I am a skateboarder, although I don’t skate nearly as much as I used to. I suppose I get worried about hurting my hands or wrist, which I rely on a lot for my weekly roles here at church. My brother got into the sport at a young age, and I followed closely behind, even placing in some skate contest at an OKC church in my pre-teens. Skating gave me tons of good friends and exhilarating moments. And though I don’t skate as often as I do, some of it has never left me. Muscle memory and all.
I grew up watching Tony Hawk, Gator, Lance Mountain, Ray Barbee, and Christian Hosoi on old VHS tapes. Those guys were my idols, though some of them disappeared from the limelight, some have gone on to do worldwide fame, and others went down dark paths. Christian Hosoi was one of those, evidently caught up in drugs when skating dropped off the map for a while. Grantland has a great piece about his story and his redemption as an outreach minister:
Like a man floating through space — or, perhaps, on his way to heaven. Of course there were all these holy signifiers around Hosoi, he now explains, just waiting to be accepted — the nickname “Christ,” for example. When Hosoi arrives at his spiritual awakening in Hosoi, it lacks the brain-stretching wonder of a true epiphany. Instead, a book that has been episodic and restrained suddenly snaps into shape. Nabbed by the cops with 1.5 pounds of meth, he finds himself in jail and, at the behest of his girlfriend, decides to read the Bible. He is awakened. He realizes that “Jesus Christ is more than a rad-sounding name.”
A great read to remind us how our life paths go into unpredictable directions… but ultimately hopeful directions.
I also recommend this great interview with Christian at the Indie Spiritualist. Good stuff where he talks more about that moment of return in prison where he realized he could make something out of his life:
Through reading the scriptures I realized there was a purpose for my life, that I was created for a reason, that I was significant, that it was my choices that got me to where I was at and that it would be my choices that would get me to where I wanted to be as well. So from that moment on, all of the weight, the pain, guilt & shame fell off my shoulders and I started to feel whole, like the void was being filled up in my heart and it was the love of God. The Bible says, “For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son that whoever believes in Him will not perish, but have everlasting life.” – John 3:16 and in that moment I realized, “Wow, there’s a love greater than what I know of in this world.”
The coolest thing about this story is that he never had to give up what he loved to do – skating. In fact, his calling just took those gifts and helped him find new ways to use them.