I first heard of Mark Batterson from the Granger guys (Tim Stevens & Tony Morgan), and visited his church last year when I was in town for the AAR. It looks like a great thing is happening there – though I couldn’t imagine smiling as much as Mark does.
Mark recently shared what he calls the “Lion Chaser Manifesto” while at Granger (read his book if you want a more developed picture):
Quit living as if the purpose of life is to arrive safely at death. Set God-sized goals. Pursue God-ordained passions. Go after a dream that is destined to fail without divine intervention. Keep asking questions. Keep making mistakes. Keep seeking God. Stop pointing out problems and become part of the solution. Stop repeating the past and start creating the future. Stop playing it safe and start taking risks. Expand your horizons. Accumulate experiences. Consider the lilies. Enjoy the journey. Find every excuse you can to celebrate everything you can. Live like today is the first day and last day of your life. Don’t let what’s wrong with you keep you from worshipping what’s right with God. Burn sinful bridges. Blaze a new trail. Criticize by creating. Worry less about what people think and more about what God thinks. Don’t try to be who you’re not. Be yourself. Laugh at yourself. Quit holding out. Quit holding back. Quit running away. Chase the lion!
I’m not sure what to do with this.
On the one hand, it’s a fine distillation of the kind of inspirational challenge one gets from reading certain missionary biographies. I like the excitement it suggests. I heartily believe – and preach – that the Christian life is an adventure. Too many Christians are missing out on this dimension of the faith.
On the other hand, it also sounds like a manifesto for modern American individualism with some Christianese added in.
As a recovering individualist, my first response was, “Yeah! I wish all my people would read this and do it!” But what do we do with the people – who are often dependent on us in some way or another – who cannot or will not “chase the lion?” I have three kids. They need parents who are faithful and dependable – predictable even. “Hey kids! I see a lion over there I need to chase. Y’all fix your own dinner tonight. What? I never got around to filling the pantry? I’m sure you’ll think of something. Bye.” I don’t know if that will work well except for Mr & Mrs Tarzan.
In my situation in particular my oldest child has special needs. With her autism she can’t handle the intensity of the Lion Chasing life (there have been many times I’d like to chase lions but my responsibility for her has held me back).
Or what do I do as a pastor? Do I tell people, “Either adopt a lion chasing life style or find another church – there’s a nice sedate hospice church right around the corner.” While I think some of our elderly folks may have missed out on a lot by living calm (boring, by my standards) Christian lives, I’m not comfortable running so fast I leave them in the dust.
Now if we can read the Manifesto not as something I do, but as something WE do, I think it might work better for our churches – and be a better way to not run beyond the least of these our brethren. Read as a community manifesto it can spur the community as a whole to find the adventure of the Christian life.