Monday, July 13, 2009

How Was Your Trip?

I recently returned from 10 weeks in Europe. 8 weeks were spent at The Salvation Army International College for Officers. I met some great people who will be with me in spirit for the rest of my life. The memories will be indelibly etched on my mind and heart for years.

As I have returned, people have asked me, "How was your trip?" I find that a difficult question to answer. I missed family and friends. I have thought about how much things changed at home and in my ministry while I was gone. Relationships changed. Procedures changed. Some of these changed for the better. Janet and I got much closer. Some of the other relationships and procedures are difficult to adjust to again. They are different.

I have begun to realize that my trip was bigger than a vacation or just a time away. It was a journey in a way. Trips have a beginning and ending point. They are for a set amount of time. Journeys tend to be longer, they are more about enjoying the scenery, the company and the time for reflection.

I took a journey. The company was great. The scenery was the learning experiences and the reflection time was plentiful. I have felt more as if I am on a trip with deadlines and restoring relationships since I have been back. It is not that they have been broken; they have just changed.

The fact is that journeys change people. They take people through depths of despair and also bring them to the peaks of delight.

The one thing I am learning on my journey is the real need for companions. We need each other desperately. As Americans, we value self-motivation, self-gratification and rugged individualism. I am not sure that those are necessary Christian values. As Paul wrote to the Corinthians, "We are one body."

I think the problem with our movement and the Church in general, is that we are in a hurry to get from Point A to Point B. We rarely stop to enjoy companionship or friendship. I think maybe it may be a trust issue. Maybe we are trying to get "results" from the latest Christian fad or mission slogan.

Whatever it is, I think that far too many people are taking the quick trip and not enjoying the journey.

So, what is that will enhance our journeys? How can we be the body that Christ wants us to be?

I think it is simple. It is about being vulnerable. It is about being accountable. In short it is about sharing the journey with friends and companions, not just having acquaintances.

Well those are my thoughts. Do you think too many of us are taking trips and not journeys? Do you think it is a trust issue that prohibits us from sharing the journey? Are we scared to be vulnerable because we are more about rugged individualism than community?

What do you think?


Blogger Andre L. Burton said...


Thank you for your thoughts. I cannot recall the name of the singing group as I write this comment but the singing group asks a question regarding friends..."How many of us have them?"

7:53 PM  
Blogger jeff said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

1:39 AM  
Blogger Allison Ward said...

Well I've been living in New York City for about a month now and every day is like a new adventure. As I wonder the Subways and streets I always make an effort to soak it all in and be kind to people. Today I was standing kettles on Broadway and I would ask "Sir/mam would you like to donate to the salvation army today and help people in need?" most people are in such a rush with their coffee's and cigarettes that they don't even acknowledge I'm there but when I said thanks or have a good day even though they didn't donate they would turn around and put in their loose change. It happened more than once. It's no coincidence that these people respond in this way. We live in a ME culture. People are now refering to this generation as "Generation ME" and sadly enough it's true and I see it every day. I always say how crazy it is to be in the biggest city ever crowded with people and yet feel so alone.
I wonder if more people smiled and If people slowed down a bit and if people built up relationships instead of acquaintances how different NYC would be?
I think what it all comes down to is loving people. Christ tells us time and time again to love like He loves us. If we truly love someone we will make the effort to build up the relationship

In terms of the SA I totally know what you mean with getting from point A to point B. Many corps on a Sunday have the church service and leave. I can honestly say that my new corps, Chinatown isn't about getting from point A to point B right away. We spend hours and hours with the people just eating and playing games and laughing and I think that if we didn't have that...there wouldn't be that many people attending church. These people have a need to be loved and feel like they belong and build relationships that are Christ centered. I'm determined to not let my life be a quick trip here on earth but a journey that is planned out by the creator himself :)

3:47 PM  
Blogger jeff said...

10:31 PM  
Blogger bedemike said...

I think the idea of "fear of vulnerability" is real because people don't know what they are missing. What I mean is, the fear is the initial "no," but only becuase they don't know the upside of real relationship.

Peterson's book "A Long Obedience In the Same Direction" address the "Christian life as journey" idea really powerfully.

10:28 AM  

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