Parks as protest


There’s some anxiety in South Africa right now about land reform — in a country with extreme inequality, questions about how we provide restitution for historical wrongs, and what political action needs to be taken in order to encourage more equality can be come charged and fierce. (Especially when you throw a nice dose of corruption into the mix).

In uncertain times, the temptation is to hunker down and hoard. The temptation is to huddle off, build a little fortress for yourself, and make sure that at least you and your own are protected.

Which is why I am very excited about the timing of the opening of our church’s public access community park.

In a climate where everyone is concerned about providing just for themselves, followers of Jesus are saying, “Come! Play! Share these resources! It’s free!”

In a world where people are obsessed with safety and security, and would rather spend their money to build the equivalent of a theme park in their own back yard so they never have to leave, while others (who are often the real victims of crime) have nothing for their children to do, the followers of Jesus are saying, “Come out! It doesn’t matter who you are. It doesn’t matter that you can’t afford to build your own private swing set, or gym membership, or gated community pass— come play! And all of you huddled behind your gates– leave your fear and come play!”

In a neighborhood that externally seems to have it all together, but internally is full of people who are isolated, depressed and alone, there’s now a place to sit, take in the view, and have a conversation next to the sandpit…without the fear of getting a Bible thrown at your head but hopefully,  with the warmth and love of Jesus present.

We who are loved, who are confident our God will provide for us, who are safe and secure in his goodness— we can share. And that sharing is as much an act of protest as marching.

Meet you by the swing set.

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