February 25, 2008
A Donkey and a Dream--Or Something Like That
My friend and colleague Jeff Crosby reads the New York Times. I do not. Jeff, therefore, is more hip than I am to all the news that's fit to print, including a recent article about a guy traveling from Portland, Oregon, to Patagonia, South America, with a donkey in tow.
Jonathan Dunham is, apparently, an unassuming guy with virtually no attachments, save the donkey given to him by Mexican farmers. The donkey goes by the name Whothey, which is pronounced "Judas," which sets the mind a-wondering.
People, especially reporters, are among those awondering and have been assigning various motivations to Jonathan--from world peace to a world record and even world evangelization. But what will ultimately be a four-year journey for Jonathan probably most closely resembles the ancient practice of pilgrimage. He has a destination in mind, and he's living simply and quirkily along the way. And while one can only guess at why he's doing what he's doing, he seems to be a likeable guy and has in fact done a little bit for world peace and perhaps even world evangelization along the way. The jury's still out about the world record.
This story appeals to us at Likewise Books for obvious reasons, the most obvious of which is that it features a guy and a donkey, which--if you haven't noticed--is our logo. The lifestyle Jonathan has embraced for himself appeals to us as well, albeit in a more mystical, enigmatic sense: he's living what some of our authors have lived and profiled along the way, from the discipline of pilgrimage practiced by Christian George to the simple and just living articulated by Scott Bessenecker and Kevin Blue, to the embodied spirituality championed by Chris Heuertz, Shane Claiborne and Jonathan Wilson-Hartgrove (two books in our very near future; keep your eyes out for them), and even the evocative imagery employed in books by Don Everts and Rick Richardson. Jonathan is going and doing, and we here at Likewise can get behind that.
If you think of it, pray for Jonathan and Judas--for safe travels, for warm receptions, for occasional epiphanies. Pray for us if you think of it as well--that we'd publish what needs publishing and that our authors would grow through the experience of helping others grow. And then, if you think of it, pray for yourself--that you'd know when it's time, as Jesus suggests, for you to go and do likewise, and that you'd have the sheer moxie to do it.