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Sunday, December 17, 2006

Off Route!

In climbing there are a few variants of off route, or the act of deviating from a pre-established line up the rock. The off route variants to consider are, slightly off route, Way off route and dude I think you put up a new route! Some climbers choose to go off route to find an alternative way up, this is done for various reasons. Some climbers accidentally veer off route because sometimes the route is not well defined to start with ,or it is just plane hard to follow. So, there is the term I am going to use. Now days we have wazoo GPS devices in our cars that inform us when we have ventured off route in our cars.I am going to use this term not in the case of rock climbing or traveling in a vehicle, but more so to look at one's journey of faith.

I think many of us never really carefully examine the entire route our faith is supposed to take us. So the probabilities of veering off route at some point and time are higher. Others just simply get bored with the route we are on and seek some exciting variant. And yet there are others that choose to venture off route to gain a greater understanding of the whole journey in and of itself. One of the big issues of under taking this bold or sometimes foolish move of going off route is that we forfeit a certain amount of security or protection. On an established route there are places to rest and anchor ourselves. The domain of off route travel does not always afford this option. This is no doubt the domain for the risk taker, the more confident among us, and those with Apostolic (Pioneering) gifting.

Venturing into the off route domain, I think, will either make one stronger and more versatile, or destroy them altogether. Here lays the crux of the decision to go off route. Do I have the strength and ability to make such a choice? So how does all this play into one's faith? Well I think that it plays out more often than we realize. Switching churches or faiths, choosing to not attend church for a period of time, and creating a new church can all be seen as variants of the off route domain. How far off route we travel becomes a very important choice. Why was I on the initial route to start with? Where was I headed? Where do I want to go? These are all very important questions. What are we looking for in our faith choice.

Many of us choose routes for some sort of gain. Whether it be reconciliation, obedience, excitement or whatever else, we must have an understanding of our need and intended goal when we start down that pathway. Being lost is no fun! Lost in faith is a terrifying place to be when we take a fall and no one is around to help us. We must smartly make choices of faith. Choices that we know are going to take us on a journey of both joy and sorrow. We must not develop a habit of venturing off route every time we hit the sorrow. We need to stay the course, climb with everything we have.

1 Comment:

gogo said...

"I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived. I wanted to live deep and suck all the marrow of life..."

-Henry David Thoreau

I think it's good to go off route sometimes, to explore...as long as one has a clear goal of reaching the top and finishing the climb. Perhaps, then, the fear of being completely lost can be reduced, changed from immobilization, to energy that can be a catalyst of planning and movement towards the goal regardless of the route taken.
As always, it's good to pause and reflect, recalculate if need be, the route one is on to see if any adjustments need to be made. Whether it's a fixed route or one is trailblazing, I think the key is having a defined goal, and doing one's best to keep moving in that direction.

You mentioned faith, God does not change because we might become lost on a climb, lose the route, or we can't see the finish of the climb...God is the same though our faith may falter; and, perhaps in this we can be strengthened, not by trusting in doctrine or people's words, but because God simply, is.

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