“If it’s worth the going, it’s worth the ride”
It’s a New Year. The fireworks have been spent and Christmas is in the rear. We’re on the train, somewhere between Frankfurt and Basel. The landscape is gradually changing from plains to hilly valleys. A freight-train rushes by in the opposite direction. Ahead of us are 102 days in a small community in the Swiss mountains.
Denmark seems like a month ago, but as I’m writing this, it’s barely been a week. We’ve seen friends and family and had many precious moments. We’re grateful. Distances and timezones make visits few.
Traveling through Europe, you don’t necessarily see Christendom fading (even though there’s writing on the wall along the tracks) but it’s hard not to sense during conversations. The focus is more often (but not always) on Me, than the other. Science, Psychology and Materialism seems to drive the new narratives.
Still, we experience God in people. If we’re in God’s image, we should expect as much. Even the hardest stoic can’t help but be warm and caring at times. Even though we might be misinformed (Christians, Agnostics and Atheists alike), we express something great. There’s something to that.
This is why places like L’Abri are so important. Safe breathing spaces, where thoughts and ideas can flow freely, be expressed, challenged and tested without potential social repercussion.
It’s not only important for seeking agnostics and worn-out (non)believers, but equally important for breathing Christians. To be challenged. To learn what undercurrents are present in culture. And perhaps more importantly: Where Christians fail to acknowledge how we’re more influenced by secular ideas than Biblical, and yet claim to be informed by the latter.
The hungover couple from the compartment next door stands bewildered on the platform. Not moving in either direction, they seem to have slept a couple of stops too far. The young man double checks his bags for something. The train gently rolls down the track, Southbound. As I walk down the corridor I notice something in the overhead rack. They’ve forgotten their suitcase.