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...