Songs of My Life: The Great Adventure

TGAJust married.

Flying across the sea to have our first great adventure together.

Riding in our Buick station wagon across the good ol’ U S of A for six months.

Summer of ’92.

Air conditioner broken.

The radio blared loud to whatever local Christian radio station we could find.

And what did we hear?

Steven. Curtis. Chapman.

All day.

All night.

Preceded by a ‘Prologue’ that sounded much like the soundtrack to the then-currently-running television series The Young Indiana Jones Chronicles with its symphonic action-adventure tones, the acapella first line hit us full on:

Saddle up your horses!

Who wouldn’t want to join in?

Started out this morning in the usual way
Chasing thoughts inside my head
I thought I had to do today
Another time around the circle
Try to make it better than the last
I opened up the Bible
And I read about me
Said I’d been a prisoner
And God’s Grace had set me free
And somewhere between the pages
It hit me like a lightning bolt
I saw a big frontier in front of me
And I heard somebody say let’s go
Saddle up your horses
We’ve got a trail to blaze
Oh oh oh
Through the wild blue yonder of God’s Amazing grace
Let’s follow our leader into the Glorious unknown
This is the life like no other whoa whoa
This is the great adventure

Co-written by Geoff Moore (80’s CCM fans would know him from Geoff Moore and the Distance), The Great Adventure is an inspiring anthem that speaks of all that is good, right and positive about being one of the chosen few. For me, it was a masculine-sounding, heady motivational song that made me think, ‘This is why I’m here.’

We bought the tape at one of the million or so Christian bookstores that dotted the cityscape of America, then proceeded to wear that out so we bought the CD.

So come on, get ready for the ride of your life
Gonna leave long faced religion
In a cloud of dust behind
And discover all the new horizons
Just waiting to be explored
This is what we were created for

It wasn’t until years later I saw the music video. I’m glad. It was really bad. I much preferred the vision I had in my mind of a Young Steven Curtis Chapman riding with his posse through the canyons of the wild west, in a literal cloud of dust.

I wasn’t the only one as it turns out who saw this song as a call to living the grand life of following Jesus. It apparantly was one of Bart Millard’s (MercyMe) formative songs as shown in the movie I Can Only Imagine. No wonder. It was soul-stirring. I can’t say how many times this song picked me up from moments of doubting, times of despair, and sadness and got me back on track. To me, this was the Christian equivalent of Tina Turner’s Simply the Best. Rousing me to action. Made me proud to be a follower of Jesus with a definite–and holy–calling.

It certainly helped shape a part of my life when I was unfocused, immature and definitely scared to death of what married life–in fact, what life generally–had to bring. While it wasn’t until some years later I was finally semi-comfortable with who I was and where I was meant to be, this song helped me navigate the unsettledness and uncertainty of the present moment.

What If?

“For of all sad words of tongue or pen, The saddest are these: “It might have been!”~John Greenleaf Whittier

Have you ever been taken on a guilt trip? Mothers are especially great at this, but other influential people in our lives may also (knowingly or unknowingly) take us on this detour. Many times this is motivated by a desire to see correct behaviour, build character or develop right attitudes. Most often it is used to manipulate someone into doing things the way another person or organisation thinks they ought to be done. Looking at this phenomenon, I came across this post from StuffFundiesLike.com [the term ‘fundamentalist’ is mostly used today as referring to someone who is an adherent or belongs to a strict and conservative religious sect].

“What if?” is a very special kind of … guilt trip because comes from nowhere, contains nothing but imagination, and can be used on anybody about even the most innocent of activities. Consider…

What if instead of buying that candy bar you had instead given the money in the missions offering? What if that very dollar was used to print the tracts that went to deepest darkest Africa and converted the local medicine man to Christianity and caused revival to break out across the entire continent? But alas, you chose the candy. So now we’ll never know.

What if instead of sleeping in on Saturday you had spent an extra hour praying for your lost family member? What if that snooze button was all that was standing between their soul and eternal damnation? A little sleep, a little slumber, and now you’ll always have to wonder if you could have done more. You probably could.

What if you had dug deeper, pushed harder, or fought better? What glorious opportunities may have been had! What souls could have been won and empires built! But alas, poor craven soul that you are, you did not.

Guilt trips on the Subjunctive Highway. They’re a thing of beauty.