Posted by: Mark Nielsen | October 4, 2009

Goin’ Wild!

Over on facebook I responded to a challenge by The Nervous Breakdown the other day. TNB is a fun little collective for folks who express themselves well, often hilariously, but have not been published much …yet. The challenge (or was it a poll?) was to describe your life in exactly three words.

Here was mine: “never grew tame”.

Maybe I said it because I’ve been spending a lot of time in the forest preserves lately. Maybe I was just being cute. Maybe I just never grew up, period… but needed to find a way to justify my fringe-y status in the American middle class. Maybe I’m just so pysched about Dave Eggers’ Where the Wild Things Are movie and novel that my heart hurts.

I dunno why I said it, actually. But I’ve always been just a touch wild. Not completely out of control or dangerous. Just one furniture-climbing incident or inappropriate comment away from getting a time-out —  from Mom, my wife, my friends, God. (Going out in a pristine prairie to walk or howl or read is liking jumping on God’s bed.)

Anyway, I’m off in a few minutes to perform with a ragtag group of men today, in a sort of performance art thing we wrote about St. Francis, the male psyche, and nature. It’s part of a conference Richard Rohr is doing in Chicago this weekend as part of his Men As Learners and Elders spiritual growth organization. I’m in the Illinois/Upper Midwest chapter.

The performance piece is a little rough around the edges, as art goes, especially given that we’ll be in front of 200+ guys, and none of us professional actors, and we’ve yet to actually rehearse the thing in a decent way!  We’ll just have to trust God to let it be what it needs to be, for us and the gathered men.

We’ll be in a big tent, though, with prairie and forest just outside on our doorstep –the real deal for later in the day, instead of our cheap imitation. So it doesn’t need to be perfect. As some wise friends have told me recently:

“Better is the enemy of good…”

Hit me back here in the coming week and I’ll likely have some notes and thoughts on the conference, and the outcome of the performance, and whether the other wild men threw fruits and vegetables at us when we acted like Fools For Christ (in other words, like Francis).



  1. I hope the performance goes well.

    “Never grew tame” . . . yes, that fits you.

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