Thanks for all the well wishes while I was away on vacation AND for dealing with a record 5 posts last week. Also thanks for dealing with very delayed responses to your wonderful comments, I’m amazed people not only read at all, let alone post replies that show they’ve thought about what I said.
I’m back from my surf trip. Though the waves weren’t huge (I doubt they ever topped 4 feet) and they certainly weren’t consistent the trip was amazing. The weather cooperated – two days of sunshine and no rain (except while we slept) – for the Oregon coast this is nothing short of a miracle and clearly indicates that God was blessing Newport, Oregon because of my presence.
I just love being in the water. I love to run into crashing waves and I love to throw myself on my longboard to just barely make it over the crest and come down the other side like the first drop on a roller coaster. And I even like getting tossed around like a rag doll when I fall in a rushing wave, which surely happened each day. I’d stay out for five hours if I didn’t love my wife and daughter.
To me surfing is a fulfillment of God’s hope for mankind and the earth he gave us to roam around on. God gave us a blank slate and let us figure out how to use it. He gave us no maps, no blue prints for what buildings should be like, nor recipes for the food and raw material growing. I love surfing because it takes something like the ocean, so vast and deep and destructive, and turns it into a setting for recreation. Mankind took the waves and figured out how to harness those waves. It’s just beautiful. I feel the same about whoever realized you could slide down snow on two long sticks.
So I’m gonna take a bit of a risk here (and truth be told I don’t have all of this figured out). Playing in the ocean, sitting around campfires, having a drink with a friend – there’s something very primal and darn near sacred about these things. To be honest it makes me doubt these religious systems we’ve built.
We’re constantly trying to motivate people to join our cause and sweat their buns off working for whatever is the issue of the day – and I wonder if we were made to enjoy this time here and not just run uphill against the wind. I’m wondering if religion has manipulated us into soldiers for itself and in doing so striped us of a primal yet sacred thing – enjoying our lives. This is one thing I envy of the “pagans” – they aren’t guilt tripped by a religion always trying to make them do something.
I’m not saying we should all turn into hedonists and never lift a finger to help one another – but I do think that the heavy burden of religion that’s been heaped on by centuries of people – very much so including Christians – has consumed our thoughts and made us slaves to the system.
I don’t know if I’m doing a very good job of communicating here. Like I said these ideas are new to me. The message of back breaking religion (not just preached by the best Pharisees, but by countless contemporary, “relevant” techno churches as well) has infiltrated our minds. I think life might be a lot simpler. I think love and service should be more genuine, not something you pry out of someone. I think love is far more infectious than we give it credit for, which is why we’ve created religion and proselytizing it – we couldn’t trust love to do the job.
If you can even figure out what I’m trying to say – what do you think?
*Note: after writing this post I read this blog by Donald Miller – and I think we’re writing about and against the same religious phenomenon. Also note I’m more than willing to flesh this out more in the comments – as people could think I’m saying we shouldn’t serve or join ministries or help the poor, etc.