Mushrooms, anyone?

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I live a very comfortable life. Truth be told, many people live in want of things that I take for granted. I think most of us take things for granted until we lose them or there is a threat of losing them. I don’t pretend to understand why I have so much when others have so little. But the verse “From everyone who has been given much, much will be demanded; and from the one who has been entrusted with much, much more will be asked.” (Luke 12:48b) doesn’t escape my attention, either. I know I have a responsibility to help others.

I suppose I should be content to live a life many people would envy, and for the most part, I am content. But there a certain restlessness in me that has always been there. Probably always will. I think a big part of this restlessness is an adventurous spirit. No, I don’t want to jump out of a perfectly good airplane or bungie jump off the side of a bridge. I’m not that kind of adventurer. What I desire is to do something in a way not done before. Whether that be writing, or painting or heeding God’s call. I want to be different. I want to ask Why not? where others ask Why? Even if it is from the confines of suburbia. Erwin McManus summed up this desire in the following passage:

For years, I have made it my mission to destroy the influence of the Christian cliche “The safest place to be is in the center of the will of God,” but just this week my wife Kim introduced me to one of the earlier uses of this adage. It’s found in the diary of Corrie tn Boom (concentration camp prisoner)…And although Corrie lived to tell the story, (her sister, who quoted the adage) Betsy died in the midst of it…Actually, God’s will for us is less about our comfort than it is our contribution. God would never choose for us safety at the cost of significance. God created you so your life would count, not so that you could count the days of your life..

The Church Communication Network sent me an invitation to do a session on leadership at one of their national conferences..I would follow one of the most credible experts…I was honored..both excited and nervous as I prepared to follow the main speaker . Somewhere in his lecture he started to say something that totally threw me.. Point blank, he instructed, “Don’t be an innovator, be an early adopter.”

Hearing that created a crisis for me since I place an extremely high value on innovation. At Mosaic, the community where I serve as lead pastor in Los Angeles, we don’t describe ourselves as a modern church or postmodern church, a contemporary church or emerging church. The only description I use is that we are an experimental church. We volunteered to be God’s R&D Department. Anything He wants us to do that other churches do not want to do or are unwilling to do, we’d like to take on…

The speaker went on to explain that the innovator is the guy who eats the poisonous mushroom and dies. The early adopter is the guy right next to him, who doesn’t have to eat it. He can learn from the innovator’s misfortune. Made perfect sense to me. That’s why he’s the man. Curious to me was my perception that he had pretty much been an innovator, the kind of guy who had eaten some pretty bad mushrooms and just happend to live to tell about it.

Before I knew it, it was my turn. Whatever I had planned to talk about was irrelevant to what was banging around in my head: Should I stop being an innovator?….But my mind wouldn’t stop there: What happened if everyone became an early adopter…Without innovators, who could we depend on to die?

With all this running through my brain, I let my talk go where the lecture and perhaps God’s Spirit guided me. After thanking him for his amazing contribution to the Body of Christ and for mentoring me through his books and ministry, I went on to thank him for a new metaphor for my life.

I am a mushroom eater.

Erwin McManus, The Barbarian Way

I don’t think there’s anything wrong with being an early adopter, but as McManus says, without innovators there would be no early adopters.

Someone has to be willing to die.

So, what about you? Are you a fan of mushrooms?

This post is part of the One Word at a Time Blog Carnival: Adventure, hosted by the lovely and talented Peter Pollock. For more posts about adventure, please visit him at

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24 Responses to “Mushrooms, anyone?”

  1. connie nylund April 18, 2011 at 7:26 pm #

    Eating mushrooms without knowing if they are poisonous or not is like playing Russian roulette. I’m not a gambler willing to risk the ultimate payment to satisfy my desire to leave a memorable impression. Eating mushrooms I KNOW are poisonous would be insanity. God asks sacrifice, but He doesn’t ask us to ignore our brains and common sense about actions that we know would lead to certain death. Going ahead with brainless decisions is tempting God. By that, I mean it is saying, I am God, the Master of my fate, the captain of my soul, I know more than God knows. Too many times people decide what they want, they make their plans, THEN they ask God to bless their project. This is the wrong order. FIRST lets ask God what His will is, THEN lets make our plans to carry out God’s will. He has GREAT plans for us!!

