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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