Hi. My name is Rick Grover, and I am an excitement addict.
I’m always looking for the thrill of adventure, the mountain-top experience, the motorcycle rush of riding The Tail of the Dragon. (For the uninitiated, you can learn about this motorcycle ride here: tailofthedragon.com).
My personality and passion align well with my evangelical subculture. Evangelicals tend to focus on passion, risk, excitement, and the kind of worship that gives a rush. Eugene Peterson calls this quest for spiritual intensity a consumer-driven “market for religious experience in our world.” He says that “there is little enthusiasm for the patient acquisition of virtue, little inclination to sign up for a long apprenticeship in what earlier generations of Christians called holiness. Religion in our time has been captured by a tourist mindset. . . We go to see a new personality, to hear a new truth, to get a new experience and so somehow to expand our otherwise humdrum life” (A Long Obedience in the Same Direction, 16).
This is not to imply that Christianity is to be filled with tedious sermons and wearisome worship. But I fear we have swung the experiential spectrum of our faith to the extreme end of gourmet meals offered once a week rather than healthy meals offered every day.
Sometimes in my reading of Scripture my mind wanders. Sometimes in my daily prayers I forget what I was saying. I get too easily bored with the routine of daily spiritual practices, and I want to “get on with it” to go save the world.
I find myself acting like the dwarves in C. S. Lewis’s, The Last Battle, who have a delectable feast set before them but, because of a curse, mistake it for food that is unappetizing and even revolting.
Trish Warren wisely asks the question, “How should we respond when we find the Word perplexing or dry or boring or unappealing? We keep eating. We receive nourishment. We keep listening and learning and taking our daily bread” (Liturgy of the Ordinary, 67).
If I’m really hungry, I don’t refuse to eat unless I’m at a five-star restaurant. I also don’t hold off and eat only on Sundays. I eat every day, and sometimes I even take the responsibility of preparing my own meal.
I encourage you this week to join me in developing faith one meal at a time and not rely solely on the Sunday meal. Let’s not get captured by a tourist mindset where we’re always seeking the newest, coolest, hottest destination to somehow expand our otherwise humdrum life.
Yes, following Jesus is an adventure, but it’s not a thrill-a-minute. With Jesus, it may be a three-mile-an-hour walk on a dusty road that, from our consumer mentality, might appear to be a bit … boring.