Friday, November 04, 2005

Riverwalk and the Siren's Song

O.K. I get it. I like to travel light but having a simple, yet compact, digital camera on the road is a good idea. Today – weather, temperature and sunshine- is simply too nice not to take note. I almost feel like I should pay admission and , as an added bonus, San Antonio has done a nice job with the Riverwalk area. Very nice. So, here are a couple of pics from Google.

This week's work related trek to Texas has been productive. Good progress on active projects and good conversations with colleagues and customers. Yet, as always, I am happy to be on the road but a bit sad to be away from family and friends back home. (Alas, he says, "It goes with the turf." And, it's OK.)

Right now, it’s lunch time so I’m taking a 3.5 mile detour towards San Antonio’s historic district for a bit of lunch (el Buen Gusto serves up a very local (non-tourist) lunch that is cheap and more akin to the food in the kitchen of my friends in Reynosa, Mexico rather than Tex-Mex fare) and, afterwards, a cup of coffee near the “Paseo del Rio” before making my way to my 2:00 appointment. (It is good to take a “mental health” break – even a brief respite- and set work aside for a few minutes before the work of the afternoon continues. It is a practice that I protect in my forties that I wouldn’t allow in my twenties and thirties. Too bad ( I can only estimate the loss in productivity, creativity, and focus.)

Pausing, I realize that there are some really good dialogues going on right now. One took place late yesterday as I drove west from Houston to San Antonio. A close friend and brother in Christ (we’ve been friends and participants in a local body of Christians - now gathering in Stone Mountain village- for 20+ years) called to chat. I was genuinely delighted to hear from him.

After the usual updates on wife, kids, work, etc., it was good to hear how he was finding encouragement in noticing that he was an “aroma of Christ”- for good or for ill- in the whole of his life and that he is sensing God’s pleasure as he lives an integrated everyday faith that seeks to truly love his family, friends, co-workers, customers, and the strangers that he gets to meet as he goes about his “work-a-day” life.

Having encountered quite a few set backs (at least from his perspective) in recent years, he now sees how the struggles – as well as his wrestling with God’s lead in his life - are not side trips in his walk with our Father but actually have put him right in the place where he longs to be : Living, in the whole of his existence, a life of seamless service that ministers others and examples Christ. No hype- just real.

His comments underscore a tension that we often encounter as we follow after Jesus. In fact, not long into the journey, we find that we face choices – pursue Christ as far as it is comfortable or trek towards self denial, humility, submission, and so on. We know the proper path to take; however, we sometimes find it is tempting to settle for sort of a “Christianity-lite that a prosperous (American/Western) church sometimes serves up – often buffet style- to those who are simply willing to show up, look the part, and take part in a very insulated manner of pseudo-Christian living. In some ways, the tempting and alluring fare is almost a siren’s song that can sideline a fervent disciple and weaken the church. Sadly, we too often choose to sing along.

Anyway, enough of solving the troubles of the world…it’s time to wrap things up and get back to work. An integrated faith….now that’s good parting note.


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