There’s a beautiful public park trail head area in South Carolina that I’ve been taking my family to for the past 4 years. It’s a short easy hike through the hills alongside a mountain stream and dead ends into an incredible waterfall.
We jump and splash in the cold mountain water. We throw rocks and sticks and stuff. We try to catch crawfish and frogs. We climb up small waterfalls. We explore.
My family loves this place.
When you first get out of your car and start down the trail toward the water fall you are “welcomed” by this sign.
In other words …. you can come to the park but don’t try and enjoy it.
The best part of the sign is at the bottom where someone etched into it, what I imagine everyone thinks when they see the sign. NO FUN EVER! (I added the exclamation point)
You half expect them to add no smiling or laughing and no mild enjoyment allowed.
So let me get this straight …. you have this beautiful nature persevere for people to come and experience. For them to get out of their cubicles and go immerse themselves in the beauty of creation. A place to disconnect from all the computers and phones and texts messages and the nonstop distractions of the modern world we live in and then you hyper limit and restrict the various ways that God’s world that he created for humanity to be enjoyed can be enjoyed.
I can’t help but feel there’s something wrong with this. I guess I get it from a legal perspective. Say no to everything so you’re not liable for any injuries.
But doesn’t it seem directly opposed to the whole purpose of seeking an adventure out in the woods?
It’s as if they’ve entirely missed the point.
It’s like they’re saying yes this is a beautiful and incredible place and we want to make sure that you don’t enjoy it to much.
When it comes to understanding things like God and creation and ourselves and our purpose and the bible, this sign is a great representation of how so many Christians understand these things.
Enjoy the Park, Don’t enjoy the park.
This is why so many in the Christian Church has weird ideas and feelings about intimacy and their sexuality.
God made the park, you can take a walk through it, but don’t have to much fun.
This is why so many think God is going to destroy everything in the end.
You’re welcome for the park, where your can experience mild enjoyment, yes it’s nice but don’t get to used to it.
This is why the Christian word love to label things Christian or secular.
This park is provided for you but half of it’s bad so watch out.
The point of the park is to experience.
The point of the park is to connect
The point of the park is to awe.
We’ve missed the point of the Park in Christianity.
Here’s what I mean….
Take a look at 1 Corinthians 3
21 So then, no more boasting about human leaders! All things are yours, 22 whether Paul or Apollos or Cephas or the world or life or death or the present or the future—all are yours, 23 and you are of Christ, and Christ is of God.
This is an incredible writing from Paul and there’s a lot of significant things happening here but what I want you to see is at the second half of verse 21 where he says…..
ALL… THINGS….. ARE…. YOURS!
ALL… THINGS….. ARE…. YOURS!
He’s talking about truth and different teachers and how if there is only one God then there is only one truth no matter where you find it.
Then he makes this incredible jump from the various teachers, Paul, Apollos, or Cephas, to ……. THE WORLD.
The greek word here is cosmos which is bigger than just the earth. It includes like the entirety of the created order and the universe.
Do you see how incredible this is?
This is one giant invitation to explore and discover and wonder and immerse yourself in the beauty and truth that is everywhere.
This is not about cutting yourself off.
This is not about pulling from only one book.
This is not about labeling.
This is not about drawing lines.
This is not about putting signs at trail heads.
This is about stepping into the park and enjoying every single bit of it.
This is about running and jumping and swimming in stream and climbing on the rocks.
This is about drinking in each and every moment that we have this gift of breath and life.
This is about connecting with the divine wherever we may find it.
This is a beautiful thing.
You should really stop not enjoying the park and practice smiling as you participate in awe.
The whole thing was made for and giving to you!
All things are yours!
Imagine if you actually believed this?
Imagine if you actually lived like this?