Friday, January 9, 2009

On map and compass

Finally got out on snowshoes today. I had a call yesterday from a friend I'd not seen in a long time and he came over to go do some shoeing and get a quick lesson in map and compass.
He'd picked up a new GPS based device that worked as an electric compass and a way to always get you home, but he'd never learned how to use the simple compass and map. We spent about an hour or so doing basic skills in the treefarm and then went into the woods and used the compass and map to get us out. Amazing, simple little thing.

After a cup of coffee, and discussions about kids, education, and a host of other things, the discussion turned to religion. He'd left his Roman Catholic faith after returning from serivce in Viet Nam. He felt like it just wasnt' what it had been when he'd left. Though not Catholic, I'm sure he's right. The problem is that in spite of absolute dedication to what he thought he'd been doing all those years of faithfully attending services and practicing his faith, he didn't have a clue what had been said.

From what I've heard of Catholic Mass(es), mostly the Mass of Christian Burial, the plan of salvation is there. It may be hidden by all the smoke and mirrors, but it's there. As a matter of fact, the saddest part of attending a MCB is the thought that the person being buried probably missed the point of the whole thing because of all the ritual surrounding it.

Just as my friend had never learned the simplicity of a map and compass--despite having the compass a long time, but had learned to rely on an electronic gadget, he had never caught the simplicity of the Gospel, but instead had learned to rely on what he thought had been the point.

Someday, the batteries will fail in his gadget, or he'll be in such heavy cover that it will lose its signal. He will at least then be able to find his way back with the simple yet trusty old compass.
Unfortunately, he's not grasped the importance of trusting on the other simple compass: the Gospel of Jesus Christ, the only thing that will get him to his destination.

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