When you prepare to hike a mountain what shoes do you consider wearing? Hiking boots, trail runners, sneakers, flip flops? Wait, flip flops? We all need a shoe with good traction and strong ankle protection right?
In observing those around me, I witness varied types of hiking boots, a large variety of trail shoes but rarely flip flops. So why do I wear them? I am from a small ski town in
. We wear heavy boots for almost 9 months of the year. Flip flops symbolize for me freedom from oppression. So, it’s cultural right? Well, yes and no. Because of my revolt against repressive footwear, I have become quite adept at scrambling on and around rocky terrain in flip flops. Colorado
We are told from the powers that be: we must wear shoes that have arch support, good traction, and ankle protection. It is believed, flip flops force wearers into an “unnatural,” toe-gripping, foot-slapping gait. Or so those that don’t wear flip flops; at least not on challenging terrain, would insist.
Scarcity of “proper” footware outside the wealthy boarders of the
forces many to adapt with sufficient alternatives. In the United States if we don’t have proper footware, we often don’t hike. We don’t adapt, make due, or find another way. We forgo. United States
I believe this originates from the widely held belief that if you play basketball, you wear basketball shoes. If you play tennis you wear tennis shoes. Our wealth affords us many options. However, it can cause us to hold on to some immovable beliefs that aren’t entirely true.
Spiritual famine results. There aren’t alternative venues to becoming a disciple of Jesus. The disengaged often profess to be spiritual but not “religious,” so they wander aimlessly being tossed by every wind of teaching. The distant want to learn about Jesus but don’t know how. The disillusioned think Jesus is a weak fantasy because of misguided things they have been told.
I am one who observed church representatives horribly misrepresenting God on many levels in many ways. As a young woman in high school biology class, I concluded if evolution were true and there was no presence of God in the church then, Jesus is not true. I wandered aimlessly for the next twenty years.
Only 9 percent of committed Christ followers come to a saving faith over the age of 18. In my experience, this occurs because there is almost no alternative to the church building to learn about Jesus in
. Television and radio ministries maybe, but they fall short in providing the appropriate community one needs to carry out what they are learning. America
As a result, there is an epidemic of hurting people in this country. Addiction, broken families, perverted love, body mutilation, greed, celebrity worship, and depression rage like the plague.
I have come to learn peace and joy arise from a personal, intimate relationship with the ONE that saves us from sin and death. Our creator longs to rescue us, redeem us, and restore us to perfect communion with Him. We do not have to wait for heaven to experience peaceful rest from the evil in this world. He wants us to have it on earth as it will be in heaven. He overcomes evil.
I am suggesting we start small groups apart from connection to a bricks and mortar church. I am not saying we hemorrhage the church. Many people like to wear hiking boots. I have a nice pair. Rather, I’m suggesting the church GO out and make disciples meeting them where they are (Luke 10).
Build community. Be family to one another. Encourage one another. Teach one another. Love one another, intentionally.
We are free. Why don’t we live as such? Set your piggies free!
Want to learn how to start a small group in your neighborhood? Read the following books:
- The Rabbit and the Elephant by Tony & Felicity Dale and George Barna
by Hugh Halter and Matt Smay Tangible Kingdom
- Off Road Disciplines by Earl Creps
 David Kinnaman, Gabe Lyons. UNCHRISTIAN (
: Baker Books, 2007), 74-77. Grand Rapids, MI
 Ibid., 75.