Category Archives: Culture

A Paycheck is Not a Big Enough Idea

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What if I told you that you’ve been lied to?   That the American Dream is a myth meant to enslave you to a life of consumption that makes you dependent on systems of control and the illusion of personal choice.   That the ‘good life’ is not good at all; not for our health, our sense of peace, our experience of joy or our personal power to be a part of something greater than ourselves.  Living the ‘good life’ was what it meant to be truly American. It is this idea that has grown like a virus in the American worldview; the American dream is now a benchmark cultural assumption about how the world works.  . . . As the narrator says in Fight Club: “We buy things we don’t need with money we don’t have to impress people we don’t like.”  But it doesn’t work, because getting a paycheck is not a big enough idea.

The existential questions of humanity are the same at any point in time within recorded history. They are the same in any economy, in any political system and within the context of any particular culture. The questions may vary in importance, however they typically carry the thematic structure of the following: Who am I? Where did I come from? What is my purpose? Where do I find meaning? Is this all there is? What happens when I die?

These questions outline the longings of our human hearts; they dictate what we organize our lives around. The answers to these profound ponderings become formative attachments psychologically, spiritually, emotionally and then deeply influence the pragmatic choices of our physical lives. We organize our lives around what we believe to be true and meaningful, the cost is really high about how we answer these critical questions.

You get a paycheck to live, but what do you want to do with your life?  How do you want it defined?  You get to choose your attention and investment, what do you want out of it?  For the love of God, don’t let the stupidity of our culture and consumer markets dictate that for you.  You get to choose, so what do you want to do?  You want to earn up enough over a lifetime, save up enough so that you can stop working for the last 30 years of your life and collect shells on the beach?  Nothing wrong with that, it’s just boring.  😉

I think you were designed to count, and count quite uniquely.  You are wired to matter.  Dallas Willard said it this way:  “As water is meant to run downhill, so you were destined to count.”  A Paycheck doesn’t make you count or matter, it just helps you live.  It’s the choices of your life that help you experience meaning, purpose and  well-designed empassioned mission.   Our consumer culture is a system of control and it doesn’t satisfy; it is designed to keep you wanting more because in the end, it’s a bankrupt set of ideals.  It’s all the wrong dreams, all the wrong goals and all the wrong living.  You were meant for more giving, not getting, and it’s at your fingertips to choose and experience.  Don’t settle for anything less.  You have one life, one chance for real living, a paycheck is not a big enough idea for you.

My wife and I have re-designed our entire life and budget.   Today is the last day of my severance pay from my full-time job.  We are now embarking into the reality of purpose and life in the hands of the God who made us, designed us and calls us to live a life of purpose and great meaning.  We are no longer defined by a paycheck, we are free to work at the callings deep on our heart for justice, community, truth, love and a dangerous call of hope.  A paycheck is not a big enough idea when there is a call to love the orphan, the widow, the lonely, the oppressed, the poor, the captives etc.  We want to live life on purpose, not for a paycheck.  Income helps us live, it doesn’t define us, our life defines us. How do you want to live?

Choose to be dangerous, choose for your life to count, choose hope. You won’t be disappointed.

4 Things I Love About ‘Pokemon Go’

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Yeah . . . I went there, I’m adding to the buzz ad nausea of this latest global craze but instead of being my normal judgy mcjudgerson on what is popular, this one I’m kind of endorsing??    Instead of yelling at the kids to GET OFF MY LAWN!!  Let me try and be a bit open minded here.  RELAX!  Let me explain.

Disclaimer:  I’ve never watched Pokemon, never collected a single card, my kids never did. I downloaded the app. for about 12 hours and then deleted it.  I caught one squirtle in my backyard but my 14 hr. old had no interest in it so I deleted it.  I’m now again unhip, irrelevant and uncool, but that’s a comfortable space for me.

