|(Shot taken on the trek to see Hardman's Hole - deepest|
natural hole in New Zealand. Beautiful scenery)
Running is one of these defining labels in my life. I am a runner, which holds with it certain defining characteristics in my eyes and in the eyes of others. At times this is beneficial as people think of me as fit or capable of certain physical feats, which may or may not be true depending on my physical shape at the time. There are other moments when it holds some form of negative connotation in the minds of others. While I'm not aware what all these might be, it causes people to shout things, throw things, and thrust obscene gestures out of windows as they drive by a runner just out for some exercise.
Another term that defines a bigger part of who I am as a person, if that's possible, is the word "Christian." A term with more baggage and many more positive and negative attributes in people's hearts and minds. In a further defining, which I struggled against for years and finally gave into for many reasons, I am also defined by the word "Baptist" as I am an ordained Baptist minister.
I do not apologize for any three of these terms or the negative feelings they might drudge up in your heart, but as with everything else in my life I choose to define myself in light of these terms in my own way and my own understanding of them. There are certainly many people who have suffered to some extent, and most likely more people who will, in respect to my life and my choices as a running Christian Baptist - for all of those folks I am certainly sorry. I know, that while this is true, in my own struggle to discern what it means to be a running Christian Baptist many other lives have bounced off of mine and have been made the better for it - for all of those folks I give thanks.
|(Shot taken on the trail to Mt. Everest - run run run run run!)|
One, I had been thinking about this world and the condition of it, leading me into thinking on the overall status of humanity. Are we born bad or innocent? In the end maybe it doesn't matter if we are born bastards or are taught to become bastards, but we all seem to be doing the best we can in spite of my favorite quote describing the basic human condition. Dr. Cox from the show Scrubs said in one episode to sum up his feeling of people, "we are all just bastard coated bastards with bastard filling."
Already thinking along these lines, and with a smile on my face, I decided it would be good to read a passage from the Bible before heading out on my church run. I opened Psalms and saw a line already highlighted from a while back - "May your unfailing love come to me, O Lord, your salvation according to your promise;" 119:41. This led me to the second thought, which was basically, yes we are all bastard coated bastards with bastard filling, but the most basic promise we get in the Christian setting is that as believers we are no longer bastards. Our bastard condition has been redeemed and our broken relationship has been restored. We might still behave like bastards on occasion, but we no longer own the term.
|(Shot taken on the Milford Trek in NZ - need to go back and run it)|
bastard and at times I can revert back to acting like a bastard, but in truth this part of my identity is gone. I know my Creator and our relationship has been made whole. It was a joyful run during which time I sang a little, chatted with some sheep and cows nearby, and spent some time in prayer.
As runners were all different, some gravitating towards mountain trails and others happy on roads 24/7. Perhaps by now, for better or worse, you might have guessed that some of the basic characteristics attributed to the words Christian or Baptist do not apply to me just as ultra running does not apply to me. Along this thought line, what words apply to your life and what defines you as a person?
If Dr. Cox is right, we are in need of some help. I've met a lot of folks along the run so far, some bastards and some not so much. Today was just one of those days where the various parts of me merged and I had to write on religion and running. I suppose it was the joy that forced me to sit down and write. The joy of knowing I once used to be a full fledged bastard, a bastard who now has a Father/Mother/Creator. No longer bastard filled, I'm now filled with the Spirit of God. And though when I run I'm coated with sweat, it is no longer the bastard coated sheen in which I used to be covered.
|(Shot taken from a run that works it's way up a long stretch of beach in|
Oreti New Zealand)
Keep running all you runners. Read about running, talk about running, write about running, and all along the way keep your eyes open for the joy of running is there!
*Bryan's comment adds the video - can't believe I didn't think to add it. So here you go!