Mountain Biking and Discipleship

Yep.  You ride it correctly.  I’m a mountain biking bishop and love to hit the trails any time I can free up my schedule.  Favorite trails include the 401 at Crested Butte, Colorado, the Womble in Arkansas, and Turkey Mountain in Tulsa.  Now that I’m in the Pacific Northwest, I’ve been exploring the foothills of the Cascades.  Maye we’ll run into each other on some single-track (figuratively, not literally).  Click here for photos of some of my favorite rides if you’re looking for good places to ride.

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Mountain biking is awesome! I’ve been hitting the trails for 25 years and still love it. Great exercise, good friends, lots of fresh air and definite challenges. Also, it’s great for your prayer life, especially on technical sections. A few years ago I met a group of great mountain bikers and they taught me some great lessons on the trail. Each of those lessons is also an applicable insight into Christian discipleship. So here’s a list of “Ten Commandments of Mountain Biking and Discipleship” so you can benefit from those lessons as well — without having to endure the cuts, bruises and trips to the emergency room!

Ten Commandments of Mountain Biking and Discipleship

  1. Look only where you want to go and don’t look where you don’t want to go … or you will go there. Keep your eyes fixed on Jesus … especially in moments of temptation.
  2. Sometimes the only way to get around an obstacle is to tackle it head on. Stop overlooking sinful situations in your life.
  3. Watch the experts — they can show you what’s possible and how to do it. Know the saints! Model your life on their heroic virtue.
  4. Never go it alone! Riding with others both encourages and challenges. It’s about the journey and not just the destination. Include Jesus, Mary and holy friendships in your day every day.
  5. Get back on your bike when you fall off! Don’t stay down. Go to confession and start again. Sin never has the last word in your life unless you want it to.
  6. Protect your brain! Always wear a helmet. Know your faith! Always be prepared to give the reason for the hope that is within you.
  7. Don’t carry extra baggage — it slows you down. Get rid of false, self-defeating and self-imprisoning lies.
  8. Be prepared — always bring a tool kit. “It” happens a lot on the trail. You need spiritual resources. Build your toolkit now!
  9. Fuel up and stay hydrated! Your body needs food and water to perform and face challenges. The Eucharist is your food for the Christian journey and the Holy Spirit is the wellspring of God’s life within us.
  10. Make time to introduce others to the trails. Share the adventure you love. Invite a friend to join in your discipleship and grow in faith.

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