Here’s 4 things I do love about the Pokemon Go phenomenon:

  1. Kids, teens and young adults are outside walking around –   Sure, they are staring deep into their phones and perhaps not being completely aware of their surroundings, BUT they are not sitting inside on couches eating chips and soaking in unnatural lighting.  They are outside soaking up Vitamin D and Serotonin, maybe they won’t need as many anti-depressant or ADD drugs.  Just being outside and moving does wonders for our physiological make-up, it sure does for me.
  2. Families are doing something fun together – Yeah, my 14 yr. old son had zero interest going hunting with me but that seems to be a rare instance.  I’m seeing in my community and all around Facebook, parents and kids doing something fun together.  Our cultural stories recently have been so dark and violent, we needed something for families to do together.  You know the age-old saying:  The Family that hunts ‘Charizard’ together, stays together.
  3. Millenials are solving problems – I’ve been guilty of being one of the old curmudgeon (Gen X’er) accusing the millenial generation of being entitled and not contributing their fair share to our culture’s woes.  But, as an educator, I’m a huge fan of ‘play’ as a means of engaging our minds and bodies in problem solving.  We are not robots, the industrial world of the utilitarian drone is not our reality.  Our world is complex and diverse, we need creative problem solving to do something about it.  Something as simple as Pokemon Go has an entire generation using ‘play’ towards problem-solving.  I am all for it.  Working together, networking, sharing resources, solving problems; these are the bedrock skills for world-changers.  Once those brain neurons are firing off, who knows what else they could find to tackle next.  Confidence and a sense of accomplishment creates great personal momentum.  We all need the Millenials to be a ‘kick a$$’ generation, I’m holding out hope yet.
  4. It’s Clean and Innocent – This is a relative argument and surely there are some on my readership far more conservative than me and will accuse it all of being the spawn of Satan, but in my relatively acute opinion, it’s clean and innocent play. Let’s be real, the other options at the fingertips of the same generation is 1st person shooter games, gory role playing games and internet pornography.  Squirtles, Weedles and Jigglypuffs harken back to a more innocent time in American culture, we could use a little of it for our kids to grow up in.

So I’m sorry for getting on board with it all.  Though I’m not actively hunting, I’m cheering on those of you who are from the sidelines.  Happy Hunting my friends, may the Pikachu of your dreams be just around the next corner!

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Give us Free

July 4th, Independence Day, is a really big deal in my native America, as it should be.   Our founding people (men, women and children), the original American entrepreneurs, risked all to come to these colonies and live out the creation of a new dream called ‘America’.   July 4, 1776 at a meeting of the Continental Congress, the Declaration of Independence was adopted making the 13 American colonies a new nation and no longer a part of the British Empire.  This is our national heritage and it’s a rich and proud one.  Our story is one of radical independent thinking, visionary architects of a new and free society, democratic representation, activists of equality and laborers of justice.  This dream of a new society, fueled by a sense of destiny and the protestant work ethic, is the heritage we celebrate today.   It was Revolutionary thinking and doing.

There is a reality though, like any start-up idea, that the 1.0 version is not the totally developed thought or best practice and it’s okay to lament that.  There was a dream, an ideal, but the movement was stuck in the perspective of the time.  “All men are created equal” with rights to vote only applied to white, land-owning men in 1789 for the first election.   Allowing non-whites and women to vote came in hard fought after amendments to the original idea years later.   Additionally shameful is that the revolutionary way forward to build a new economy happened on the backs of cheap and free labor, slavery largely to African-Americans is our heritage.  The rise of the agricultural, industrial and trade industry of early-America does not happen without this free labor, of men and women not seen as ‘created equal’ and thus cruely and inhumanely treated.  Our rise to being a world super power is both an economic reality and a human travesty.  The American Dream is not realized until “Give us Free”, all of us.

In today’s world, we yet wrestle with racial and gender equality.   We are still working out the great American Dream into a free reality.  Present day abolitionists have made us acutely aware of the incredible proliferation today of young girls and boys caught in the violent cycle of human sex trafficking.  Where is their, “Give us Free” within American borders?  Until all of us are free, we are not free to stop working at the ideals of the American Dream.

