Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Rules of the Game

This blog post is based on some deep thoughts of Marshall Pulliam - who was not only a great worship leader (for the year we served together) but a life-long friend as well. Basically, anything meaningful you read today is because he thought it first... except the "provide" & "protect" thing - that comes from Josh McDowell.

I've read a lot of board game rules in my life. (I've rated 2429 games on BoardGameGeek... and I'd guess I've taught "how to play" the vast majority of those myself.) Some are well-written, some... not so much.

There's a temptation to treat rules in games as if they were written to make games more "fair" - to give each person an equal chance to win the game.

In actuality, rules are put in place to allow the players to enjoy the game - to allow the experience to reach its full potential. Rules help us to play the game the way the designer intended.

Games without rules - or with sloppily written rules - are the very opposite of fun. (The only people who enjoy badly written rules are "rules lawyers"... the legalists of gaming society.)

The boundaries imposed by rules create an environment where players can interact and savor the joy of human community. Though we may want to cheat the system, bend the rules, bypass the boundaries... we actually devalue the game and the experience of the game by doing so.

In the same way, what we may consider the "moral confines" that God bestowed are not done so to restrict our enjoyment of life. The commands from Scripture are there so we may enjoy life to it's full potential. The boundaries are there to protect us from harm and provide for the best possible experience of human community & interaction.

The rules are there to help us live our lives the way the Designer intended.
Life to me is the greatest of all games. The danger lies in treating it as a trivial game, a game to be taken lightly, and a game in which the rules don’t matter much. The rules matter a great deal. The game has to be played fairly or it is no game at all. And even to win the game is not the chief end. The chief end is to win it honorably and splendidly. (Jon M. Huntsman Sr.)

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