Recently, Bay showed me an image of an old playground similar to the ones above...
That students survived these monstrosities is, well, miraculous, at best, and, amazing, at least.
I went digging into the archives for pics of playgrounds of the 1960's, during my very, very early school years.
Can't say they improved much!
However, here I sit, alive and, none too scarred to boast of (OK, maybe one big scar on my shin and a bum ankle that causes me fits from time to time)...
These photos aren't from my elementary school playground, but they could have been:
(Monkey bars, slides, swings, jungle gyms, and miniature "merry go rounds"...add in, jump ropes, softball, tether ball, dodge ball...and we looked forward to every recess with great glee...)
The playground equipment of my era may not fit the child-friendly-safe requirements of the 2020's, but, at some point between 3rd and 6th grade the powers-that-be surrounded our play-yard with a chain link fence.
No one argued the fence.
I don't remember anyone complaining that it hindered our fun.
Without saying, we all knew why the fence was there:
> It kept us from running out in the streets if a ball happened to get away from us, which happened often, and A LOT (especially when non-athletes, uh-hem, me, threw them). We knew the fence protected us from the cars that zipped along the street beside the school.
> It kept stranger-danger out.
> It showed us our designated play space, and we utilized every square inch of it.
> It helped our guardian-playground-supervisors with a more defined space for corralling us all and keeping an ever-eagle-eye-on-us...
There was NEVER whining from us when the fence went up.
As I look back, it seemed we accepted it as a protective measure, shrugged our shoulders, and declared ourselves SAFE.
Truth is the fence around the playground of our lives.
Daily, I sense more of an urgency to become more knowledgeable in Truth.
Not perceived truth.
Not truth as I see it.
But TRUTH as in Scripturally based teachings, principles, words of guidance.
Within the pages of the written Words of our Lord is the boundary of God's will.
Outside of that boundary, things get sketchy....and, frankly, frightening...for we set ourselves up for all manners of trouble, not to mention personal failure.
Outside of the boundary of God's will there is no protection.
Outside the boundary of God's will, we experience sin with all its consequences.
Outside the boundary of God's will is what happened to Ravi Zacharias (see last week's blog), and Carl Lentz (Hillsong), and a host of others.
It begins as a slow fade.
One disobedient step outside the fence at a time...
Then, before we know it, we are AFAR OFF.
AFAR OFF is a terrible place to be!
AFAR OFF doesn't just hurt me, it hurts others.
Many, many others.
It not just devastates, it decimates victims caught in sin's wake!
And more...it maligns the name of Jesus; it nullifies His death as we so easily dismiss what He has done for us. Sadly, it even vilifies Jesus...
AFAR OFF keeps me from living in the shadow of the cross....and a daily reminder of all Jesus did, not just to give me eternity, but to give me victorious LIFE in the now!
Last of all, AFAR OFF normalizes my SIN and HARDENS MY HEART, and soon, I no longer feel the shame and remorse and the struggle of the sinful nature.
Leaving the Truth of the inerrant, infallible Word of God begins the slow fade...first into error, then into sin, and from there, the unthinkable results in a total unrepentant spirit and hard-heartedness.
That's why the Truth, as my personal mirror, is crucial...
Its conviction nips sin early, and sends me rushing back inside the protective fence.
This is why comments, like the following, make me extremely nervous, as they should you:
Here's an actual quote from the article: "The church will continue to be even more irrelevant when it quotes letters from 2000 years ago as their best defense (Rob Bell)."
-Richard Rohr, author, Falling Upward, p. 62-63-
What are our next steps, Jesus-Followers? We need to:
1) BE AWARE of what's floating around the internet world, as well as, the educational world from which our students are gleaning, and, having been misled, naming as "truth."
2) KNOW TRUTH: how to study, how to apply, how to dig, find answers & respond KINDLY with WISDOM. There's a knack to learning how to discern and look for error...and, this principle needs taught to the next gen. I am sadly lacking in discernment, and on a mission to grow in it.
3) EXAMINE our heart in light of TRUTH, listen to the convicting, warning voice of the Sweet Spirit of God, and get back inside the playground fence, AS QUICKLY AS POSSIBLE!
Only the GENUINE WORD Transforms and Conforms us to the image of our Lord, and protects us from the prison of sin!