I am a white, educated, middle-class male in modern America and I am fully aware of the privilege that comes with that and that others don’t get that same ‘benefit of the doubt’.  I have a responsibility to speak, influence and act in my role to empower “Give us Free” to keep making progress.  Racism and Sexism are not a thing of the past, they are alive and well in today’s America.  I celebrate today my freedom to choose to involve my voice and action into the liberation of others, particularly those left on the margins.  Freedom is a really big idea, and it’s worth dying for . . . for all of us  “Give us Free”, all of us.

“It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery.” – Galatians 5:1

Fathering not for the faint of heart

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Fathering in 2016 is not for the faint of heart.  One week ago today, 49 innocent children of other dads were fatally gunned down on that fateful night in an Orlando nightclub.  On the day of each one of their births, that was not the dream the fathers had the first time they held their babies in their arms.  I’m not sure a lot of dads talk about this, but I can say that most dads when they hold their newborns for the first time (aside from stark fear), get bonded to a commitment of sheltering, providing, strengthening and dreaming big for their little nugget.  We hope for the best, we don’t envision nightclub massacres as young adults.  For those of us who didn’t have kids in that space last week, our kids lived the trauma through the stories and images of the news-feeds.  None of us immune to a society at war, violence is our cultural tapestry.  This is fathering in 2016.

I’m not interested in gun rights or laws, that’s a reaction to protect physical bodies, I’m interested in a higher virtue.  How do we protect our kid’s young hearts and minds against such trauma?  This is not the only one, it was just the next one.  How do we raise young men to cherish and protect the value and virtue of women when they are exposed and entrapped to the lies of pornography the moment they discover the power of the internet?   How do we protect the self worth and original beauty of our daughters in a world of insecure selfies begging comments of adoration, celebrity idol-worship and the photo-shop wonders of multi-billion dollar beauty industry?  Hey Dads, we are not the only ones who want to shape our kid’s minds and hearts.  There’s a lot of money out there shooting to own them, it’s profitable to these systemic evils to enslave them for a long life of consumerism to their goods and services.  This is fathering in 2016.

What’s my advice after 20 years of such fathering, here’s my take:

  1. Be present – You have a powerful voice and presence in your kid’s life, own it.  Don’t leave a chasm of space physically or emotionally for something or someone else to fill, it’s yours first, embody it in the life of your child.
  2. Love their Mom – If you are still together, show your son what loving, cherishing and serving a woman looks like.  If you are not together, honor that relationship in front of them.  Negotiate time well and keep your personal remarks to yourself.  It’s their Mom, honor that for them no matter how painful it is for you.
  3. Choose your words – your words have the power to build up, your words have the power to tear down.  Don’t misuse your power.  Be a man, have the strength to choose your words wisely.  Any fool can fly off the handle dispersing poison.  Embrace wisdom instead, you carry power to change a reality with your words.
  4. Grow up – You’re a Dad, you did adult things to bring another human into the world, you are not a child.  Grow up.  It’s not about you, walk out into your adult-self with confidence and a freedom to be the adult you always wish someone would be for you.  Your future is wide open with opportunity, don’t retreat back, grow up into it.
  5. Don’t give up – You’re not perfect, Dad.  You may have already broken my advice commandments 1-4 already today, welcome to the vulnerability of your humanity.  But in this moment, in the remainder of this day, don’t give up.  Your kids will hold out hope until the day you die that you will be the Dad they always dreamed of and you still have today.  They believe in you; I’m begging you for you to believe in you.  They need you, don’t give up on your best self.

Fathering in 2016 is not for the faint of heart, leadership is not for cowards.  It’s time to show-up, Dad’s.  The future depends on it.

