For a time during college I dated a girl who was a Christian but her parents were not. Even then it was clear I was on track to a career in ministry though the path was quite unconventional, meandering through ropes courses, whitewater rapids, and sizable portions of Appalachia. This scenario on one occasion led my own mother to ask, “What do her parents think of what you…do?” Having already pondered this question I replied that while I believed they were by no means opposed to them, her parents definitely regarded my varied exploits with a heightened level of curiosity. “Don’t we all,” said my dear mother, her voice trailing off as she turned to look out the window.
You have a lot of conversations with a variety of people, some whom you question the sanity of and others whom undoubtedly question your sanity. Then you read a few heavy, thought provoking books with intimidating titles and no illustrations. One particular title, To Change the World by J.D. Hunter (he’s a Virginia guy) keeps you awake at night and interferes even with your daydreams, but not in an unpleasant way. You take lots of notes, wear out your highlighter, stand in front of people and tell them your thoughts, and write some blog posts. Then type up your family Christmas card letter. You pray a lot. One night, after you’ve stayed up too late, indulging in the guilty pleasure of watching grown men wrapped in plastic assault one another while chasing an oddly shaped ball across a manicured lawn, you sit in your living room. There, while everyone else is asleep, in the dim glow of the Christmas tree, listening to the dog snore, you think, “What have I done?”
Coming of age in the mid 80's to early 90's Calvin and Hobbes helped me come to grips with many of the realities of suburban life in America. Of course I'm referring neither to the French theologian nor the English political scientist. No, I'm talking about two comic strip characters; a boy and his plush tiger willed to life by the sheer force of a 6 year old's imagination. Arguably the last great comic strip, Calvin and Hobbes came to an apparently premature end when its mildly reclusive creator Bill Watterson became disenchanted with the industry. In a documentary entitled Dear Mr. Watterson former editor Lee Salem explains, "Calvin and Hobbes was going to be huge in licensing...but Bill made it clear he was not going to do it." Watterson felt continually pressured to commercialize his work, as if it were not satisfactory to simply appreciate Calvin and Hobbes as legitimate art.