Thursday, March 19, 2009

Letter to a Young Traveller: Eleven Tips (#9-11)

Read all 11 points by clicking HERE.

9. SOME TRAVELLER’S FAITH DOES NOT SURVIVE

Know that many people take a step back in their relationship with God, most 'mark time', and only a few come back with a stronger in faith. This, of course, is my impression. If you know this is possibly true, then you can determine to be the one who comes back stronger. The reason that most people mark time or go back is that they don’t plan ahead. They plan their ticket, their route, their accommodation, their work, but they don’t plan to their spiritual life. Take a read of Luke 14:25-35.

10. BRING A BIBLE AND SEVERAL GOOD BOOKS

First thing to pack is NOT your toothbrush. It’s your BIBLE. Buy a smaller one if you need. Read it every day. Read maybe these books:
  • Daniel [How to live in a hostile to God world]
  • James [Faith without works is dead],
  • Jonah [God is God even in Tarshish]
  • The Psalms [Honest prayer].
  • Luke [Jesus travel narrative: from Galilee through Judea and Samaria to the cross, with lots of calls to radical discipleship].
Maybe even print out the whole book, so that you can read it and highlight good things on the planes and trains etc.

Plus take a couple of good Christian books. This can really shape a trip as well and is great for each plane leg. In reality some say it is difficult to read just the bible, but a book AND bible is great.

11. COME BACK HUMBLE, NOT PROUD

Don’t come back and be all disappointed that ‘people are still the same’. Especially at your Church. People will look at all your photos, but they will not have had the experience that you have had. Come back loving the idea of being more involved in church than you already are! In other words, don’t come back arrogant about your experiences. Come back humble.

That's it. Discuss.

Next: 10 Reasons not to give for Travel.

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Pic on Flickr by Loungerie.

4 comments:

Mikey Lynch said...

Great point to finish on!

Sally Hitchiner said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Sally Hitchiner said...

(Sorry to delete a post - I realized I could say that without waffling so much!)

I mostly wanted to say thanks for such a helpful post... both personally (I'm on a sort of year out in a different culture and it's great to be reminded of this stuff!) and pastorally (I work with a lot of young people who are, or have just been, on actual travels!). I'm sure I'll be passing on these thoughts!

You reminded me of the anthropology (my first degree) concept of "liminal zones" - times or spaces that are set apart from ordinary life perhaps because it is inbetween two developed states... eg New Years Eve parties, gap years, traveling, even the internet.

One of their most universal findings is that normal rules of life don't apply in these liminal zones as we experiment with alternative modes of being. Take the office christmas party for example: not quite work, not quite social time, it's liminal and this seems to mean people will do things there that they would never dream of in ordinary life (getting drunk in front of their boss, kissing their work colleagues, etc).
Also on the internet we see spelling rules are often relaxed as people experiment with new modes of being ("Gr8 2 CU!"), and people experience a dramatic reduction in inhibitions: they share personal information that they would never dream of sharing in ordinary life.
Someone came to the conclusion that we somehow think that liminal zones are less permanent than real life and so the consequences will be less likely to catch up with us.
I reckon living in a liminal zone has many of the same characteristics as drinking alcohol. We reduce our inhibitions, we open up more, we feel more confident about trying things we wouldn't do otherwise and less afraid of the consequences... and it's something that we (as Christians in particular) need to be extra vigilant in.

However the good news is that Jesus spent 3 years as a traveller, living in liminality. The road has been travelled before us and we have footsteps to place our feet in so that we might not trip.

Thanks again for the very helpful blog posts Justin.

Donna said...

Thanks for these, Justin. We should have this sort of discussion more often.

I'd like to add another one (if I may). I'd encourage travellers, if they're in a position to, ask people of other faiths real questions about their faith. Generally people in a non-secular culture are happy to talk about their religion.

In my experience (meeting Hindus, Buddhists, and Muslims) no one I've met has assurance of salvation the way we do, and none of those religions are a religion of grace like Christianity. They often make their decisions based on fear, not trust. It has cemented my belief in Jesus to see the alternatives. Christians who have converted from other faiths also often tell amazing stories about how wonderful Jesus is.

I'd also ask those from different faiths what they think of Christianity. Many people think that all people in the west are Christian (and therefore their knowledge of how Christians live is very distorted!) Often these people haven't converted not because they disagree with the message, but because they don't understand what the message is.