The Helical model of the universe and Ordinary Community

The Disclaimer:  I am not a scientist, I’m not an astrophysicist, I’m not a rocket scientist.  At best I’m a theologian or contemplative, at worst I’m just a dude.  I’m reflecting on this from my perspective, I’m not making truth claims or posting theories based on expert knowledge.  I know it’s just an attempt to illustrate a point and doesn’t in fact capture the entire picture of the galactic plane.  Ok? . . . ok.

The Video:  I find this video model fascinating for it’s contrast to our normal two dimensional understanding of how our universe revolves around the sun.  Most of us get our imagery from 2D posters on our junior high science classroom of a ‘heliocentric’ (sun centered) universe which was a great advancement from the ancient days of a ‘geocentric’ (earth centered) understanding of the universe.  There was a day when we literally thought and understood that the world revolved around us.  That came from a time in Greek thought where philosophy ruled the day.  Our starting point for reflection, contemplation and search for truth started with ourselves.  So naturally, the world came to be about us.

It was the advancement of science that began to tell a different story.  That the experience of gravity on earth did not mean that in fact then the earth was the center of gravity in the universe.  Rather, it was far more complex than that.  Rotation, axis and orbit can explain for the phenomenons we observe on earth and that it is the sun that is in fact the center of the big idea and the planets, systems and stars have a relational tie to it.  Science helped us see that the world is in fact not about us, that we have a part to play in a much larger drama and we should have some humility and responsibility about that galactic relationship.

Philosophy to Science to now Technology.  This video builds on the 2D heliocentric idea of the universe by taking it another step and illustrating that the better understanding of movement around the sun is to see it as ‘vortex’ motion of being intertwined amidst the solar winds as we orbit around the sun.  The 3D model shown here is the ‘helical’ model.  It invites us to understand the intertwining motion as even a more complex relationship we have at the ‘Macro’ level of how our universe works and then pushes us to reflect upon how we see this same design in our ‘Micro’ level life and creation all around us.  To me, it’s fascinating.

The Community Idea:  Again, I’m not a scientist, it just interests me for it’s perspective and it’s revelation of truths.  I highly value knowledge because it informs my real life.  What I am an expert in is ‘community’.  I’ve given my life and study to it for a couple decades now.  My dissertation was on the loss of community in the American landscape and suggestions on how we might find our way again in it.  I have often reflected and asserted that community is best understood as well as a ‘gravitational pull’.  Community gets centered around something that pulls people together.  Books, football, school, fashion, movies, coffee, wine, beer, lifestyles, interests, religion etc.  The strength and longevity of the community depends upon the nature of the gravitational center.  If a community forms around the celebration of the Winter Olympics, then it will be experienced once every 4 years and will cease after the closing ceremonies.  If the community forms around biological family bonds, then barring relational scars, it goes from birth to death and we are in a vortex with each other for every event in between.

I do believe that community is a vortex of relational pull towards one another.  Our lives can be intertwined in a very complex relationship and the longer the community is in that vortex, the stronger the relational pull.  As a relational universe, the proximity increases, the gravity increases and the community gets closer and more intertwined as it moves together on a time continuum we call ‘life’.

14 years ago, my wife and I experimented by starting a spiritual community in our home with the stated assumption that the center of our gravitational pull would be Jesus and the Scriptures.  The person of Jesus, his teachings, his life and his Spirit would be what we would organize our lives around and then let those things pull us together. We live individual, family and American suburban lives but we would confront that reality by choosing ‘community’ as our faith model.  We didn’t want individual faith, we wanted a shared story.  Ordinary Community was the result.  This is what we call ‘church’.

