After three serious posts, it’s time for something light. So I’ll tell you something we do for fun at our house. Ken and I watch The Amazing Race.
Do you know what it is? A reality show in which contestants race around the world. Eleven teams begin each race. At the end of each leg they come to a pit stop and the last team is usually eliminated. (Exceptions are more than I want to deal with here.) In each episode, contestants complete two challenges related to the location they’re visiting. Some are funny, some are hair-raising, some are physically demanding. And the transportation from challenge to challenge is exciting, too, because they often have trouble communicating with the nationals—and road conditions are unfamiliar.
We tell detractors of reality shows that The Amazing Race is different than other reality shows—but we can’t say for sure, because we don’t watch the others. In fact, we aren’t big television watchers, but one night several years ago I was restless and did some channel flipping when I noticed two middle-aged women above a huge waterfall. I think they were in South America at the time. They were deciding which one would ride in a boat and do something as part of a race. If I remember correctly, they did well in that challenge but lost the leg of the race. What intrigued me was the comment of the gal who went to the waterfall. After losing, she said the race was worth it just for that experience.
We became avid fans the next time they started a series—when we could watch from the beginning. One night Ken observed, If you were younger and in better shape, you’d like to do that, wouldn’t you? I would.
The irony of this is that he’s become a fan, too. I think the appeal is two-fold. Any race has an element of excitement—and there’s a $1,000,000 prize for the winning team. Then, the challenges of each episode reflects the unique culture of the country they are visiting. Extra hype isn’t necessary. Although competition is intense, contestants seem to maintain a level of civility with each other. After all, they work side-by-side during episode after episode—and they recognize that they’re in a game. Most of the contestants say they entered for the experience, but they also want to win.
Right now, off and on during the week, Ken and I are actually discussing the fine points. When all but three teams are eliminated, those three will run the last leg to complete the race. Well, we’re currently down to four teams and neither of us is willing to predict who will be eliminated. At this point, all four are strong teams with strengths and weaknesses. We can't predict a winner, either.
I suppose I should make a spiritual point so I will mention that when we run the good race of faith, we don’t compete with others. We compete with our human nature. We all have our strengths and weaknesses, but if we walk/run with God, we’re winners! And, if we walk/run with God, when we stop to listen to His voice, we have internal confidence or assurance that we’re winners—even when we’re struggling through a spiritual challenge. Some of those spiritual challenges are funny—even when they’re happening. Some of them are hair-raising. And some are physically demanding—they require endurance. So we don’t need extra hype when living the Christian life, either.
I admit I’m in it for the experience—if you mean the reality of walking/running with God. I intend to stay in until the final leg—and know I will because I’m depending on God’s grace. Furthermore, I predict that I and my many Christian friends will all be winners. That’s the way it works in God’s Kingdom.
Not so with The Amazing Race or any race organized by people. Our human nature wants to beat others. It’s one of our perennial struggles or battles. So, one team will be eliminated this week. One team will win the following week. But who will they be?
8 years ago