Thou shalt find adventure

We are a people of the hearth, tied to the safety of home by human nature. But we are also a people with adventure in our veins, explorers who look to horizons and set out to conquer them.


My inclination leans more to hearth. But then I read books like Michael Chabon’s “Gentlemen of the Road: A Tale of Adventure,” which is set in the tenth-century, in a fabled kingdom on the Caspian Sea and tells the story of two confidence men – the gawky German Jew Zelikman and the philosophical Abyssinian Amram.


The pair shares in continuing adventures along the Silk Road as they befriend the displaced heir of the king of the Khazars and attempt to restore him to the throne.

In the afterword, Chabon writes: “Adventures are a logical and reliable result – and have been since at least the time of Odysseus – of the fatal act of leaving one’s home, or trying to return to it again. All adventure happens in that damned and magical space, wherever it may be found or chance upon, which least resembles one’s home.

“As soon as you have crossed your doorstep or the county line, into that place where the structures, laws, and conventions of your upbringing no long apply, where the support and approval (but also the disapproval and repression) of your family and neighbors are not to be had: then you have entered into an adventure, a place of sorrow, marvels and regret.”

For me, such adventures often take on a spiritual overtone. It’s like Chabon says, “the first First Commandment, was when God told Abraham lech lecha: Thou shalt leave home. Thou shalt get lost. … Thou shalt, by definition, find adventure.

This November, Bishop John Schol, of the Baltimore-Washington Conference is offering an opportunity to find adventure.

His journey, an 11-day cruise of Athens, Rome, Napels, Pompeii, Malta, Sicily and Corinth, shadows the historic fourth missionary journey of Paul in the book of Acts.

The cruise, which departs Nov. 12, will include a study of Paul’s life and teachings and starts at $2,298. It’s an opportunity to expand on the Discipleship Adventure, which Bishop Schol brought to United Methodists in the Baltimore-Washington Region and leave the hearth in search of new spiritual horizons.

Chabon’s “Gentlemen of the Road” was originally published in 15 installments in the Sunday New York Times magazine. Each chapter ended with a type of cliffhanger that made reading it a kind of joyride.

I wonder if it’s possible to joyride on an luxury ocean liner. Upon reflection, I’m sure there’s no better place to do so.


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