the empty tomb and the Risen Lord. But for some reason I’ve been thinking about journeys and ways we can remember where were headed and why.”

McKensie recalled the well-known story about Albert Einstein’s train trip when he was on the floor looking for his lost ticket. The conductor told him it was okay, he knew who he was, and trusted him. “It’s not a matter of trust,” said Einstein. “If I don’t find that ticket, I have no idea where I’m going!”

Alyce then wrote about receiving an original ticket to the Wesleyan Class Meeting of the Wesleyan-Methodist Society from 1829. How holding the ticket in her hand led her on a mental spiritual journey back to when James Hart (the name on the ticket) was in fellowship and worship with the society and back to the beginning of the Christian church with the Last Supper and the empty tomb. Read the full post here.

While I was reading her post, my mind went in a slightly different direction (as my mind is wont to do) with the example of the ticket. I do not know what the conductor would have done with the ticket when Einstein found it. But I remember having to get my ticket punched when riding on a train – ostensibly to prove the conductor had validated my ticket. Which led me to consider another kind of ticket.

Part of the problem with the decline of churches today is that many Christians live as though they are mentally getting their ticket punched. Not exactly a good example with which to persuade people to come to, or come back to, church. It’s more about having their eternal ticket punched than faithfulness or discipleship.

Went to Communion Sunday – punch. Went to Wednesday night dinner – punch. Church music programs – punch. Holiday worship services – punch. Christmas services and Easter services – double punches at least. As if the totality of one’s good works can bring entrance to heaven.

If St. Peter at the golden gate were the conductor to eternity, when handed the attendance punch card, he might ask: “Where is your mission punch card, your evangelical punch card, your kindness to strangers punch card?” And so on. If the applicant is using the punch card approach, they are going to fall short of the mark of a good and faithful Christian.

Approached with a true and right spirit, attending church services and events are joyful times of worship and fellowship. Worship and fellowship create an impetus for doing good works, not the other way around. The good works come as acts of faith to, in some small way, return the favor for the Lord’s magnanimous gift of grace. We should want to do good works to further our spiritual journey, not to collect points.

“For by grace you have been saved through faith, and this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God – not the result of works, so that no one may boast. For we are what he has made us, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand to be our way of life.” Ephesians 2:9,10

Peace be with you.

Vanity of vanities, says the Teacher,

vanity of vanities! All is vanity.

What do people gain from all the toil

at which they toil under the sun?

A generation goes, and a generation comes,

but the earth remains forever. Eccl. 1:2-4

During a Disciple Bible Study several years ago, when we got to Ecclesiastes, the text suggested that we read the entire book in one sitting. Always up for a challenge, I dutifully read it all the way through – and I was fascinated. Of all the books in the Bible, I have read or heard passages from Ecclesiastes the least in my lifetime as a Christian. Granted, I did not go to church all the time when I was younger.

If you take a passage of Ecclesiastes out of context, it can be downright depressing. Which is the general opinion of Ecclesiastes from what I have ascertained after hearing sermons, speakers, and talking with people. But when I read it in one sitting, not only did I see the relevance to my life, but was left with a feeling of hope. Quite the opposite of what I expected after what I had heard.

I knew then that my next Bible study would be Ecclesiastes. This is not the first full length Bible study I have written, but it will be the first one published. The previous studies are still waiting for reprint permission for passages I included. So I began my journey with Qohelet, the teacher.

Scholars generally agree that Solomon did not write Ecclesiastes. But it is not known for certain who did write the book. I prefer to look at it from the view that Qohelet, the “teacher,” or “preacher,” was the author. It seems to be more relevant to our lives today from that view.

I am currently editing the book for the last time. Feel free to join me on my dual journey – through Ecclesiastes and the editing process – which will continue as a journey through theology and our lives today.

Peace be with you.

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