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Returning home & asking NOW WHAT?

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After flying back from Colorado last night, I hugged my wife and kids and slept in my own bed.  As usual, I woke up with Whimsy having snuggled next to me.  When I woke up, the cats were mewing for attention, and Abby (our ancient, doddering mutt) hobbled up the steps to whine me a gree…
By Seth Barnes
After flying back from Colorado last night, I hugged my wife and kids and slept in my own bed.  As usual, I woke up with Whimsy having snuggled next to me.  When I woke up, the cats were mewing for attention, and Abby (our ancient, doddering mutt) hobbled up the steps to whine me a greeting of her own.  It’s good to be home.
  
Back at the office, I’ve fired myself from most of my jobs at AIM so that I can take trips like this last one. Having started the World Race three years ago, I’m beginning to ask the question of what happens after people finish the race.  So, deep in Colorado’s Black Forest, Gary Black, Andrew Shearman (plus Paschall and Hearn) and I met with a number of  World Race alumni who are asking the question “Now what?”  It’s the same question the disciples asked themselves after Jesus was crucified.  If “Have you met Jesus?”  is the most important question we can ask, then “Now what?” has got to follow hard on its heels.
 
What do you do after you’ve held dying babies and walked through the muddy streets of the poor?  What do you do after your world view has been turned upside down?  What do you do after you’ve been disabused of your narcissism? What do you do after you’ve seen the power of God manifested through your finger tips to bring healing to the nations? Everything is different – now what?
 
These are questions that can incite revolutions and overturn the social order.  If we take the time to allow the implications of our radical commitment to work their way through the corridors of our lives and disturb our sense of normal, we might become the crazy radicals that God always dreamed we would be. You and I need to ask these questions if we are to live lives worthy of our calling.
 
Always there is the issue of family and friends who can’t help but treat us like the same old mousy person we may have been before we left  on our adventures.  In many ways, that is the first and most difficult of the battles we face.  Like Odysseus returning to a home, we may feel heroic, but our antagonists are unseen and we can’t help feeling unprepared for them.  The best thing some of our Racers have done is to apologize to their parents for the person they’ve been in the past and for the pain they’ve caused.  And others have kept their bags packed, recognizing that the comforts of home no longer work for them. Yet, too many of them have slid back under the anesthetic of suburban life. We haven’t figured out how to answer this question.
 
Along with our Racers, I’m still learning, but here’s what I think I’ve discovered about returning home:  First, you need community.  The new ways of thinking and behaving you’ve acquired need time before they become habit.  You need people around you who understand you and know how to encourage you in your new life.  
 
And second, you need further fathering.  You need someone to continue to call you to greatness and to a life of asking “what if?”  Peers are not enough, mothers are not enough.  40% of all birth certificates lack a father’s name.  Until our father wounds and the insecurities that they bring can be addressed, we will still drag our past behind us and will struggle to become the radicals God intended us to be.
 
If Jesus took three years to radicalize his disciples, I think that’s probably the minimum.  In our church youth groups we’re always trying to do it on the cheap, but I really think it takes something like the World Race to wreck us for the ordinary followed by two more years of intensive investment if we are to ever help this next generation get its destiny and begin going out into the nations to unleash the power of God.
 
Here’s a list of resources for World Racers returning home.

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