"Saki says, ‘Ride together.’"

Gents and Ladies,
I’ve enjoyed tremendously the opportunities to ride and talk about cycling with you all. Granted there are various levels of fitness, capabilities, and (in my case) shape. The camaraderie and fitness I’ve enjoyed because of the bike has been restorative and helpful in so many ways.
For various reasons, many have had to reduce their weekly riding time. As we’re pretty much at the end of the cycling event season and are already beginning to plan for next season, I would like for us to begin now in setting some goals, opening up the information loop, and allowing opportunity for others to climb on and enjoy what many of us have experienced.
Regarding events over the past year, several of us have participated in weekly group rides, weekend challenge and charity rides and even a few races. I’ve seen or heard that a number of you have participated in the Ride Around Wilkes, Mountains of Misery, 3 Mountain Madness, Blood, Sweat, and Gears, Tour to Tanglewood, Tour de Furniture, Tour de Pig, and Bridge to Bridge. Wouldn’t it be great to open the door, encourage and support one another, and assist one another in achieving their goals? I know that I can’t do it alone. And as we all are aware, riding with others makes it easier for everybody.
So, I’d like to propose a couple of thoughts and opportunities:
  • Firstly, I’d like to start a weekly road ride beginning this Saturday morning (9/30) at 7:30 am. Initially, we’ll depart from the Grace Pres church parking lot on Hopkins Road at 7:30 am. I was thinking we could do a 15-17 mile loop which would allow for some participants to ride shorter or longer distances, for some laps to be faster than others, and allow for differing fitness levels.
  • Secondly, I’d like to start a weekly Salem Lake ride which would be on Sunday afternoon and be a ‘family ride’ – trailers, children, etc…. Salem Lake is a 7 mile loop and of course there are no cars. You do have to watch out for the horses and the horse…stuff, though. More info later.
  • Thirdly, I’d like for us to set some goals for next year and train with the goal of doing some events together.
  • And lastly, I’d like for us to encourage and support one another in the pursuit of those goals, serve as resources for one another, and welcome others into the activity we enjoy.
Granted this all may be a little too much or too organized. Maybe the question is, “Is there enough interest?” I don’t know if there is enough interest or commitment. However, if there is and if this will happen, starting it in the ‘base miles’ stage of year will be easier than trying to start late spring. Maybe the other way to inquire is, Do you want to do something you never thought you’d be able to do like ride the Bridge to Bridge? If so, you need help, and that we can offer one another.
All that being said, I’ll be at the church at 7:30 am on Saturday morning, and we’ll head out for couple of laps. The first lap will be slower averaging under 16 mph and the second lap as fast as we can manage together. Let me know if you’d like to participate so that I can know whether or not to expect you.
Looking forward to it and remember, “Saki says, ‘Ride together.'”
Categories Humor Ministry

Justification by Vomit

I collapsed across the finish line after last year’s Christmas services, and after a day of familial and gastronomic mirth, I prepared for the re-entry into ministry life.
Re-entries are usually violent and ungraceful. The transition from vacation to normal life passes from the lightness of vacation through the atmosphere of responsibility, falling back to the firmness through gravity’s pull, and slamming into the mass and density of life. Ah, the impact crater spreads debris and shockwaves for miles.

For a pastor, the fall back into the desperate pace of church life is marked with the shocking regularity of Sunday morning. Thankfully in my case, God put a stop to that. The day after we returned, I got sick as a dog. Being bedridden led me to an awareness that, though I had apprehended it, I had never been able to articulate it, and now I am (thanks to my good friend, Ping) able to relate it to you: I realized that I am only free when I am sick.

C.S. Lewis has written, that his “ideal happiness…would be to read the [Renaissance] Italian epic — to be always convalescent from some small illness and always seated in a window that overlooked the sea, there to read these poems eight hours of each happy day.”* Lewis speaks of the same principle. Illness provides a justifiable excuse to rest. A “small illness” is too ambiguous a thing for me to mediate. I’m always of the assumption that I can push through some measure of difficulty. What I need (and needed) was something a little more definitive.
The humble desperation of either trying not to vomit or desperately sprinting to the toilet is wonderfully centering. You really don’t care about anything else. You don’t worry whether there are empty nurseries or if there is toilet paper in the church bathroom or the bulletin is typo-free or if the overheads are correct. You don’t care whether or not your sermon is “finished” or the light bulbs have been fixed or doggone it, that that person who has dropped in unannounced is just so disappointed in the church or me, and they’ve just got to let me know — something.
“Sorry,” I say, “I can’t answer your question, hear your concern, listen to you complain– I’ve got to throw up now.” How incredibly freeing! But it’s also brilliant. Because, at this very moment, I am not being insensitive or ungracious, I am actually loving them, by getting away from them as quickly as possible so that they won’t get sick either. And what is the response to this terse, “Not…now!”? It is sympathy and kindness and concern. Is that incredible or what?
I have framed this new principle into one of the classic formations of Reformed theology. You’ve heard of soli Deo gloria or perhaps the three solas: fide, gratia, scriptura? Well let us add to it: sola aegrotus “by illness alone” or its theological cousin and more widely recognizable, soli vomitio, “vomit alone.” I really think this has potential.

There is also the universalist approach which sadly is more definitive, less debatable, and absolute; it is called: sola morte.

*This quote is pulled from Alan Jacobs excellent book on the life and thought of C.S. Lewis entitled, The Narnian: The Life and Imagination of C.S. Lewis.

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