Historian John Logan Allen says of Meriwether Lewis’s experience at Lemhi Pass, “the ‘geography of hope’ gave way to the ‘geography of reality.’” Lewis expected to crest the mountains near the headwaters of the Missouri River and see the watershed of the Columbia River. Instead, he saw the line-after-line of peaks in the snow-capped Rocky Mountains. Everything that everyone believed about the westward passage was wrong.
Bolsinger inserts this *Reorientation* comment in Canoeing the Mountains at this point in the story. “When our old maps fail us, something within us dies.” Suddenly we are faced with the reality that what we thought was correct, isn’t. Our plans and ideas for moving forward die and, if we are not careful, so do our dreams. Or, we adapt.
Lewis and Clark sold their canoes and found horses. They shifted their mental models and their actual plans. They adapted and moved forward because what they thought was true, wasn’t. Christians (and churches) are confronted with these moments regularly. We are confronted with a reality that isn’t what we’d anticipated at all. We have the following choices: we can turn around and go back ; we can set up camp and just stay put; or we can adapt and move forward with the mission.
Too many are content to settle in where they are. They adjust to the change in mission, and they begin to maintain their new situation. What they don’t realize is that that’s not the mission. The mission isn’t to make do with what is. The mission is to do what we’re called to do, adapting in any way we need to accomplish our calling.
Joshua could have stayed east of Jordan. Jesus could have stayed in the upper room. Paul could have stayed in Damascus. Abraham could have stayed in Haran. Ruth could have stayed in Moab. Peter could have kept fishing. Madison Park could have stayed on High Street. And in every case, the Kingdom would have been shortchanged, reduced, or even stopped. That’s never an option.