One of my favorite movies is Seabiscuit. Do you remember that movie? It is the story of three broken men and a broken horse, and how they help each other on their journey to healing. Mr. Howard is an inventor and entrepreneur who loses everything during the Great Depression…his fortune, his marriage, and his young son.
Are we entitled to a clear lane on the highway so we can get to where we are going one time? How about getting seated a restaurant without waiting in line? What about free education, or a life without pain? I know many folks who feel that they are entitled to a nice comfortable life without any suffering. I am pretty sure that each of us could come up with a list as long as our arm of the things that at some level we feel entitled to.
True Pursuit Team members respond to the following:
“Becoming like Christ is a long, slow process of growth. Spiritual maturity is neither instant nor automatic; it is a gradual, progressive development that will take the rest of your life. Referring to this process, Paul said, “This will continue until we are . . . mature, just as Christ is, and we will be completely like him.” (Ephesians 4:13 CEV)
– Danny Davis
At the end of the movie The Wizard of Oz, the Wizard gives a diploma to the Scarecrow, a badge of courage to the Cowardly Lion, and a heart to the Tin Man. As they celebrated the fulfillment of their desires, the Scarecrow says to the Wizard, ”Hey, what about Dorothy?” Dorothy’s response was to say…”Oh, I don’t think there is in anything in that black bag for me.”
The first step toward “getting Scripture through me” was to check my motivation for reading the Bible. I could no longer read it as something to achieve. I had to read it to let the Living Word become more enfleshed in me.
“How are you reading Scripture?” is a question asked of Christ followers since the Reformation, when the Bible was translated into the language of the people. I confess that my main motivation for decades was to read it for knowledge. My conclusion was, especially as a seminary trained theologian, that I had to know more of the Bible than anyone I met. Worse yet, I concluded that knowing the Bible made me more spiritual. It was a simple equation that drove my biblical literacy and unfortunately promoted a level of self-righteousness and arrogance.
A few years ago I was watching a Godwit wade through the surf happily feasting on aquatic worms as the sun rose on Amelia Island. As I watched the silhouette of the bird, I was reminded of what Jesus said in Matthew 6:25-27…
I have always loved the outdoors…nature in particular. As a kid growing up in a really small town in Central NY, I spent many hours during the summer climbing trees, making forts, pretending that I was Daniel Boone, or Grizzly Adams. Well, I did have a beard at a young age.
There’s another chapter to the story I told in Silent Solitude – Part 1 and Silent Solitude – Part 2. After hosting a few A High Mountain retreats (if you recall, personal retreats with a small company of men) at our home in Montana, I began wondering a few things. What aspects could I bring back home to Michigan, to make them more accessible to men interested in pursuing solitude? Should I be offering more to equip men to practice solitude disciplines in their daily lives? And having learned that solitude and community are inseparable and complimentary spiritual disciplines, what could I offer to give men a taste of this – to experience this for themselves?
As I described in Silent Solitude – Part 1, in 2005 I began an unanticipated journey into the practices of what I would now call solitude and silence. The first part of that journey was personal, formative. Then something else happened along the way.
I began to feel a pull towards sharing my experiences of solitude and silence.