God Talk at Red River Gorge

By Jesse Kemp, Red River Gorge Chapter Co-Coordinator (jesse.kemp@yahoo.com)

During a recent trip to the Gorge, I was able to talk with my friend about Christ.  We have been roping up together for about seven years now, and this trip to the Gorge was perfect timing as to dust off the winter blues.  Neither of us had gotten to climb all winter and we were both looking forward to three days in the woods, with nothing but climbing and camping to occupy our minds.  As we talked, I found out more about how he saw religion in general.  To him, Jesus was a good man, a prophet perhaps, a teacher more than anything.  He grew up around many 'Christian' people, and to his disdain, their behavior actually forced him away from the ‘church’ crowd in they are some of the rudest bunch he as ever met. This is just re-enforcing his childhood perceptions.

This happens for many people, they see these ‘Christians’ living the same type of lives as they live, battling the same problems they face, and these Christians have the same outlook as they have, worry, gloom and unhappiness.   So why add this ‘God’ element to their lives, that doesn’t seem to make any difference in the so-called ‘Christian’ life.  The outsiders don’t see the fruit from these ‘Christians’ lives.  Thus the outsiders just can’t see the benefit.  

We have been good friends for over ten years.  When we first roped up together, I was difficult to climb with.  I wanted everything to be my way, and often barked orders at those around me.  I was one of those so-called 'Christians' that didn't really live life different.  I simply blended in with the world around me, and you couldn't tell me apart from anyone else.  However, I began to realize what my actions were doing to those around me.  I started to change.  

I say I realized, but it was the Holy Spirit's guidance, (or slap across my face) that started my transformation.  As I started to ask the Holy Spirit to guide my path into the scriptures, I began to realize that my so-called Christian life was only a tag that was on my life.  Christianity wasn't who I was, but who I claimed to be.  Over the last five years my spiritual journey has taken my life in a new direction.  I want my life to mean something to God, not to this worldly life.  I wanted my actions to be like Jesus' actions, he was, after all, my redeemer and friend.  I wanted Jesus to become who I was, not what I simply claimed.  The Holy Spirit is quietly guiding my life down this spiritual path.  Slowly but surely, Jesus' life is starting to make a strong impact on my life.  My friend soon began to take note of my new behavior.
Our first day out was a great day for climbing; we made our way up to Fortress Wall for some Trad climbing.  I've been trying to break out the cams for over a year, and our first time out this year was going to be it.  Our first climb was excellent, Party Time, a two pitch 5.7 that was relaxing and very enjoyable for our first climb of the year.  We managed the rope well considering we have only done a few multi-pitch climbs together over the past couple years.  Once we were on top, another group started up.  I was hoping they wouldn't start until we were on the dirt, but we met them at the first belay.  To make matters worse, when I threw the rope, I got it caught in a tree!  After doing some tree jockeying, we eventually got it down.  Our next climb was this awful right facing dihedral.  I hate right facing dihedrals.  Needless to say our first day out only lent us three climbs.  That night we decided to put the cams away and get more routes in on Saturday and Sunday to make our outing seem a little more productive.  

In the evening, I was able to discuss a little more of what Jesus means to me.  I told him that Jesus wasn’t something we simply add to our lives, like a hobby or a job, but a Savior.  He is the person who brings us back to a relationship with our Creator.  I went on to say that Jesus paid for my sins and that thru this act I’m forgiven in God’s sight - I'm made right before God!  This understanding, this belief, is changing my whole life, my perspective, my attitude and my behavior.  I no longer want to be controlled by this world, but transformed into the person God has created me to be.  I didn’t expect him to ask how to be saved or find God that night.  

It rained for the next two days...so much for climbing productivity.  But before we parted ways, I gave him some literature to read over.  Please join me in praying that the Spirit will soften his heart and he will concede to the Truth.  All I can do is to continue to love him as Jesus loved, and pray that others will also water the seeds that have been sown.  Then, perhaps the next time we climb…

Date Posted - 06.29.12

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