“On my way I’m a wanderer, till I find my place, I’m a wanderer.”
It’s funny how a song can get stuck in your head; whether it’s a catchy tune, the singer’s voice or just the lyrics. Sometimes having a song on repeat in your brain can be a good thing, especially if the lyrics are encouraging. The flip side is also true. If the song is annoying….you know when someone starts singing it- then you remember it- and you keep catching yourself hours later still saying that line from the song. Have you been there?
Off and on for months I’ve been singing a line from Colton Dixon’s song, Wanderer– “On my way I’m a wanderer, till I find my place, I’m a wanderer.” The song has a catchy beat, great lyrics and a great singer. One thing that really resonated with me was the idea of being a Wanderer; someone on a journey and never feeling settled. It’s like mixing Aragorn from The Lord of the Rings and Jason Bourne together: a wanderer and someone trying to find his identity.
‘Really? You just compared yourself to the King of Gondor and a master assassin?”
I do have something in common though with those two peeps.
I’ve also felt like a wanderer for years…and maybe you have too.
Here’s to you, my former wandering self.
The Lone Ranger Mentality
Racing alongside the tracks, guns a-blazing, a masked rider chases down a band of bank robbers. How can one man, singlehandedly subdue four outlaws?
*Pow Crack Whizz*
Have no fear! The Lone Ranger can handle those vagabonds! (I think I chose the wrong career, I should’ve been a movie script writer!)
Aside from my aspiring future career desires, I’ve be doing some research on the TV series The Lone Ranger which aired from 1949-1957, staring Clayton Moore as The Lone Ranger (John Hart actually played as the Lone Ranger for 52 episodes as well) and Jay Silverheels (Canadian actor) as Tonto. If you’ve never seen the show, The Long Ranger and Tonto would help defend the weak against bad guys. The show was so popular in the early 1950’s that ABC actually repeated it on Friday nights, for those that missed it on Thursdays! (Source: IMDB)
The show was a smash hit in so many ways. Besides having an extra airing a week because of its popularity, it was also the first Western made specifically for TV. Jay Sliverheels made history as one of the first American Indians to actually be casted in a TV show as a main actor.
I have something to confess….
I’ve never seen the show.
…only the 2013 movie staring Armie Hammer and Johnny Depp.
“Yeeshh Christian! You’ve never seen the show? You wiener.”
There’s just something about that show that has attracted me lately though. Let’s look at the title: The Lone Ranger. What comes to mind?
A person who has chosen a life of solitude?
Or maybe it’s someone whose life circumstances have forced them down that path?
The possibilities are numerous.
I would argue two things: a decent number of people see themselves as Lone Rangers today, roaming from one place to another. Second, there are Lone Rangers in the Church, people who feel like they don’t really belong.
I was one.
What do I mean? Let’s have a look.
Christian’s Church Background Report
I was christened Anglican. I was confirmed Catholic. I went to a non denominational church for four years, went to two different Pentecostal churches for eight years (four each) I went to another non-denominational church for one year, and then never went to church for about two years (maybe two Sundays?) during Covid.
*Takes a breath*
I can see the church membership forms being tucked back in the folder, because nobody wants to bet on this dude for sticking around for life!
Since I’ve be alive I never had a church to call…home. I’ve never stayed in one spot for over four years. My wife on the other hand, she spent most of her life at the same church.
Me: I’m like the Littlest Hobo parachuting to new places.
At some churches I found it hard to participate in activities, functions or “meet and greets”. Sometimes I’d go and right away feel isolated because of “clicks”. You know the groups of people that you stand next to, and they continue talking to their friends but don’t speak to you at all? Have you been there?
It’s sad and it shouldn’t be that way. And being honest, for a while it turned me off. I found myself resenting certain people and not wanting to go to church.
The body of Christ, the Church, is supposed to be a place where you don’t just attend on Sunday, but you stay in fellowship throughout the week. Where people interact with you (regardless of who knows who) and you interact with others.
That how the disciples modelled the early church in the Bible.
That’s how I met my best-friend James.
One day at Victory Christian Centre I was chilling out after the service when my Youth Pastor came up to me and pointed out a new kid standing by himself. PM said to me “Why don’t you go over and say ‘Hi’ to him?”
So I awkwardly walked over (because meeting someone new is usually awkward, even more so if you’re the one initiating the conversation) and introduced myself.
James has been my best friend ever since.
That was 19 years ago. That day I learned the importance of reaching out first.
“You got a friend in me.”
The year was 1995.
Velvet clothes were rocking with lace.
Steve Fossett travelled across the Pacific Ocean in his hot air balloon and landed in Saskatchewan, Canada. He was the first person in history to cross the Pacific in a balloon.
To top off my list of random facts… butchers in Ontario, Canada, set the world record for the worlds longest sausage at 46.3km long! (https://www.historic-newspapers.co.uk/blog/1995-timeline/)
Wow! What a bunch of random stuff, that has nothing to do with my blog!
Back to my story. I remember the day just like it was yesterday. I was sitting in Empire Theatres, St John’s, with my Kids Snack in my lap consisting of super salty buttery popcorn, M&M’s and juice. I was eagerly awaiting a new movie that had just come out.
After the movie was over I came away with two things:
- My toys came alive while I slept.
- The theme song, “You got a friend in me” was officially stuck in my head for life.
For days as I lay in my bed at night, I would glance down over my bedsheets and check the floor to see if my army men/stuffed toys were moving towards me! (Thanks Pixar).
