In case any of you wondered, I call this blog “Jim’s Place” because it sounds like that friendly, neighborhood tavern where everyone gathers and talks and has a good time. Not sure if this blog will fulfill all of those criteria, but one can dream . . .

I recently bought a used sailboat. I didn’t think I would do this until I retired, but this one came available and it wasn’t expensive and life’s short so why not? I am a card-carrying water bum. I love water in all of its forms—rivers, lakes, oceans. Nothing is as soothing to me as being on or near the water. Something life-giving about it.

Here’s the thing about sailing; having owned a couple of motor-cruisers in the past, I don’t think I realized how much work sailing can be. On the motor boats, you just basically turned the key, slip it into gear and steer in the direction you desired. You could go fast or slow with the touch of the hand. And when it was over, you just steered it back into the dock, tied it up, and went home.

There is much more to sailing. There is the rigging of the boat. All the wires and lines and sails have to be attended to in the proper order. And then you are at the mercy of the wind. Good sailors can sail in any conditions. Pitiful sailors like myself need a good 8 to 10 knot steady wind from one direction. We can navigate those conditions. But they rarely exist. The wind shifts all the time on Percy Priest lake. You must learn to watch for those shifts and then adjust quickly when they occur.

I find the church to be similar in ways to sailing. There is “rigging” to be done among us, too. People are the lines and sheets of the church’s vessel. We each have functions that must be done in order for the vessel to move. I also find that having a crew makes sailing much easier and more enjoyable. You can single-hand if you wish, but it’s exhausting and not that much fun. So the more of us willing to act as crew on our ship, the better the voyage will be.

And one more thing—most accomplished sailors prefer to sail into the wind by “tacking” back and forth so the nose of the boat is not directly into the wind but just off at an angle. This requires skill and know-how, but if you don’t learn how to sail into the wind, you will forever be confined to sailing in just one direction—which means you can never really go anywhere.

The church must also learn to sail into headwinds. There are a lot of them out there. You ready to be part of the crew along with me and the rest of the staff? There are some very cool destinations in our future.