Over the years, this gravitational pull has exponentially increased.  The intertwining of our lives is a great contrast to the world’s ideals around us of a consumer lifestyle based on ‘avoiding boredom’ and individual wants.  The pull into spiritual community has redefined family for us.  We have a much larger network of brothers, sisters, spiritual cousins, aunts, uncles etc.  Our kids only know ‘community’ as their gravitational center.  This all may sound cultish, but it is the language of our Patriarch, that Jesus guy.  (Cults are defined by hoarding resources, we give away 100% of our shared resources, again that Jesus guy told us to)  Our lives are a moving vortex with one another as we spiral around Jesus and His Scriptures towards a more realized experience of Christian spiritual maturity.  Our hope is that as we do that then we love our neighbors better, love our enemies better, serve our world better, experience wholeness/peace/joy better and in fact live in the truth of what our entire universe is all about.  That we are eternal souls: created by God, resurrected by Jesus and called into a Spirit-filled life story together.  That our lives have context with each other and the world all around us.  Community is a messy vortex of intertwined motion, we spiral through life together and we wouldn’t want it any other way.

I love my gravity community.  #OCC4Life

The Art of Misfitting

As the playwright George Bernard Shaw once put it: “The reasonable man adapts himself to the world: the unreasonable one persists in trying to adapt the world to himself. Therefore all progress depends on the unreasonable man.
Malcolm Gladwell, David and Goliath: Underdogs, Misfits, and the Art of Battling Giants

From the time we are born, we are taught to conform and fit in.  There is a script in American culture that is already written and success is perceived as following the script.  Sit quietly in your big-box education setting where it is teacher and test oriented as opposed to centered on actual learning and experience.  Place your hope in achieving within a numerical grading system so that you can attend the college of your choice in which you hand over the raising of your offspring to a system of big university business that is designed to enslave you to debt for decades to come with no actual guarantee of gainful employment, let alone meaningful work.  Our young adults are riddled with quarter-life crises of ‘what if’s?’, ‘how did I get here?’ and ‘is this all there is?’.  We raise a generation of conformists as if our present reality is worth sustaining?

I call B.S.  Progress, reformation, change, development, evolution and the dream for a new tomorrow does not come from the center of the box.  Everything in the system is designed to sustain the system.  It is the free thinkers, the practitioners, the dreamers, the doers, the prophets, the revolutionaries, the starters, the pioneers . . . the troublemakers and misfits that push ahead into danger and then beckon others to follow.  It is the misfits that mark the trees for others to follow their road-maps for creating a new future.

You will not win an award for being a misfit or a free thinker who asks a lot of questions.  You will not get a t-shirt or a promotion.  You are more likely to be tarred, feathered and drug behind a wagon before anyone throws a parade in your honor.  Your reward has to be the wind in your hair, the taste of saltwater at the bow of the ship and the wonder of the unknown and the adventure.  Being a misfit is an art and you have to love your art for you, not for others to legitimize it for you.  If you are fortunate and blessed as I have been, you will find other misfits along your journey who will for at least a fleeting moment make you think that you are not crazy and it is in that moment that you experience genuine community.  Not the corporate buzz-word of contrived and pseudo community, I mean the actual thing.  It is a human sense of connection with others that is deeper than corporate buzz-words and t-shirt slogans, it is the cry of the heart for a kind of primal belonging that makes your soul satisfied.  The box can’t offer that.

So what is the art of misfitting?  It is staying in the game long enough to find your art, ask your questions and push out into the territories you long to explore.  If you are disappointing others who find your quest for something real to be unreasonable, well then, welcome to the island of misfit toys.  This is where true community begins.  Pull up a chair, cheers to your art of misfitting.

Why I fired myself as a Pastor

The vocation of pastor(s) has been replaced by the strategies of religious entrepreneurs with business plans.
Eugene H. Peterson, The Pastor: A Memoir

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About 15 years ago I made a conscious decision that if I wanted to be taken seriously by a skeptical and cynical culture for the faith that I feel so strongly about, I couldn’t do it from a vocational role that was a stumbling block to that conversation.  When I was in graduate school (aka Seminary), I took a course in Anthropology where we got back to the basics of human communication and how culture messages work.  For anyone to be heard, they must have an ‘acceptable role’ within that culture so that people understood their place first, then their message.  If missionaries were going to go to a foreign land, they couldn’t come with their western labels such as ‘pastor’, they needed to take on a role that culture would accept like doctor, teacher or engineer.

