Friday, 9 September 2016

Playing Nicely

Imagine a couple of young children having fun on a playdate while their parents watch on, sipping their coffee. The children are playing with the new kitchen set one of then recently received as a present. They talk about making a dinner party for their toys and set to with zeal.

Somewhere along the way, they decide that what they actually should be doing is making dinner for their siblings. They agree wholeheartedly on this - it is definitely their responsibility. But soon trouble erupts. It seems that neither can agree on who gets invited to the meal, what food should be served, or even how to set the table.

Now imagine what this looks like to their parents. At first they see their children's idea to cook a meal as cute, even though they know it's not really a task they are capable of, or responsible for. "Look," they say, "the kid's are playing grown-ups! How sweet."

They might smile indulgently and swallow their laughter. After all, we don't want to hurt their feelings.

But then things start to get heated. One child calls the other a rude name, the other responds with a punch to the arm. Soon they're at each other's throats and have to be pulled off each other by the parents.

What a horrible end to such a thoughtful idea. They only wanted to serve their siblings, after all. But, I'm pretty sure no-one in their right mind would see this as a good outcome.

And yet, isn't this a picture of us? We who call ourselves the church?

Do you think that maybe God sometimes feels like those parents. Watching his kids playing at being grown-ups god. We think it's up to us what our siblings believe; which sins are unforgivable; who "gets into heaven".

We take ourselves so seriously, but maybe it's time we realised that we're all just little children playing in God's world. None of us get's to say whose theology is "right" and whose is heretical. None of us has the right to tell others they don't belong to God. None of us are "grown-up" enough for any of that.

So let's "play nice" kids.


  1. There are certain things in our walk that need to be taken seriously, but very few of them ultimately have to do with how we "do church". We should be serious about serving others, standing up for the oppressed, protecting the the vulnerable, but there is a lot of stuff that gets taken deadly seriously that we should be laughing about (if not at).