tapestry seems to be a church of runners. we have a lot of threads who are passionate runners. several of our college students are members of the uwsp cross country and track teams. when i ran the oshkosh half marathon last sunday i ran into three threads who were also running the race. we have several within our small group who have run marathons and one of our number has even run the boston marathon (a feat that i will never be able to copy). so it was no surprise a few weeks ago when one of those involved within tapestry suggested we start a running group. i thought it was a great idea but then remembered that there is a group that meets at the uwsp outdoor track on wednesday afternoons. one of the things we feel at tapestry is that if you like something it is best to join a group that is already doing it outside the church community rather than starting a “CHRISTian” group for the same purpose.
i’m sure you know this but just in case you don’t i’ll tell you that there is a “CHRISTian” cultural ghetto that tries to get believers in JESUS CHRIST to stay within it. you want to watch movies? well the “CHRISTian” cultural bubble will create a “CHRISTian” movie group that you can watch those movies with. you want to read books with people and discuss the books you’ve read? the ghetto will develop a “CHRISTian” book club for you and others to read "CHRISTian” literature and discuss them. you want to exercise? well the bubble will create a “CHRISTian” exercise group for you and you can listen to “CHRISTian” music while you sweat with others just like you. the ghetto makes it where you never have to be around people who aren’t like you. it makes things safe and warm and it sets up a place for you to bring your friends to. this is key – the ghetto tries to get people to come to it rather than encouraging believers to go out into the world.
those involved in tapestry typically try to stay as far as possible from the “CHRISTian” cultural ghetto. our goal is to constantly “go out” rather than asking people to come to us. so when someone has an idea for the group to be involved in something new the first question typically is “what groups are there already in our community doing this that we can join?” that’s what the running group conversation turned to. there is already a group doing what we would like to do so why not just join it instead of creating a “CHRISTian” one? therefore i decided i would go run with this group this past wednesday night.
now i know and accept that i am not a fast runner. all the same i still usually finish firmly in the middle of the races i am involved in. typically about 49% of the people involved in the race are faster than me and 49% are slower. i’ve grown used to this. so when i went to the running group wednesday night and realized that the oldest member of the group was running a pace that was a full minute and a half faster than my best pace i knew i was in trouble. the group was incredibly nice and FAST. i mean really fast. several of the 12-15 people there had run ncaa division-i cross country when they were in school. three of the guys there had just finished the boston marathon on monday and all had finished in under 3 hours. heck one of the guys had finished the boston in 2:35 – THAT’S FAST.
they were too fast for me. i hung with them for 2 miles and then had to give up and run at my own pace before i began violently vomiting. ironically it was great. i figure running a couple of miles with them each wednesday will dramatically help my speed even though it will be killing me. so i will be sticking with them (at least for a couple of miles each week). i won’t be there this week because of the q conference in chicago but i will running with them as often as possible. i hope many other threads will be joining me. don’t worry if you are slow. i’ll be there to make you feel better about yourself 🙂