Sunday, March 16, 2014

Play Day

Leonard Sweet's latest book, The Well-Played Life, is a marvel and a delight.  As the title would suggest, Sweet's principal theme here is that we have forgotten about the role of Sabbath re-creation, about child-like wonder and evocative play, in the walk of faith.  As Sweet so eloquently relates in this book about life-stages (and faith-stages), we all need to do a better job of recreating if we want to be re-created.

He's right, of course . . . on many levels.

Most of faith today--at least the variety lived and expressed by the bulk of Americans--is shot through with a hardened work ethic and a hardened heart.  Faith in America is now more argumentative and crass than it is joyous and playful.  Faith is now an in-your-face, blunt-force trauma . . . and the idea of entering the kingdom as a child (playful and filled with wonder) is a far cry from where most experience the shock and awe of a faith that kills the spirit rather than enlivens it.

What Sweet invites us to do is get out of our business suits and stuffy churches and take to the playground.  He invites us to experience the wonder of faith expressed in playdough and journaling, in hiking and exploration, in skydiving and bunji-jumping.

Personally, I'm too old for some of these forms of play . . . but I understand Sweet's point.  If we really want to understand the divine heart, we have to be willing to play, and play-well together.  Anything else just lands us in the principal's office.  We need a lot more of others and a lot less of ourselves.  Too much work makes Jack a dull boy.

Maybe it's time to read those nursery rhymes again!

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