I took my daughter to the park across the street from our house yesterday to play. She’s been cooped up to machines all week long (emergency rooms, doctors, treatments), so she needed to run wild and spin around on what one good friend called The Vomiting Machine (T)*.
And while she was running and sharing spins and slides and climbs with new friends, I was busy thinking about how church is performed and why and how cold and callous and sterile it can be. And then I tweeted this:
Church needs to be more like a playground/park, and less like a lecture hall.
Churches tend to be places where we come and sit down and listen. Where knowledge is imbued upon us. Where we study textual revealed knowledge with our ears and eyes. And being a life-long lover of all things scholarly, this is something that I actually kind of enjoy. But it may not be the best.
What if, though, church were more like parks? What if church were more like a place:
to play, to discover, to run
to meet new friends and introduce new friends to old friends and be introduced to new-old friends
to wonder and breathe in nature
to hear children laugh and scream and know that life is happening
to be filled with awe
to scratch from the mosquitoes and pests
where all the goodies of experience are accessible to all
to sit and reflect
to lean against and climb trees
to try to figure out how sharing works
to learn, as my daughter did, to walk
to get sprayed, doused, soaked, fish in, be refreshed, swim in the water
to count the bugs and fauna
to breathe deep
to hug and kiss like lovers and brothers and sisters do
to scrape, bruise, bleed
to jog and chat
to find God among terrible, wonderful, wonderous creation like children do
In what ways can your church be like a park?
*The Facebook status that introduced that term must have gotten some mileage. As we went to the carnival with a group of friends and they were all asking which of the rides is The Puking One. Alas, it is not a roller coaster, but a simple stand-up merry-go-round for one or two (but sometimes four) kids (sometimes teens or adventurous parents feeling adventurous).