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I Want to Ride My Bicycle (Not Really)

By August 14, 2015 3 Comments
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Two days ago I bought a bike. Not just any bike… a road bike. I already have a nice tool around town, stuff in a basket, professorish bike. But I have a bad leg, I’m getting older, and I had to move the wrong way with my belt notch. Since I can’t “run” (not that I want to) I’ve decided to give the bike thing a try. A buddy of mine is into biking, and he’s looking for someone to ride with. So, I went to the local bike shop and bought a used road bike. I think it was top of the line twenty years ago but it’s the only one I could afford, especially since I’m not sure I’ll stick with it. Of course I had to get some gear to go with the bike—shorts, helmet, and a tire pump. I guess I’m ready to go. I think about riding bike, about how good it will be for me, and how fit I’ll be in a month or two. Thus far, however, I’m only in the daydreaming stage. I haven’t saddled up yet, and frankly, thinking about actually riding this bike brings dread. I like to read and write so exercise seems like a waste of time. I walk the dog in the morning, but that has an important function to fulfill—my dog needs to poop. Thinking about riding my “new” bike? Seems like a lot of riding around to get nowhere fast. As you can probably tell this is going to go very well.

I teach a class on Spiritual Formation where we discuss things like prayer, scripture reading, and “spiritual” practices. I love to read and teach about these things because I believe they matter. I believe in the power of prayer, in the power of ritual, and I certainly believe it is important to read scripture, not just as an academic exercise, but as an act of love and devotion. But just like getting on my bike I usually have a hard time getting started. I’m guessing spiritual exercise is not that different from physical exercise (I have much more experience with the spiritual exercise—not so much with the physical). Getting started is the hard part, but once you get going you’re glad you did. I tell my students all the time—it’s not about “feeling like it”. Most of the things we do in life are not because we feel like it, but because we know we should. Call it what you want—duty, or “fake it ’till you make it”. I just call it being human. So here’s to taking time to pray and read scripture whether we feel like it or not, and to getting on a bicycle even if it’s to ride it back to the store to try to get your money back.

Jason Lief

Dr. Jason Lief teaches courses in Christian education and youth ministry. A Northwestern College graduate, he served as the chaplain for Pella (Iowa) Christian High School while earning a master’s degree in theology from Wheaton College Graduate School. He also completed a doctorate in practical theology from Luther Seminary. He previously taught theology and youth ministry at Dordt College for 10 years. Dr. Lief is the author of “Poetic Youth Ministry: Loving Young People by Learning to Let Them Go” and "Christianity and Heavy Metal as Impure Sacred Within the Secular West: Transgressing the Sacred.”

3 Comments

  • Lee Collins says:

    Welol said. Thanks for encouraging me to get on track.

  • NOOOOOO! Don’t take it to the store to get your money back. Try it. You’ll like it. So says the woman who didn’t get on her bike all summer. I did garden every day, though. That works too.

  • Merkles Boner says:

    Feels good doesn’t it! The pain, the burn….now you need to watch Breaking Away to get in the biking mood. Are you like Moocher on the bike? Or the Dennis Quaid character….

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