When I first saw the movie it was the child like things that stood out to me; the adventures, action, toys, etc. Now as an adult I see a different side; the special relationship between Andy and his toys, and how throughout the whole Toy Story series, the toys strived for one thing: being together.
They are a family.
In the same way the body of Christ is a family.
So how does a person with a Wanderer or Lone Ranger outlook blend with this kind of environment?
Thus the Wanderer is left with two choices:
- Go to church and eventually find some reason (or excuse) to justify leaving it,
- Stop being a Wanderer.
“Do or do not, there is no try.”
Well, technically it was Frank Oz who said that line but hey, both are the same. Yoda made that comment above to Luke Skywalker, when Luke failed to lift his sunken X-Wing with the Force, because of his own doubt. Yoda then whips out some force mojo and lifts that fighter right out of the swamp, laying it down in front of a bewildered Luke.
Yoda, my little green friend.
“Are you about to compare yourself to Yoda….”
I have to start reeling in my story. When COVID restrictions started to wind down, and churches began opening back up, my mother mentioned to me about a church in Kelligrews, NL called Revive Church.
I was hesitant.
With my track record of being at different churches over the years, past baggage and my long spell of not even being inside of one, I really didn’t feel pumped to go somewhere new.
My wife and I prayed and asked the Lord to guide us, because honestly I was tired of being a flake. We both knew though that we had to go somewhere and it was important for our children to be in church as well.
So one Sunday in May we rounded up the Eason clan (consisting of tracking down each child, dressing, teeth brushing, face washing, etc) and boarded the mini-van. A short five minute drive….
…landed us in the parking lot. We then corralled our children through the church between the rows of chairs. We were met with the usual stares and smiles that we get whenever all six of us go anywhere. As we passed by we heard people say:
“Are they all yours?” and “My goodness, how old are they?”
Followed by statements like “You got your hands full,” and “Nice to see a big family!”
Sometimes I want to be cheeky and respond to the question “Are they all yours?” with “Nope, I swiped the other two.”
But that probably wouldn’t go over very well when meeting new people. So instead I just smile and nod. 😂
Just as we sat down the service got going. With lively modern contemporary Christian music playing it wasn’t hard to join in with the band. It’s refreshing to be in a church that plays similar music you can get on Spotify, iTunes and Amazon Music. After the worship finished, one of the children’s ministry leaders offered to take the Wonder Twins to children’s church with the older ones (The younger kids now have their own little area to play but at this time this wasn’t available) The offer was well received by myself and Melissa and I felt like shouting,
“DOES A ONE LEGGED DUCK SWIM IN A CIRCLE!?”
Thank you Ernest P Worrell.
Then came Pastor Sheldon’s sermon. A great bible teaching mixed with a down to earth message. (Note: It’s been a while since I brought my journal to church, but for the last three Sundays I’ve been writing up pages from the messages.) Once the service was over the Pastor introduced himself to our family and I said the classic “Sometime we should meet up for coffee,” parting comment. (Which we did end up going for coffee!)
Honestly the service was great and as we walked out of the building I felt that there was something different about this place.
But deep down, that Wanderer side of me was nagging.
Am I really going to commit to another church? Is it somewhere that both myself and Melissa will feel at home? (If you and your spouse are not on the same page, then unity is not going to be there.)
All kinds of questions were racing through my mind, and doubt started to work it’s way in. Yet there was still something different this time, working within me.
Something that only God could do.
Change is Here
Let’s bring this all together.
The Lone Ranger was a Texas Ranger, but he wasn’t truly alone. He had a companion and faithful friend.
Through thick and thin they were together.
The TV show writers created an atmosphere that the Lone Ranger flourished in: a Hero who’d never stay in one place but was always doing good for others.
He was never rooted down anywhere.
Woody in Toy Story realized that it was important to be together as a family. That no matter what they faced, as long as they were together, they would get through.
As I got to know Revive Church more, I started to see and feel something I hadn’t experienced in a long time – a family atmosphere. Thankfully my wife and I are on the same page. There is no feeling of obligation to go there. There is no feeling of pressure to go there. The only feeling is that we BOTH want to go there, and be a part of the church, and that in itself is a special thing.
After a few weeks of going to Revive I was driving my car down the highway and Wanderer started to play. I started to sing but instead of the normal line I would sing, these words came out of my mouth instead, “I’m on my way, I’m not a Wanderer. I’ve found my home, I’m not a Wanderer…..”
Let’s be real for a moment.
I know some of you reading this today may have been “burned” by someone in a church. Someone who professed to be a Christian and maybe they mistreated you or harmed you in some way. Or maybe you walked into a church and not a soul spoke to you. Let me tell you: there are other churches out there and people who would not do the same thing. Don’t let an experience at one place stop you from stepping inside another church.
I’ve found where I belong and it took years. But now that I’m here, I’ve said “See ya” to the Lone Ranger and Wandering side of me. I am excited to see what is in store for my family.
After all, God never made us to go this life alone. David had Jonathan. Paul had Timothy. Luke had Yoda. Optimus Prime had Bumblebee.
“Are you done yet, Christian?”
I could go on but you get the point.
We are in this together.
So let’s start inviting people to church. Let’s start talking to people we’ve never met before.
How about we start being the relational lights we were created to be?
Everyone needs somebody.
If you’re in the Conception Bay South – Metro Region, and want to check out a church, click here Revive Church | Conception Bay South, NL (revivechurch-nl.com)