Archive for July, 2012

Carnival Games

Posted: July 3, 2012 in Articles

Hello, July. We are knee deep into the summer…and it’s HOT. Many of us have already enjoyed a family vacation. Others are getting ready and some of us are wishing we had the time or the means. Regardless of the vacation status, we are continuing our summer amusement park series. Last month we talked about roller coasters and carousels. This month, we are staying true to the call and are stepping up to the plate…the counter…the foul line…the stool…the GAME…all with our eyes fixed on the prize…the 5 foot tall stuffed animal.

We have all seen them: skee ball, the bean bag throw, knock down the bottles, water-gun races, free throws, ring toss, and many, many more. They all look so easy. But don’t be fooled. These amusement park folks are smart. They draw us in, like someone else I know, by using the awesome, super cool, oversized, gaudy, obnoxious, and incredibly cheap (in terms of quality) prizes. Amusement parks and carnivals know how competitive we are, especially us guys, and that we, as the hunters, get our thrill from the kill…from meeting the challenge head on…defeating it…and telling that stack of three bottles that despite the fact that they weigh 25 pounds each and we are trying to knock them over with a Nerf ball, “You’re going down!” Nothing is going to stand in the way of bragging rights and us taking home our prize.

These amusement park and carnival games are eerily similar to the lies of Satan. The games seem so easy. “I mean, come on. How hard could it be to toss a hard plastic ring onto a glass bottle neck, anyway? And basketball? You’re kidding. Right? I am the king of the court. I don’t miss. The free throw game is a piece of cake. I’m walking away with hardware.” What we quickly find out is that the games are not so easy. The plastic ring is barely large enough to fit around the bottle and is so hard that all it does is bounce from one bottle to another. And the basketball hoop…well…it is NOT regulation size and I bet that if we did a little measuring, the ball would barely fit through if it would fit through at all. As it is with the evil one, there’s always a catch. He is the ultimate bait and switch artist. But, hey, I don’t want to be a kill joy. Let’s say we, by some crazy act of supernatural chance, actually do get a ring to land on a bottle top or a basketball to squeeze through a hoop and win. Did we really? Win…I mean.

Let me break it down for you. These games aren’t inexpensive to play…nor are the games promoted by Satan and the world. And after a bit of basic math, we realize that we just spent 5 times the amount of money it would’ve cost to buy that 5 foot tall stuffed animal at the local toy store for us to “win” the thing. Which is absolutely bizarre because as guys, we will wear, iron and re-iron a shirt 4 or 5 times because we don’t want to spend the $1.49 it costs to have it dry cleaned but we’ll drop $100 dollars on trying to shoot a basketball into an undersized hoop just to walk away with a $20 stuffed animal. In all seriousness, the games we are enticed by the evil one to play ALWAYS cost us far more than money. Now, back to the stuffed animal. Even if we can somehow justify the ridiculous investment, now we get to carry that awesome, super cool, oversized, gaudy, obnoxious, and incredibly burdensome prize all over the amusement park…on rides…to the bathroom… everywhere. The stuffed animal (aka, the prize) that we spent so much on, both literal and figuratively, represents the sin in which we find ourselves enslaved. However, we have THE true Liberator in our corner…the One who came to pay the debt we could never afford and give us real freedom. We are reminded by Paul in Galatians 5:1, “It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by the yoke of slavery.” So leave the “prize” with the obnoxious and pushy used car salesman, walk away from the game, and save your money and efforts for better, more kingdomly, purchases.

As we celebrate our country’s 237th anniversary of independence, we humbly thank those who have rung and continue to ring the bell of freedom through the selfless giving of their blood and sacrifice. That bell rings due to the blood and lives of patriots…not by the swing of a sledgehammer. May God continue to bless the United States of America. Until next time, keep it real…and Armor Up!

The above article appeared in the July 2012 Issue of Power Source Magazine. You can view the actual article HERE.

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