Last night was special.
What would cause three grown men
- to spend a year-and-a-half of their lives writing and rewriting books, complete with the deadlines and late nights and early mornings spent glaring at a computer?
- to leave their wives, kids, and friends for a month-and-a-half while traveling to 32 cities crammed in an RV that has a tendency to run out of gas and tear itself apart?
- to grow an obscene amount of facial hair and then shape it into Mutton-Chops?
- to write a, all-be-it catchy, song and then sing it accompanied by a wash board and a trombone played by a non-trombone player?
- to basically make, as Tony put it, arses out of themselves in front of complete strangers?
- to place olive oil in little containers, falsely advertise it as the Balm of Gilead, and sell it for up to $50 (there is a point to it all and you’ll just have to go to find out)?
What would cause them to do such things? One might think, on the surface, to sell books. One would be wrong. After just six shows Mark, Doug and Tony were exhausted. They missed their families. They were thousands of miles from home (except Mark who lives in CA). Those of us who served alongside of them in making the Roadshow happen could see these things, which were clearly evident. But that wasn’t the only thing that was evident. In fact, truth be told, these “things” only made their true motive all the more evident.
See, the Roadshow has the guise of a book tour. But don’t let that fool you. It is only a cover. The true essence of it is three guys who are deeply passionate about Jesus. Who will stop at nothing to proclaim his message of hope and restoration. Who love hanging out with other people who are seeking to follow the person and way of Jesus. Whose hearts beat with an inner God-cadence and have reconciled their fear at the feet of God, saying, “We’ll speak what we hear, regardless.” It was laughter and silence and joy and profoundness and embarrassment and gut-level sharing and music (kinda) and wisdom and friendship all rolled up into two memorable hours.
For me, the whole night (we began at 3:00pm and rolled out at 11:00pm) will be a memory that I’ll recall in my spirit for many years to come. But the things that stand out will be Doug’s recalling of when he first fell in love with Jesus in that theater-turned-church and how it has taken him many years to wind his way through the “tracts” he was given and back to the essence of Jesus, whom he found that night. It will be Tony recalling his journey from systematic theology in seminary to the simplicity of Jesus of Nazareth in the South Dakota Plains with the Lakota tribe. It will be Mark speaking in the raspy voice of the “Emperor” as he recalled moments of love-lived-out in an abandoned bus in the streets of San Francisco, only to be topped by his very passionate monologue about the Kingdom of God is at hand and right here.
In addition to the memories of what took place during the “show”, there are those quieter memories of seeing old friends. Meeting new friends from as far as Tracy. Seeing the joy on people’s faces. Lifting tables and chairs, setting up lights and sound equipment, hanging banners and laying out books, labeling olive oil containers with deceptive spiritual labeling, sharing laughter and a meal with people I love dearly, some of whom I am just beginning to get to know. I am longing for the days that we have ahead of us and am excited—filled with hope—about what Jesus is doing and how he is calling us to participate.
Please hear me. If these guys are coming to a city anywhere near you, GO!! You will be blessed. I promise.
I know what you might be saying, “But it is too far away for me to go.” Ok, listen. They have driven across the entire continental United States in an RV filled with tired, stinky men to come to you, the least you can do is drive to the nearest city to go to them!!
If you can’t make it, I understand. But I am not sure God will and you’ll have to answer to God come judgment day. And without the Balm of Gilead, I’m afraid there will be no hope for your soul (at least that is what they told me in private)…