Fun, Amazing, Etc.

This is the official blog of indie author / adventure writer Andy R. Bunch, author of the fantasy book, "Suffering Rancor." As always, I'll post funny or amazing things I find in my travels or from poking around online. This is a great place to kick back and relax a bit. You may note that I’m not too clean or too dirty. For more information on my book, go to Here are links to first two books and

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Mountain Man

When I was in high school, I sat through a sermon from a pastor on the topic of mountaintop experiences. His point was that it’s easy to believe in God and live out your faith when you are having a mountaintop experience, but it’s in the valley that we struggle. He then proceeded to compare the valley to our everyday life saying that some valleys are lush fields where the crops are planted and the work must be done to fund future adventures to the peaks. I had some heartache with that at the time but I didn’t have the time to analyze what might be behind that. I’ve recently run across the book, “The 4-Hour Work Week,” by Tim Ferriss, in which he suggests that hate is not the opposite of love. He suggests that hate and love are two sides of the same coin and their opposite is actually apathy. I’ve heard this sentiment before and can see the logic in it. Ferriss goes on to say that sadness is not the opposite of happiness. Again they are two sides of the same coin. He suggests that happiness is too vague and when people pursue it they often settle for the least risk or temporary lifestyle gain. The true nemesis of happiness/sadness is boredom. This follows my understanding of depression. I’ve had depression off and on over the years. It’s been described as numbness resulting from repressed rage. That sounds right. When you’re angry about something and you believe that you can’t or shouldn’t do anything about it you have to go numb in order to avoid dealing with it. You either drink, or do something else to raise the level of white noise in your life in order to drown out your issue but it doesn’t go away. At some point, you shut down and go numb. I’m participating in Noble Heart’s calling intensive with Gary Barkalow and his crew. While doing some of the homework for the retreat, I encountered the strange realization that some of the most difficult, painful, risky, exhausting, and even sad moments of my life are the times that I felt most alive. Those times were also filled with moments of triumph, community, adventure, and joy. They were also times I felt closest to God via his provision over my life. So my mind instantly connected the idea Ferriss brought up with spiritual experiences and I realized that Mountaintop experiences and valley experiences are two sides of the same coin. The valley does not represent the average day, but the terrible fall from attempting something great. The opposite of the spiritual Peak/Valley coin is the rut. The rut is that monotonous place we find ourselves when we’ve too often chosen the safe thing instead of the great thing. We let fear of the valley keep us from climbing the mountain. Here’s why God hates the rut as much as we do. If we climb the mountain, we call on God’s grace and we pursue an experience (intimacy) with God. If we fail, we call on God’s mercy and forgiveness and our intimacy with Him also grows. God can use situations when He needs to bail us out. If we spend our time trying not to need God, intimacy is reduced. I began to wonder why the old preacher’s expectation was that we should return home from a mountaintop experience to a rut and then try really hard to avoid sin until the next opportunity came to climb a mountain. Seriously, why shouldn’t our goal be to stay on the mountaintop? My hunch is that his answer would be, the risk. I say, risk of what? The worst that could happen is that you fall into a valley and God grows you. I don’t think coming down to a midpoint, or mediocre altitude is a good compromise in God’s eyes. The biblical support for my theory comes from the verse ?? that says we can abide in Christ. How do we abide in Christ if our concern is to be safe? So here’s what it looks like to stay on the mountain top. Well, like the pastor pointed out, it’s a lot easier to do the right things when you actively pursue Christ. I tried to fast and made it two days. I bet if I were in a situation where there was no food I’d survive much longer. It wouldn’t be fun, but it might make me a better man. Either way, living life in a way that I never miss a meal has made me fat. I detest exercise for the sake of exercise. I love to walk, but not on a treadmill or even in a circle track. There has to be a reason I’m going from point A to point B. If these two physical things could benefit my health and would be much easier if I were in a situation that forced my hand, then basically a contributing factor to my fatness is a lack of hardship. I’ve dieted, joined a gym, none of it engages my heart. I’m just not built to deprive myself of things. Now I acknowledge that self-control is a fruit of the Spirit. God provides us restraint. What I’m saying is, I’ve lived a lifestyle of avoiding discomfort and not risking to achieve greatness and I need to start living a lifestyle of pursuing God at all costs. I suck at mediocre. I can’t compete on the middle ground. I’m designed for something more.

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