When you’ve been all over the Evangelical map, picking up random pieces of mismatched baggage along the way (Where did I score this hideous olive pleather tote bag, anyway?), you have two choices. You and your ugly luggage can head for the nearest exit ramp in hopes you can find a flea market where you can sell the lot of it, hoping to make enough profit to buy yourself a Happy Meal. Or you can recognize the baggage for what it is: the souvenirs of your journey as a pilgrim. Oh, that luggage you’ve been schlepping may have words like “exile”, “wanderer” or “refugee” stamped on every I.D. tag. Those words may be the story of of those individual suitcases, but they’re not your story.
When Jesus invited each one of us to follow him, he brought purpose and dignity to our wandering. Welcome, then, to Pilgrim’s Road Trip. I like to think that arrival at our destination will mean that our ugly luggage will be circling for eternity on a baggage carousel, forever unclaimed. And we’ll be home, pilgrims no more.
My own journey has taken me on the Grand Tour of Evangelicalland, including a few zany borderland excursions, since this Jewish girl found (or was found by) her Messiah. I’ve spent time in flag flyin’ fundamentalist churches, big box mega- and multi-site congregations, wild (!) Charismatic churches, Messianic congregations, staid mainstream congregations – and a heaping helping of “miscellaneous” churches. I’ve home schooled my three kids, served on a church staff, handled communications for a parachurch organization, and worked at a seminary. Among other things, this all means I’ve made more than my fair share of VBS craft projects (cotton balls glued to paper plate = sheep). Though I can wield a glue stick like a ninja if I must, what I really cherish is discussing theological trends, ecclesiology, books and pop culture with you. And I enjoy following Jesus to the places it seems he likes to go best – dangerous, lonely, awkward, messy or unpopular places – maybe because he knows I’ll find great traveling companions there.
I hope that’ll include you. Shalom!