Thursday, June 2, 2011

A Bike Riding Theology

You know I love guest bloggers! Today, I'm honored to share the writing of one of my ministers and friends, Tom Fodi. When I read this in the church newsletter yesterday, I asked Tom if I could share it with the GG community. He graciously said 'yes.'

Tom is a chaplain with the United States Air Force and will be leaving soon for a 6 month deployment in Iraq. Please join me in prayer for him as he ministers to the brave men and women serving in the military, and for his wife, Erin, while he's away.

Photo by Tom Fodi
Focused on the Point Photography
For both the sake of improving my overall health and because it’s actually quite fun, I’ve taken up cycling as a method for commuting between my home, the church, my favorite coffee shop, and just about any where around town (weather permitting, of course). Other than the occasional close call with drivers who do not understand the concept of traffic flow and sharing the road, I’ve found it quite therapeutic for reasons I never anticipated. It’s a great stress reliever. When the days are trying and life seems overbearing, it’s incredibly helpful to get a bit of exercise before getting home – I think Erin appreciates this side of it more than I do. More unexpectedly, though, has been the way it’s helped me appreciate the world around me. We are a very quick culture. From one side of town to the other we buzz about our day never slowing down to appreciate the beauty of life. The plants, the animals, the architecture, and the people that surround us each and every day can be so easily overlooked, rushed by, but when you’re on a bicycle, you’re almost forced to notice them. This “slowing down” of life cycling around town has lead me to reflect a bit on all the beauty and wonder of our world that we miss each and every day.

We are a culture that lives life in one of two ways – stuck in the past (i.e. “the way things were in the good ‘ol days”) or anxious for the future (i.e. “can’t wait for the work/school day/week to be done…”). Rarely do I hear someone talk about (or write about on facebook) how much they love life for this very moment, for what they have or are experiencing now regardless of the circumstances. There’s always something worth complaining about, always something that’s just “not right.” There are a million things that were better years ago and a billion things we believe will be better in the future. Right now, things just aren’t what they should be, or at least that’s what we tell ourselves and those around us all day long.

I can’t help but wonder if our acceptance of the busy-ness of life, if all the griping about what life ISN’T at the moment, is all part of the larger theological system that has inundated the Christian world teaching us that the world is a screwed up place with nothing good to offer and the primary focus of our faith is to say the right things and do the right things in order to some day be taken out of this screwed up world and granted access into a better place God has in store for us. Yes, to a certain degree, life is about what once was (creation, pre-fall) and what will be (God’s complete restoration of His Creation), but one of the main things Jesus was clear about during his time with us, was that the wonder and beauty of the life to come can be experienced here and now if we’d simply seek His Kingdom before anything else. We so easily forget that life isn’t about getting out of this world and into the next, life is about a relationship with our Creator and with the rest of His creation.

Rob Bell, in his new book, Love Wins, writes, “Life has never been about just ‘getting in.’ It’s about thriving in God’s good world. It’s stillness, peace, and that feeling of your soul being at rest, while at the same time it’s about asking things, learning things, creating things, and sharing it all with others who are finding the same kind of joy in the same good world.

Jesus calls disciples to keep entering into this shared life of peace and joy as it transforms our hearts, until it’s the most natural way to live that we can imagine. Until it’s second nature. Until we naturally embody and practice the kind of attitudes and actions that will go on in the age to come. A discussion about how to ‘get into heaven’ has no place in the life a disciple of Jesus, because it’s missing the point of it all.”

Tim, the worship minister of my church, expressed it so perfectly a few weeks ago during our worship service when he said, “It’s not about when life is going to end, it’s about when life truly begins that matters.”

John states in chapter 10 of his gospel, “Jesus came so that we may have life, and have it to the full.”

Life isn’t about escaping the troubles of this world and desperately awaiting what lies ahead, it’s about living life to the fullest now by participating with God in bringing His Kingdom into the places which you have influence. This summer, slow down a bit, take stock of all that surrounds you. Invest in your relationship with God here and now. Invest in your relationships with the people in your life here and now. Take time to enjoy God’s creation. Appreciate the beautiful things of this world and add to them. Find ways to bring a little more love, optimism, hope, joy, and peace to life. You’ll be amazed how much you’ll start to see the beauty of heaven in places you were sure existed mere steps away from hell.

Tom Fodi, a man attempting to tell a good story with his life, is something different to many different people, but hopefully to all who get to know him, he's known as disciple of Jesus and a servant of the Kingdom of God. To get to know Tom better, check out his writing on his blog his amazing photography on Focused on the Point.


  1. It is an honor to be counted amongst the Green Grandma guest writers. Thank you for the invitation! Thank you for doing all that you do to share and preserve the beauty of the world.

  2. A wonderful reminder. I've always said that I try to enjoy each moment of my kids' upbringing, without longing for the past or hoping for things to come. I try to translate that into my everyday life as well. Good stuff!


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