Thursday, July 9, 2009

Sailing on a Raft for Jesus

Newsweek's Lisa Miller reports of two 50-something brothers, Bob and Ralph Brown, planning to cross the Atlantic on a 21-foot motorized flat boat.  It's being billed as a Christian mission--the trip is being sponsored by I Am Second, a Christian non-profit firm, but I'm failing to see the Christian angle.  The brothers have indicated their trip is to memorialize three Marines who perished in 1980 during Operation Eagle Claw, the failed rescue attempt of American hostages in Iran.

Miller tries to associate this trip with tales of other faithful voluntarily going through heroic feats of deprivation, such as St. Anthony, a third-century Egyptian who lived in a cave for 20 years with no human contact, or the fourth-century hermit Simeon Stylites who sat on a pillar for 36 years. 

While I can't fault the brothers efforts for raising awareness of fallen military members, how is this a Christian act?  The brothers say they are Bible-believing Christians, yet they will have no Bible on board for their estimated 48-day trip.  They already hold the world record for flat-boat ocean voyages, and this trip will beat that by a fair margin, if they survive.  Is this trip truly fueled by faith and charity?  If so, this sort of stunt--an "I dare you, God, to not keep me safe" type of divine test--is baffling at best, and embarrassing at worst.  Or is it just a publicity stunt driven by adrenaline and youthful zeal for adventure?

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