14) The Last Bit: Help me Understand the Running of the Bulls thing

Please. Someone. Help me understand this deal in Pamplona. I’m pretty sure there’s something culturally here that I’m just not getting.


We know that there were six injured today in the sixth running. Why do grown men willingly DO this:


I have a great friend who participated this week. I’m sooooooo looking forward to getting inside his mind when (if?) he comes back. The great thing is, he’s so given to missions. So maybe it’s an adventure thing. If so, we should have *thousands* of willing workers lining up to do cross-cultural work (because missions is so *HARD*!). If you have a theory about why people take part in the Running of the Bulls… and how we might capture that same sense of adventure in recruiting people for missions, please click comment after the web version of this item. Thanks.

2 Responses to 14) The Last Bit: Help me Understand the Running of the Bulls thing
  1. Rick Babley Reply

    I ran with the bulls in Pamplona when I was in college in the summer of 1964. It was primarily an adventure event for me – I had been traveling around Europe for the entire summer and our visit to Spain was toward the end of the trip. Thus I was more comfortable with taking risks and having new experiences. I really wanted to enter the cultures that I encountered while in Europe. I don’t know if I can generalize this next conclusion, but for me, it is absolutely true. I did not know that I had a desire to engage with other cultures in a missionary style, but much later in life,after I had spent some time in China as a college teacher, sharing my life and the life of Christ with the future leaders of China (college graduates), I realized that I wanted to meet the culture head on, unfiltered and vulnerable to the experiences that I could have. What comes to mind is Jesus saying, “Behold I send you out like sheep among wolves….” Take Jesus to mean that protecting yourself from the culture will not honor his statement: Don’t be foolish (“be wise as serpents”) and don’t gibe offense (“be innocent as doves”), but don’t be afraid to engage with the culture. I hasten to repeat: this is my take on my experience at Pamplona. Yet I see how God used my time in Pamplona to encourage me to not make caution my guide – to seek adventure, to seek engagement.

  2. Hugh Wessel Reply

    I have run with bulls in Pamplona. I did to “prove” to myself my machismo, see below. I discovered two things: the Spanish young men who run are brave, daring, like the challenge and ready to sacrifice to help a fallen runner and, two, that while I survived, I was scared. The Spaniards explained how to survive and make it into the arena. Two people were gored that day. Never again, lol. On the other hand, it showed that I am willing to fac challenges, internal fortitude and tenacity. These have been essential traits as a missionary for almost 40 years. I hope this helps.
    “Spanish macho “male animal,” noun use of adjective meaning “masculine, virile,”
    Manly, manful, mannish mean having the traits or qualities that a culture regards as especially characteristic of or ideally appropriate to adult men.”

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