Kick… Push…

So they kick push kick push kick push kick push coast
And away they roll jus’ rebels without a cause with no place to go
So they kick push kick push kick push kick push coast
So come roll with me jus’ a rebel looking for a place to be
– Lupe Fiasco

Perhaps, if I had money, I’d be one of those guys who purchases a fancy sports car to deal with their midlife crisis.
But I lack such funds.

For my midlife crisis, I got myself something far less expensive in comparison: a longboard.
I never rode a skateboard, so why start now at age 40?

Well, I saw a tiktok video. Not that video that involved Ocean Spray and a Stevie Nicks song.
It was a guy who ended up losing 40 lbs skateboarding around in his mid-forties.
Initially, I was like, “Maybe that won’t be that bad of an idea for some exercise” but quickly brushed it off.
Too late, the seed was planted.

After some research, I got myself a at-best-decent longboard, telling myself — if I stick through with this, I’ll invest in a good board.
So I’ve been skating at night to get the hang of things.
It’s a lot harder than I thought it would be. But I’m getting the hang of it… at least the push/kick/coast part.
Shout out to the Catholic Church near by that has the smoothest parking lot!

Learning to skate has help put things in my life in a new perspective.

The first thing is my ego.
Recently, I was talking about fear with my church planting coach.
She asked, “What exactly is it that you are afraid of?”
I couldn’t really put my finger on it during that conversation.
I knew it wasn’t fear of failure that I was talking about. The fear of failure is there — don’t get me wrong. But I’ve been around the game long enough that failure (in one form or another) is inevitable; and that it is through failure we grow and get stronger. So while it might be painful, we welcome it because it’s the gateway to the next level.

It wasn’t until I was skating through the Catholic Church’s parking lot at midnight that the answer struck me.
I’m not afraid of falling off the skateboard. I’ve fallen here and there — I haven’t eaten really bad, yet. *knock on wood*
I wasn’t paying attention and my foot accidentally hit the wheel which launched me forward off the board.
I sat up on the cold ground off the parking lot and you know what the first thought that ran through my mind was?
“Glad no one saw that.”
And there it was; that was the OOOOOH moment.
I’ve been skating at night to avoid cars — yes. There are hardly any cars on the road past 10p in my neighborhood. So that let’s me skate on the road and not the sidewalk.
But that’s the not the real reason why I’m out, sometimes past midnight.
It’s because no one else is out there.
No one else can see me trying to get the hang of things; making amateur mistakes; seeing me look like a beginner — which is stupid because I am a beginner.

What am I really afraid of when it comes Mosaic?
Look. If this ends up being a complete bust and we never get anywhere near what I dreamt of — I really am okay with it.
It’s not the failure of Mosaic that causes me to second guess decisions and what not.

What is at the core of my fear is — I don’t want to look like I don’t know what I’m doing.
I don’t want to come off as foolish. Not in the sense of being a fool for Christ; but in the sense of making foolish and amateurish mistakes.
If we fail, I want people (and myself) to think — they did the best they could but maybe the odds were stacked against them; or their timing wasn’t right or whatever.
I don’t want people to conclude that things didn’t go well because the planter had no idea what he was doing.

It’s so f*cking childish and self-centered.
It’s putting all the onus; the spotlight; attention on me, which is a recipe for disaster when it comes to church in general.

I sat there stunned that that was the fear I couldn’t name in that conversation with my coach.
What a stupid insight to my psyche. But at least I am fully aware of it, now. Hopefully, in the future, I can name it and move beyond the stupidity of this fear.

Here’s the another thing that I was reminded of while skating:
It. Will. Take. Time.
YouTube has been my biggest instructor in skateboarding.
I’ve been watching longboard videos and tutorials.
Then I stumbled upon this Korean longboarder:

That’s when I learned that there exists longboard dancing and the dancer board (and basically just how many layers the longboarding world has… decks; trucks; wheels; bearings; spacers… like… it goes beyond a board and wheels…)

It would be really nice to be that good at something right away.
Like, hook me up to the matrix and let me wake up five minutes from now and say, “Whoa, I know Kung fu.”

I have to tendency to want to rush things.
In the church world — we might rush into things sooner than we need to, ignoring the clear red flags because we have the warm bodies and/or the budget.
But with skating, as much as I want to rush into learning how to do like a pivot (which seems like the easiest of the tricks) I physically can’t. My body doesn’t allow me to do that yet.

So, let’s work balance and not falling first.
Let’s get the hang of stopping so that I don’t die.
Then maybe turning on a sharp turn.
You know, the basics.
Basics first. Get the basics down first.
You do the basics well and everything will be easier to build upon.
But basics aren’t sexy.
And we want to skim over it.

Churches are like that.
Once, we tried to teach ushers and greeters to be more approachable and welcoming.
Like, greet everyone that walks in the door. Help people find a place to sit. Be available to answer questions. Seek out an unfamiliar face. Be f*kcing friendly for Jesus’ sake.

But you know, we’d always get push back. My favorite is, “I’ve been ushering for 40 years, I don’t know why you’re telling us these things.”
Because, Dick which is a ridiculous nickname for Richard, you only greet your friends and totally ignore people that you don’t know.
… I think I’m off topic…

Sometimes we rush into the newest and fanciest things in the church world — but we forget the basics: being invitational; intentional discipleship; being missional to name a few.

(Btw, I do want to do the tiger claw before I die…that is my Mount Everest. I may need a different board that has a semblance of a kicktail).

These past few days, I’ve been passing by houses of friends offering a short prayer on their behalf as I skate on by them.
I’ve been saying little prayers for the churches I skate on (And praying the cops don’t come)… the Catholic Church even has this nice little garden that — well, at midnight, is a bit spooky but I think that says more about me than the space. I’ve been skating to my old church and back, offering a prayer for them as I skate on by, particularly for Reggie because if you know him, you know he needs it ;).

In fact, my prayer life has only benefited from skating. Granted 90% of the prayer is “Oh God, oh God, oh God… don’t let me die Oh God, Oh Lord”

Yea, I may never be able to half the tricks I see people (much younger people) doing on their longboards.
Maybe one day I’ll get there.

But until then, we move forward one push, one kick at a time.

2 thoughts on “Kick… Push…

  1. Love your skate boarding ministry, and no doubt you will tiger claw (which I googled)….and prayers for you as you continue your journey to Father Joseph:)

  2. Joseph, For the last twelve months everything has been new. Here I am, an old lady, just a few years from retirement and I’m learning how to do church in all these new ways. What do we keep (The Lord’s Prayer). What do we toss (the Doxology). Where do I sit to do Facebook live or recording at home and thinking about the background. I have never served a technologically savvy church. I don’t have a “crew”. In the BC (before Covid) I had a retiree who forwarded the slides for a PowerPoint presentation. That was it. Now I can Zoom and Googlemeet. Now I do a service on Facebook live while offering a telephone conference call simultaneously. And in a few weeks when we think about going back to in person worship I will have to figure out how to do all of that while holding a live in person service. And I have never been on a skateboard but I get it. One of the scary things this past year has been not being able to do any of this after midnight when no one can see me. It’s sort of been all right out there in your face. And yes, we have failed, many times. We’ve had glitches and a really steep learning curve, but we keep trying and we keep going and we give and ask for grace as people watch us do a face plant now and then. Thanks for your words. They encourage me. It is nice to know that we are all in the same struggle. God is faithful and for that I am grateful. PB&J (Peace, Blessings, & Joy) Laura King

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