I applied this same teaching and understanding to the cynical postmodern world. If people’s biggest barrier to understanding the true Christ was the hypocrisy of church leadership and/or the mismanagement of money and spiritual power, then why not do what I could to remove it.  If I was who I claimed to be, I would be able to do it without an office, position or budget.  So 15 years ago I fired myself as a pastor and have sought vocational roles within my culture that make sense to anyone (i.e. teacher, administrator, manager).  To say that this journey has been a painful and confusing one would be an understatement.  I have had very few if any models to learn from, I’ve largely tried to figure it out on my own and have found solace in many friends/sojourners along the way trying to figure out the same path.

To go along with the anthropological reasoning, the more I read and was taught about the successful tactics of pastoring or growing churches in the American landscape, the more I felt less comfortable in my own skin.  It is difficult for me to marry the core teachings of Jesus with the tenets of the American consumer and corporate culture.  In fact, at their core, I find them at complete odds with one another.  I could not and still cannot figure a way to allow them to sit in the same room or barter at the same table.  They both want to be king and there is only one King.  One or the other will reckon your allegiance, I want to tread very carefully in that arena.  You can only serve one master.

Christian community is not about money, power, position or titles.  It’s not about a particular place or a particular time or event in the week.  Christian community is most basically about a life that is organized around the teachings of a Jesus who said to love God and love neighbor (it’s not more complicated than that).  It is possible that this can be done without a budget, campaign, crusade, conference, seminar, workshop or infomercial Jesus.  But it’s not possible without a complete abandoning to your own selfish ambitions and having them replaced with the King’s orders.  This is the truth whether you pastor vocationally or not.  I believe God has called me to this sometimes painful and confusing journey, but it’s not really for me to figure out.  My job is to follow.

I have a bachelors, masters and doctorate degree in a vocational field I don’t work in.  On the surface, that is pure foolishness.  And it would be with the exception that I sucked the marrow out of each of those learning experiences to help mold and shape me into the person and leader I am today.  Spirituality is not a job, it’s a lifestyle.  When spirituality is no longer your job, you are free to love and serve and live as you truly believe.  It is that freedom over the past 15 years that I would not exchange for anything, they are my King’s orders to follow.

Being Serious about Syria

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There is so much emotion, rhetoric and opinion regarding the emerging American military surge to action in Syria and the ongoing human tragedy of their Civil War.  I am not an expert in political foreign policy nor Syrian domestic struggles, though I do understand it’s history. From a political perspective, my leaning is libertarian and to the Constitution our historic leaders have argued for from the beginning.  Declarations of War are not to be taken lightly, they are to be approved only by the checks and balances of the legislative branch and not to be declared unilaterally from the executive.  Our government is designed to make these kinds of decisions within the counsel of the many, not with power in the one.  Executive police actions, in the so-called name of ‘democracy’, outside our borders, in my humble opinion is both unconstitutional and a faulty goal.

My bend is towards the American Christian response to this and other tragedies around the world which reveal a naive and simplistic view of human suffering and the narratives of the Ancient Scriptures.

Time magazine posted this article: “Some Evangelicals See Biblical Prophecy In Syrian Crises”.  I am not at all a fan of Christian fanaticism, nor the narrow interpretation of ancient texts for direct application to American foreign policy as the arm of God in so-called ‘last days’.  I do resonate strongly with what Brueggemann says here:

Walter Brueggemann, professor emeritus of Columbia Theological Seminary and an expert on the book of Isaiah, tells TIME the interpretation of Isaiah 17 as a reference to the current conflict is absurd. “You cannot read the Bible that way. It is an ancient poem about an ancient context,” he said. “If we are going to contemporize it with such an easy connection then we have to learn to read the text against the United States as well because the United States now plays the role of Babylon and all those ancient superpowers. We have to tread very gently about making such silly connections.”

