Carl Fredricksen may, in fact, be my spirit animal. I have often had visions of myself as an old woman bemoaning the changes around me and telling kids to get off my lawn. I even have the benefit of being able to tell younger generations that things were better back in ‘aught four’ which just has a good curmudgeonly ring to it. But I also have a deep love of adventure and travel. I have actually told people (before I saw “Up”) that if I could just pack up my entire house and take it all at once, I would move all the time. To me, Carl’s plan to transport his own home somewhere exotic was brilliant.
You see, the problem is summed up quite neatly by Charles Muntz’s catch phrase, “Adventure is out there!” It’s great that adventure is out there in the world, but all my stuff is in here. My books, my clothes, my favorite blanket. My food, furniture, and wifi. Not to mention The Princess, Disney Dog, and the Aristocat. Adventure may be out there, but home is in here. I like it. It’s safe, calm, and predictable. I know what to expect. It may not always be challenging or fulfilling, but it is known. It is safe. If I could simply tie balloons on that life and relocate it, part and parcel, somewhere else I would be very tempted to do so. Adventure is great! As long as it isn’t too much different from what I already do.
I don’t think I’m alone in this. In fact I see it played out not only in the lives of people around me, but in the Church. Church folks are always willing to try new things. As long as those things don’t actually change anything in the life of the church. For the most part, other than music styles and technology additions most mainline churches are functioning the exact same way they were sixty years ago. The house may have moved locations, but it’s still the same house. For real change, for real adventure we have to be willing to let the house go, trusting that there will be something else there. That thought is frightening. We fear we will lose more than we gain so we stay with what we know even if it means being stuck as the world moves on around us.
Carl’s breakthrough came when he discovered the real adventure in life was in the relationships that we build with those around us. The Church can learn something similar. Adventure can’t be found in four walls. It is out in the world in new people, new experiences, and new challenges. We have to be brave enough to step outside and face it, both literally and figuratively. Adventure is out there. We will never find it if we stay in one place.
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