Once a man asked Why do you bother? You never know, I said. The ones you give some semblance of burial, to whom you offer an apology, may have been like seers in a parallel culture. It is an act of respect, a technique of awareness.
- Barry Lopez, Apologia

Lopez intentionally engaged himself in the discipline of removing roadkill from the highway - jackrabbits, porcupines, raccoons, a red fox, sparrows, a big doe, even a badger, 'each animal like a solitary child's shoe in the road.' Sounds crazy doesn't it, deranged, like a man off his rocker. 

I was raised a pastor's son, spent quite some time in my father's footsteps, and have lived the last few years, still credentialed, but off to the side. This is what I see - roadkill, the Church is strewn with it, the air acrid, the ground stained. But we just keep on truckin', pursuing the visions in our own heads, barreling down the highway in our pink cadillacs of missional love, forgetting what lies behind, no turning back, no turning back. Everyone seems heavenbent on being part of a movement, if not leading one. I'm sure they're out there, but I can't hear a single voice interested in a stop-and-back-up-ment, maybe a pull-over-on-the-shoulder-ment. If we just keep moving the cries are muffled, hardly a whisper. We've got places to go, busy, busy, busy. 

This discipline of apologia (I am not talking about our current fascination with apologetics) is dirty work, takes time, effort, pride-swallowing, you might have to brake your three-year visionquest, pick up the phone, write a letter, take a trip and leave the ninety and nine for the one, two, or three. It begins with the guts to say I'm sorry. There is so much more that follows, but that's the first step, or better yet, stop: I'm sorry, please forgive me. Making amends is a powerful antidote; it possibly has the power to heal. 

Why bother? Because you never know...



  1. Lots of depth here, John. My eyes and heart gravitated to the portion on busyness. Glad I'm part of a Body of Believers that encourages rest.

  2. Try this on and see if it fits: our problem is that we hire professionals to clean up road kill. We abdicate our responsibility to be like Jesus on the journey opting to keep our hands clean.

    Any "movement" that doesn't produce road kill specialists isn't following Jesus' last words to us...but a movement we must be—contagious, dirty and beautiful.

  3. Tim, its a little short in the sleeves, but I can roll 'em up and make it work...I follow your thinking and agree, yes we abdicate, usually with glee...at the same time, and this is cantankerous me, Jesus' last 'go' is 'as you are going', a phrase that I don't take with quite as much speed as I currently hear/read/experience it from others...speed/momentum/velocity/even movement are all words that are lost on the crippled, sick, old, wounded, roadkilled...I'm not advocating stopping, but slowing.
    Are you at Disneyland?

  4. a different kind of good Samaritan???

    {the quote on your sidebar by Harrison was well worth stopping for}

  5. I stumbled here from nAncY's site -- and so glad I did.

    I work at a homeless shelter, a place where the almost road-kill fall in an effort to find .... something, anything, that will make sense of how hard they've fallen on the road of life -- and still, they keep going. It is epidemic in our society. Keep going. Keep moving forward and don't look back people tell them. Get up. come one. Keep going.

    Looking back is sometimes what we must do to see what' we've driven over getting here.

    Oh dear... your post has engaged my rant muscles!

    thanks for your words -- they are deep and now I must go and ponder them.

    I'll return for more visits. I see there are a lot of people I know here.

  6. From someone who has been brought to a complete standstill and pulled over to the side of the road, I can attest that it is a place worth being. Every forward movement is now a result of God's movement, and it works much better that way! Great post!

  7. ML Gallagher, thanks for stopping by...and taking the time to comment.

  8. Karlaokala, thanks for your words...grace and mercy for the journey you're on...

  9. I really need this today, most days.