WEIRD BUT NOT WASTED
George Mallory was an explorer who took part in the first British expeditions to climb Mount Everest. He was often asked why he felt the need to climb the mountain, and his reply was, “Because it’s there.”
People always ask me why I get caught up doing weird projects. I guess my answer is the opposite of Mallory’s—because they’re not there. Nobody’s ever done this before. I’ve never seen it before. But I’d like to see it. And I like to make things, and make things up.
I’m in the midst of four projects right now: a weird writing project, a weird theology project, a weird game project, and a weird leadership project. The likelihood that any of these projects will bear eternal fruit is pretty slender. So what, then, is the return on my investment?
If I spend hundreds of hours developing five “spiritual” board games, but nobody likes them or uses them, isn’t it a waste of time? If I spend a thousand hours writing a steampunk western novel that nobody reads because it never gets picked up by a publisher, isn’t it a waste of time?
If I make good choices with my diet, even if it doesn’t give me an immediate six-pack, is that a waste? If I do 100 pushups and don’t go on to become a body builder, is that a waste? If I go ice skating with my children each Saturday, even though none of us play in the NHL, is that a waste?
Some things are worth doing. They have an intrinsic quality, but more importantly, they have a developmental quality. What we do now, regardless of the fruit it bears or does not bear, grows us into the sort of people who can do new and different things for the Lord.
I make weird stuff. But I’m convinced that my proclivity for weirdness has enabled me to see things from a slightly different angle. I’ve been able to help people with their problems. I’ve been able to overcome many of my own problems by the grace and the Spirit of God. I’ve been able to find new insights in scripture. And I’ve been able to lead a church of which I am fantastically proud and the best damn staff on planet Earth.