  2. Jeanne Damoff April 18, 2011 at 7:34 pm #

    Can I be the one who laughs at you when you eat the mushrooms and embark on a hallucinogenic cruise? 🙂

    This is a great post, Katdish. I completely agree with the idea that the safest place to be is in the center of God’s will — not because you won’t suffer or be shipwrecked or persecuted or even die, but because you will accomplish His plan for your life and receive the “well done.” What could be “safer” and more adventuresome than that?

    So, to answer your question, I’m a fan of obedience no matter what. If that involves mushrooms, I say let’s cruise.

  3. Jason April 18, 2011 at 9:04 pm #

    “God created you so your life would count, not so that you could count the days of your life..”

    Well, Kat, thanks for confirming to me that I’m depressed right now. I read that and my first reaction was “that’s complete bulls*** because my life doesn’t count for **** right now.”

    This is a great post, Kat. Thanks for sharing.

  4. Louise April 18, 2011 at 10:13 pm #

    having once eaten mushrooms I should not have eaten — and no, they were not hallucogenic — they just made me really really sick… I can honestly say, I am a fan of cultivated mushrooms… and morels too!

  5. Glynn April 18, 2011 at 10:52 pm #

    I’m the early adapter type — I don’t have to eat the mushrooms. But sometimes, when it looks so obvious, I’ll say what the heck and just eat the mushroom.

    Good post, Kathy.

  6. Simply Darlene April 18, 2011 at 10:55 pm #

    Back in Oregon we had a large crop of some funky mushrooms in part of our pasture-turned-garden. I called my neighbors and they came a running, literally, knives in-hand. I let them take all they wanted and I even let them cut a few for me. Of course I called them several times over the next couple of days to check their level of consciousness and to see if they had been sitting on the pot for lengthy chunks of time… then and only then did I fry some up. Gave ’em to the kid first and when he didn’t drop over into his plate, I ate some. Frankly I try to stay away from things that thrive and grow on manure.

    In all seriousness though, I reckon that quote bit about it being less about our comfort and more about our contribution about sums it up, especially as we look toward this weekend.


  7. Hazel Moon April 19, 2011 at 12:49 am #

    I grabed your thought: “What I desire is to do something in a way not done before. Whether that be writing, or painting or heeding God’s call. I want to be different. I want to ask Why not? where others ask Why?”
    My mother always told me that I was different. I think she meant that we were Christians and not of the Worldly ways. But I like being different.
    However I prefer to leave the daring life risking adventures to others.

  8. Peter P April 19, 2011 at 1:10 am #

    I’m an innovator… but not a very daring one.

    I’d eat the mushroom but then curl up in a ball and die from poison rather than try the plant next to it just to see if it holds an antidote.

  9. Alise April 19, 2011 at 7:14 am #

    Mushrooms are super gross.

    I think I’m a mushroom eater if it’s something that I feel passionately about. There are certainly benefits to being both an innovator and an early adapter. I mostly just want to make sure that in whatever I’m doing, I’m following my own convictions. THAT is the real trick.

  10. Helen April 19, 2011 at 7:25 am #

    “… And these signs will accompany those who believe: In my name they will drive out demons; they will speak in new tongues; 18 they will pick up snakes with their hands; and when they drink deadly poison, it will not hurt them at all; they will place their hands on sick people, and they will get well.” Mark 16:17-18 NIV

    While mushrooms aren’t specifically mentioned, I see them implied. Just as some speak in tongues and some do not, some are called to drink the poison, some are not.
    Am I a mushroom eater? It is not in my nature to take risks. That doesn’t mean I won’t if and when I am called.

  11. Frank April 19, 2011 at 8:05 am #

    I’m with Jeanne. I put “mushroom” and “adventure” together in my head and expected to hear of some funky trip. Oh well.

    I’m the type that asks “why” instead of “why not”. The safest place to be might be the center of God’s will, but I’d like to think it’s the center of my couch. Thankfully my wife is the opposite. She pulls me out of my comfort zone. And she likes mushrooms.

  12. Ed Blonski April 19, 2011 at 8:19 am #

    “Someone has to be willing to die.”

    Jesus did, so we don’t have to.

