Saturday, November 22, 2008

More of The Runaway Pastor.

Thank you for your responses to the first seven chapters of The Runaway Pastor! I have been overwhelmed by the number of you who have read and responded to the opening chapters of this novel.

Finally, I am posting more of the book. Throughout the first chapters, it has become obvious to you that Trent is hurting. During a later chapter of The Runaway Pastor, Trent is asked to journal a parable that he has been using to describe his troubles with the church. I’d like to use the five parts of this parable to encourage discussion here at .

Disclaimer: The views and opinions of the lead character in this novel are not necessarily those of the author of this blog or novel. (A bit of unofficial lawyer language.)

So click here to read Parable of the Gym: Part One. Meanwhile, I invite you to join the discussion by posting responses here and following along as—one at a time—I publish the five parts of the Parable of the Gym.


Zee said...

one thing before i comment on the parable of the gym - Trent was asked to write in a diary in a chapter later than 7th, right? i'm just trying to see whether i missed something in previous chapters... :)

regarding the parable. we, as Christians, often become like the Older Brother from the parable about the Prodigal son... i love how Henri Nouwen pays attention to the older son in his book, "The Return of the Prodigal Son"... that book was one of the assignments for the Spiritual Formation class i took for EuNC and it was wonderful... scary because it shows how we act (and forget that we still are not our own saviors)... but awesome because once it opens your eyes, you cannot really close 'em again.

sometimes when i invite my friends to Church, i am more nervous than when i myself am going to a unknown environment. and although i guess i should be more trusting, i still am anxious every time someone i know comes to Church because i want them to see what i see... and with those people from the parable it's sorta the same - i bet Tammy's fears were similarly based...

but then, believing in people helps them to believe in themselves :)

david said...

Yes, the Parable is in a later chapter than you have read. Which brother, I wonder was the prodigal in Jesus' story???

Zee said...

whoops.. i wrote a big comment yesterday and i guess i didn't post it (blonde).

the parable about the prodigal son reminds me of the other parable of Jesus where there also were two brothers. father came to the first and asked him to do something and the son replied "sure, dad, will do!" and didn't do a thing. the other son declined the request at first, yet later did as his father asked him to.

so the older son is like the first one, who supposedly is with the Father all the time, yet he starts taking things for granted and although he's with the father physically, he's away from him emotionally and spiritually. the younger son, however, although not physically with his dad, emotionally he is and that leads him back to home.

so the real prodigal son is the older one who still hasn't found his way home, sort of, since he's home but does not feel at home.

Rich Schmidt said...

(I'm writing this after having read parts 1-3 of the parable, but it seemed to fit here.)

One tragedy seems to be that neither Tammy nor those she's training are reaching out to help any of the flabby folks around them begin the journey toward health. I mean, her studies aren't a problem -- she's learning good and helpful stuff. The gym itself isn't a problem -- it helped her to get fit and healthy herself. So one tragedy seems to be that "gym life" doesn't facilitate fit people inviting flabby people to start walking with them.

Was the healthy person who got Tammy started toward health already walking outside and just inviting Tammy to join her? Or did she purposefully step outside of "gym life" with the hopes of meeting and helping flabby folks?

Why don't the fit people at the gym welcome the obese people? Why don't they help them learn the ropes and encourage them, applaud them? Is there something the gym and the fitness trainers (like Tammy) could be doing to cultivate that kind of response in the fit folks?

Maybe another tragedy, then, is that not only does "gym life" not facilitate fit people initiating relationships with flabby people outside the gym, but it also seems to nurture an inhospitable attitude in the gym members that surfaces when flabby people take the difficult step of entering the gym without a friend to help them.

Great parable, David. Really thought provoking...

Jennifer said...

My husband recently lost over 100 pounds and is continuing to lose weight as he watches what he eats, runs and works out Monday-Friday. It has taken consistency and dedication on his partand an approach that is NOT legalistic - he will eat a cookie but not the whole dozen. He made the comment the other day that he didn't realize how out of shape he was a year ago and how overweight others now look to him. As it relates to the parable of the gym, when we make changes in our lives to be more like Christ, it takes a decision on our part to do so. But it also takes a realization from each individual in "training" to bring someone along in the journey. I think it is easy to look at individuals who are outside the "gym membership" of the church and see how far away from Christ they are when in actuality they are just one step away. Christians are all on a journey of being more like Christ and without daily exercise we are collecting flab ourselves but may be able to hide it well. Being a trainer doesn't mean having all the answers, but being willing to share truths we have learned as well as being authentic with personal struggles and short comings. I think that is what the out of shape individuals want to see the most, authenticity and the reality that none of us have "arrived".

Thanks for sharing the struggles!