A better interpretation of the passage, Bruggemann explains, would be that all nations are answerable to the God of justice, even  nations like Syria and Babylon. “No nation has high moral ground,” he says. “That is a bite against every exceptionalism, including American exceptionalism.”

I’m a libertarian so I don’t condone an executive unilateral call to the exercise of American military might.  I’m a pacifist so I’m against the use of violence in all cases as the means for peace and prosperity.  I’m not a fundamentalist nor a literalist in my approach to the Ancient Scriptures so I don’t see logical connection between today’s world events and so-called last-days prophecies.  When I read the Scriptures, I don’t see judgments against my ‘enemies’, I see accountability and a call for all of us to act powerfully in self-denial of our lustful urges, to seek peace with all and find the grace and mercy to suffer with others.
The suffering and tragedy happening within the Syrian people is more than I can cope with humanly. I can’t even begin to imagine what they are going through. I hold that evil exists and our world is utterly broken.  I also hold that this is not the end and that even now hope is planted within the blood-soaked soil of a land torn apart.  My response then is to call upon the God of the Scriptures for grace and mercy for my Syrian brothers and sisters.  To boldly ask that same God, “How long oh Lord?  How long must your people suffer?”
For the people and the peace of Syria today, I pray . . .

Adventure for the Rest of Us

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Been re-watching “Long way Round” with my wife and trying to get in touch with what I like about it so much.  It’s not the motor bikes, truth is I’ve only ever ridden 4 wheelers and motor-skooters, never really been on or around motorcycles.  It’s not Mongolia, Siberia or the Road of Bones in Russia; I’ve traveled all around the world and those areas don’t appeal to me much at all.  I think it’s the sense of freedom and discovery that comes with adventuring off on a path you don’t know how it will end.  I can admire these 2 elites who undoubtedly with Ewan McGregor’s and Charlie Boorman’s network and pocket-book could raise the money needed and take the time off from their day jobs for such a trip.  4 months to travel east via motor-bike from London to New York, a noble adventure.

So what about adventure for the rest of us?  Most of us cannot afford the time or money for such a trip, but yet something in us screams adventure.  Are we wired for our lives of comfort and routine, or are we wired for something more primal?  If I was born 200, 300 ,400 or 1000 years ago, I may have lived in adventure but longed for comforts.  Today I live in suburban comforts of A/C, comfy beds, TV, running water and functioning cars but long for adventure.  Perhaps it is contentment for what we already have that is the hardest reality to accept.  Most certainly some are wired for routine and predictability, others have a thirst for what is beyond the horizon.

There is a time and a place for the stability that comes with being temperate.  There is wisdom and noble duty in being a provider for one’s family, regardless of the nature of the job.  I’ve never really had a career in the American sense of the term, I’ve done what I had to do to fulfill purposes that were not my own and I’m glad I listened to that voice.  I went a road less traveled and it certainly has had it’s pitfalls and adventures, but within it I’ve learned a lot about the beauty of the ordinary and the gift of providing stability.  My wife has taught me a lot in these life values and I’ve grown away from more immature ways of being and leading.  I’m learning to embrace what it means to find most of the marrow of life in the Ordinary.

My natural bend is to adventure, to pioneer, to create, to travel on, to mark trails, to tackle obstacles, to discover new and wonder what is beyond.  So much of our suburban lives wrap us up in cocoons we long to shed.  There is adventure around me in the Ordinary I know I am missing so I am asking for clearer eyes to see.  I don’t want to miss it, life is too short to be another cog in the mythology of the American Dream.  The manic rat-race is not a way to freedom of the soul, its a yoke of burden.  Adventure beckons in many roads less traveled and it’s not just for the cultural elites.  Freedom is accessible for all, I’m on the search for those roads for the rest of us.  I suspect they are planted in the Ordinary paths of life.