Saturday, July 5, 2008

Slogans for Life Learned at the Water Park

Spent a great day with my daughters today at NRH2O (for you non-Fort Worthers, this is our local water park, sort of a AAA version of Hurricane Harbor). There's a lot to learn on a day like today.

1. "JUST ADD WATER" -- It is amazing how a little water - and a few kids - can make anything fun. Things broke down, it was about 110 degrees, there were skads of people... it did not matter. People had fun, got along, enjoyed themselves. And that includes people of all ages, races, classes, and languages. I recognize that North Richland Hills is not Memphis, Atlanta, Boston, Detroit, or East LA, but I got a glimpse today of the fact that racial disharmony is not inevitable. There were no such dividing lines today among people enjoying the water together.

2. "TATTOOS - NOT JUST FOR SAILORS, BIKERS, AND ANGELINA JOLIE ANYMORE!" -- I saw more body art today than I had on every other day of my life put together. This fad, like the tat itself, is here to stay.

3. "NOT EVERYONE SHOULD WEAR A BIKINI" -- Some slogans need no elaboration.

4. "CHURCH IS LIKE A WAVE POOL" -- I was struck by the lifeguards. I am sure there is a "right" way to do a wave pool. I am sure that the lifeguards have been trained to teach the swimmers exactly where to be, how to use the floats, the best way to catch the waves, and many more things that will never occur to me. But in practice, what the lifeguards do is make sure nobody drowns. Sure, they would love to see perfect swimming and the best possible enjoyment of the wave pool, but after I observed the lifeguards for several hours today, I think they go home and know it is a job well done if they have made sure that everyone has survived and had a reasonably good time. It struck me that the many people in the pool are sort of like my church. My object lesson is that maybe we should not expect our ministers - who admittedly have been educated in theology and trained in all sorts of "proper" and "best" ways to do church - to lead us to perfection in worship, ministry, and interpersonal relationship. They really are focused on making sure that nobody drowns, and if they get through another week without losing anyone, that is a job well done. Anything else is gravy.

Like all parables, this one cannot be stretched too far, or it will fail - of course church is more important than a trip to the wave pool, and of course we are not there just for enjoyment and exercise, and of course we are trying to serve. I am not forgetting any of that, and I am not trying to stretch my illustration to cover that. I am just noting that maybe we are too hard on our leaders sometime, and maybe we don't even conceive of what their primary job is.

5. "SPEND MORE TIME WITH YOUR KIDS" -- Again, no elaboration is needed, but a day with your daughters at the water park is one to remember. I recommend it.

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