  13. Cathy April 19, 2011 at 8:35 am #

    Well, it IS a more serious post. And I liked it a lot.

    But in a light-hearted way.

    Shall I throw in an “LOL”?

  14. Kelly Sauer April 19, 2011 at 9:24 am #

    ” God created you so your life would count, not so that you could count the days of your life…”

    I love this. And while I may hate it, I think I’m a mushroom eater too. Beautiful post, Kat. Seriously (for a change).

  15. Lisa notes... April 19, 2011 at 10:15 am #

    I’m not a literal mushroom eater, but I do like to try new things. I love this sentence:

    “God would never choose for us safety at the cost of significance.”

    I wrestle with how much we value safety over all else, when that’s not what Christ called us to be: safe. I’m not a risk-taker by nature, but I’m trying to learn…

    Thanks for sharing!

  16. HisFireFly April 19, 2011 at 12:22 pm #

    This reminds me of a sign in one of the Forest Preserves back home in Illinois:

    How to identify poison mushrooms. Eat them. If you’re still alive 24 hours later they were not poison.

    I’ll eat whatever He tells me to eat…

  17. jasonS April 19, 2011 at 1:34 pm #

    I guess in the view of eternity, the center of God’s will is the safest place to be, but certainly not in this temporal realm. I’m a mushroom eater at the table, and I would like to be one in ministry and leadership as well. I don’t know that I am yet, but I do aspire to it. Thanks Kat.

  18. Ryan Tate April 19, 2011 at 2:58 pm #

    I’m glad that I can be an early adopter to what Jesus, the greatest mushroom eater of all time, did on the cross.

    I’m an early adopter learning to be an innovator when it is needed .

    Great post Kathy.

  19. katdish April 19, 2011 at 3:03 pm #

    I feel like I need to clarify my position. I’m not about taking risks for the sake of taking risks. But there have been many times when I have been told, “No one’s ever done it like that before.”

    If it’s not illegal or immoral, and if I think it’s a good idea, I’m going to go for it. If failure is the worst thing that can happen, I’m okay with that. What I’m not okay with is not doing something just because it hasn’t been done. If someone tells me I can’t do something, they’d better have a pretty good reason why I can’t.

  20. nancy April 19, 2011 at 3:19 pm #

    i am a curious type.
    God has us seeing things right.side.up in an up.side.down world.
    which of course looks crazy to a huge percentage of people.

  21. Ed Blonski April 19, 2011 at 3:58 pm #

    This post is an answer to the problem of the worst thing ever said by a church member, “We’ve never done it that way before!”

    A close second is a church member saying, “We’ve always done it that way!”

  22. seekingpastor April 19, 2011 at 10:56 pm #

    No mushrooms for me–too gross.

    Seriously though, good post–good quote.

  23. Jake April 20, 2011 at 7:06 pm #

    “God would never choose for us safety at the cost of significance”
    Since I’m honest, I’ll admit that I really feel like I’ve “sold” my last two years instead of investing them. I had fun and made some money but the hours I put toward work weren’t fulfilling at all. I went for safety and had little significance and if I stay in this whole vein of honesty, I was a little depressed about it. This whole getting laid off thing is opening doors and making the world look big again with lots of opportunities to do something great with my life. It’s been encouraging (until I look at my bills) so I’ve been praying that God would really open something awesome up for me, so I could feel good about my time, so I could invest into something great and feel like my life has more substance than it has the past two years.

    Erwin McManus is a great writer and his name is Erwin 🙂 Thanks for posting, friend!

  24. floyd April 20, 2011 at 8:41 pm #

    I am a mushroom eater, or at least I have been most of my life. I’m also not proud to admit that I’ve been “a cheater, cheater, pumpkin eater.” I have to admit that most of my life I felt I could do anything I wanted to do. I foolishly tempted fate or God even when I knew Him. I’ve been sewn up, had mesh installed inside me, pieces of bone broken inside me removed, had tendons from dead people replace some of my recklessly snapped ones, had screws installed, bones scraped to name just a few. In the end I still feel the call and power of God in my life. I think God doesn’t call the weak, I think He makes strong people and some He has to break or tame in order to be used for His specific purpose. That’s what I want to do when I grow up. It’s just taken me longer than most….. Great post, really enjoyed it.

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