Feb 282014
 

survival-book-coverIn seeking things Trey and I can watch together in the entertainment wasteland that is television, we found the “survival” shows.

They all have a common theme…one or two people get dropped off in some hostile environment with little or nothing more than the clothes on their backs and they have to “survive” until rescued.

Like most “reality” shows, they are utterly unrealistic.

 

They compress a few days in the wilderness into 40 minutes and make the use of survival skills seem easy.

The truth is, it is anything but easy.

I felt the need to demonstrate this to my boy…he was buying into the lie that we all had the innate skills to make fires from sticks without matches, and we all could build shelters in a matter of minutes, and that food just falls into traps we cleverly devise from boot laces.

Yesterday, I told him he could make a fire from friction using sticks and a knife.

This was like telling him that henceforth he would have a birthday every month complete with party and gifts.

A couple hours later, the pile of broken sticks and a dull knife had him completely frustrated.

He knew he had been lied to…it wasn’t easy and he really wasn’t ready to become a self reliant woodsman.

We didn’t even get to the part where you have to gut something…

I share this little vignette because I think we do the same thing and tell the same sort of lies in the church.

The Bible is full of stories of men encountering God, of miracles of healing and provision, of floating axehead,s and angels helping humans.

The Bible is also spread over thousands of years and if you placed those events on a timeline they would be few and far between each other.

There were 400 years were God was silent.

We still look to those stories as normative and we act as if you master a few spiritual techniques you’ll be self reliant and secure in the wilderness we walk through.

The truth in our real “reality” show is that just like the survivalists on TV, we are really just waiting to be rescued.

We are not self reliant, but reliant on each other and the Holy Spirit to find our way through to home again.

There is no shame in that…the folly is in believing otherwise.

The world is full of dangers, toil, and snares, wild beasts and people who act like one.

You need a “base camp” and people in it who understand where they are and where they’re going, and are willing to share to get everyone home.

“Surviving” the Christian life takes time and practice…it takes a lifetime and practice never makes perfect this side of glory.

Next time, I’ll help Trey build his fire.

Make your own application…

  38 Responses to “TGIF”

  1. No one…NO ONE can build a fire without matches.

    Good post, Michael.

  2. I can… πŸ˜‰
    Thank you, Josh.

  3. Not a chance. I, and every outdoorsman I have ever known, have rubbed sticks til our hands bled without so much as a spark. If God had intended us to make fire that way, he wouldn’t have given us lighters. πŸ™‚

  4. This is such an excellent word.

    There is so much game playing, acting, performing and unrealistic expectations spoken ‘in Jesus’ Name’ that leads to the inevitable disappointments, even abandonment of faith.
    A continual reading through scripture rather than isolated verses helps keep things more balanced, IMO.

  5. Thank you, Paige.
    We need to realize that the Scriptures talk much more about suffering than “victory”.

  6. Josh,

    Come to Oregon and I’ll show you how it’s done. πŸ™‚

  7. My Dad can I bet πŸ˜‰ And my brothers πŸ™‚ But they would much rather use matches.

    Good words, Michael. Some days it is about just survival, and some days it is about just mundane and nothing seemingly “miraculous” happening.

    Praying for ordinary miracles for you today…like jobs and health. Watching some folks in our midst go through some tremendously difficult things, and amazed that they are able to do so with such hope.

  8. Sarah,

    I’ll bet your dad can too… πŸ™‚
    Thank you for praying and being there for us, my friend.

  9. LIKE this post.

    “The truth in our real β€œreality” show is that just like the survivalists on TV, we are really just waiting to be rescued.” – true.

    It also made me think of the movie “Cast Away” with Tom Hanks. He realized that if he didn’t try to get off his little island, chances were slim that he would ever get rescued.

    Not to start a Arminian/Calvinist debate here… πŸ˜‰

  10. Papias,

    Thank you.
    I think todays argument will be around fire and sticks. πŸ™‚
    I prefer magnesium…

  11. “Next time, I’ll help Trey build his fire.”

    You’re a good dad. =)

  12. Sometimes… πŸ™‚

  13. “magnesium”

    aye, what be this wizardry? πŸ˜‰

  14. This is a great article!

    I have started a fire with a magnifying glass but I don’t know how anyone can rub sticks together and get a flame.

  15. And the thing about the magnifying glass…. I didn’t make it. The community of humans I belong to (mankind) made it.

  16. Thank you, Xenia…I need to get back on your good side. πŸ˜‰

  17. I saw a tribesman in the Philippines make a fire in about 30 seconds, just using bamboo.

  18. Oh Michael πŸ™‚

  19. You know, I just remembered something. I used to attend an EO church where a man used to kindle the fire for the Pascha candle by some method that didn’t involve matches or a Bic. Some years he had more trouble than others, I remember.

  20. Hello from a neighbor to the north in Vancouver, Wa. Thanks for this great reminder. “Surviving” is an apt word to describe trying to follow Jesus. It’d be so easy to head back to “Egypt”. Thank Jesus for His Grace in helping us along our journey home.

  21. I’ve been out in the woods with grown men who (literally) could not start a fire with a lighter and dry leaves. It’s amazing how helpless some people are. I was always proud of my ability to get a good roaring blaze going with only a couple of bare essentials.

    One of those essentials does happen to be a match. πŸ™‚

  22. I’ve started fires just by pitching a cigarette into the brush. πŸ˜‰ It’s not that hard.

  23. Michael,

    I think that it might be helpful for you to explain how one would shop on amazon (something we do anyway) and help PP in the process. the comments on the other thread are closed. My understanding is that we can follow a link on your page, then bounce where we want to go to buy a new camera or whatever. I think that only purchases made during that session would help PP. Is that how it works?

