Balloons TD4 is a silly game that I’ve been playing with my mom and sister this break. The object of the game is to prevent balloons from hurting you. Wow. That sounds ridiculous now that I’ve typed it. Nonetheless, its a wicked fun game, and in order to prevent the balloons from getting through, you have to strategically place “monkey towers” that can pop, freeze, or explode the balloons before they make it through the track or path to the other side. It is not going to be easy to connect this to the Divine, but I suppose this is why I’m doing this in the first place: to improve my aim.
Much of life, it seems, is about avoiding harm. We are almost constantly bombarded with messages that can be harmful to us (although the harm is not always so easily detected). These various harmful messages and events are balloons.
We have various psychological mechanisms for dealing with potentially harmful situations. These are the strategically placed Much of the time, however, it seems like we attempt to avoid situations where there is potential for harm.
The subversive message of Jesus, on the other hand, inevitably places us in harms way. Disciples destroy the images of idolatry (e.g. affluence, “achievement”, etc.), and this upsets those whose passion is for the finite.
Now, we can see something absurd. The convention is to avoid harm. The convention is to position ourselves and others (including God) so that we experience the least harm. But the subversive sage says rather shockingly, “Take up your cross, and follow me.” The cross was undoubtedly an image of suffering and death for the disciples. It seems likely that they would have interpreted Jesus words as, encouraging them embrace a life of pain and suffering…if he didn’t follow those words with these ones, “For whoever wants to save their life[a] will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will find it.”
So, from this we can conclude that is life were like Balloons TD4, Jesus’ message would be this: play on the hardest level with the most balloons. Put yourself in a position where harm if likely to happen. Not for harms sake, but for mine (which, to me has something to do with a passion for the least of these and a willingness to challenge conventional wisdom).
That’s a crazy way to play a game/live life.
I need the strength to put myself in harms way in accordance with the will of the Divine. I need to the strength to say, when all the balloons of life come flying towards me, “not my will, but Your’s be done.” It is too easy to turn God into just another defense mechanism, to turn God into a means of avoiding devotion to God.