  24. My prepper buddies carry lighters.

  25. Jim,

    Thanks for asking.
    If you click on the Amazon ads on the left I get credit for what is bought during that session.
    The more the better… πŸ™‚

  26. Never been able to start a fire with just wood.
    Flint and steel fire starter kits work, but can still take a little while. Put a kit on your key ring.
    If it is sunny, a magnifying glass gets the job done.
    Of course a match or lighter works best of all πŸ˜‰

    Since I quit smoking though, I never have a lighter on me anymore.

    Josh’s #21, I think it is a prerequisite for Mississippi residence to know how to start fires. Everyone around here is burning leaves and fallen brush in their yards in preparation for spring.
    Luckily, this isn’t the part of the country that you have to worry about forest or brush fires in usually. The last time I remember a forest fire around here was during the 1980 heat wave.

  27. Wow, sorry. I meant to add on to that that this was a great article.

  28. Ahh…Lacquer thinner and matches…has worked perfectly for all of us desert rats out in the Mojave desert.

    Although I did see an Indian man light a fire with sticks when I was a young boy in the mountains. So I know that it can be done.

    He had a block of wood with an indentation in it that he put the top end of a stick in. First he had rubbed the stick on his nose to get it oiled. He put the bottom end in another block with a bigger hole with some fine dried plant material.

    He had a small bow with a string that he made a loop in the middle of. The stick was through the loop. With one hand putting pressure on the stick using the top block he pushed and pulled the bow with his other hand which made the stick turn really fast as the string loop spun it.

    Eventually the bottom of the of the stick started to smoke from the friction and he blew lightly on the bottom block until a small flame emerged. He carefully transferred this small flame to the fire ring where it lit the dried material there and ignited the camp fire. The whole process took about five minutes.

    You can tell I was impressed because I never forgot it.

    Never tried it myself since my 4×4 always had thinner in the back from my construction work and we had stick matches with us.

  29. Oh ya…like Derek…I also fully enjoyed your article. I know that there is no such thing as a “reality” show on TV. Every one of them is orchestrated and scripted, the producers do not leave anything to chance.

  30. It only takes a spark … to get a fire going (for you early 70s J freaks)

  31. davidsurfer51,

    #29 is close to what we do…

  32. just came up for air at the Storyline Conference with Donald Miller in San Diego. It has been a very profitable & helpful time so far. I really enjoyed your post, Michael, but confess that most of the fires I’ve started have been sparked by my tongue. πŸ˜‰

  33. What always struck me about these shows is individualism. As it has been pointed out to me in subtle and not so subtle ways you should not cross one line. Needing. You should never, ever ever ever ever ever ever ever ……………^10000000K. Ever need. If I ever got one single truth in the evangelical need you should never need, God, Jesus, people’s help a community and other such nonsense you should not need outside of the apologetic. What do I mean outside of the apologetic, you need Jesus to win converts, you pray, hope and other issues to support arguments on blogs, real life, etc. But in real life where you actually need Jesus to save your soul, basically you dont have a soul and should rot for eternity.

    I get that, it is what a real man would do, he would save himself and if he cant he should burn. I will admit I dont find this very good news, I really dont. I mean we believe God allowed / ( or actively participated) in the death of His son which was equal to Himself, depending on your particular theological bent. I use to believe that Jesus just died for our sins and it was / is a holy event, but I wont go into what a heretic I am. I cant seem to make sense with that, I mean no offense, and am asking an honest question, why did God need that? I always thought God did not need anything. I am a heathen and a deeply flawed person at best and I would not wish harm on anyone to “rectify” any personal injuries I might suffer at the hands of other people. How does God suffer anything, he is immutable and by definition cannot be effected by us.

    I mean you can take the Paul Washer approach and think that some 16 month old babe with the strength of an 18 year old would kill his father and march across his fathers bloody corpse with no remorse. Now I have known many folks that sort of fit this bill and maybe one was violent and even he would not kill anyone he would just strike out because the loud voices in his head would not stop. Medication helped him but in Washer’s twisted vile world view that cant happen. Well it happens all the time. So we can move past such utter nonsense, it is nonsense to think children are potential Hitlers. That is just stupid. Is it just me or do people see how completely stupid these ideas are. I get the apologetic nonsense but reality is, babies dont want to kill their parents for a shiny watch.

  34. Survival is about getting yourself into a healthy environment with protection, shelter, food, water and essentials for life. In the Christian world, the Best thing anyone can do is get yourself out of a cult like controlling idolatrous vision casting toxic environment and be set free to thrive and breath fresh air of truth not built on the empires of man made kingdoms but built on the foundations of the apostles with Jesus Christ as the chief cornerstone. Then you will not only survive but thrive.

  35. There is no survival – we all die – deal with it!

  36. Brian

    I won’t deny you got this idea of never needing from somewhere, but isn’t wasn’t any type of church I know of. Maybe it was from one of those Tony Robbins seminars that originate in SOCAL, I don’t know. Anyway the scriptures I read always say, my help is from The Lord and it seems that help is almost always provided by others.

    Of course Tony Robbins has been called.a preacher more than once and his followers a church.

    And post script, it’s important that Jesus died but it’s more important He rose into life and is alive today. Without the resurrection he’s just another messiah figure who showed up in Jerusalem so many years ago.

  37. Andrew I tried that but got kicked out so to speak, I could not even do that right. I tend to think MLD is right we are all going to die, and that is the good news. I never got that but it is true.

 Leave a Reply

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>

(required)

(required)

%d bloggers like this: