Posted by: zephaniah317 | May 27, 2007

What I Learned Playing Paintball

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I spent 7 hours yesterday running around the woods shooting little balls of paint .68 inches in diameter at guys in jeans, camo and full face shields.  I had never met these guys before.  And I had the time of my life.  Like I do every time I go into the woods and shoot little balls of paint at other people for hours on end.

These guys do not know Jesus as their Lord, Saviour, and friend, to the best of my knowledge.  And, OK, some of the conversation and language was crude.  But, I found myself in the midst of a growth spurt yesterday afternoon while hanging out with them.  Because I realized that they know how to have fun.  John Eldredge states repeatedly in his book Wild at Heart that a lot of men have lost that instinct to conquer, to rule our domain (in love – that keeps the fun in it, and keeps the performance-based crap at bay), as God originally intended us to do.  And I realized how well I fall into that category.

I remember having at least 30 or so toy weapons in my arsenal growing up.  I had regular guns for cowboys and indians and cops and robbers scenarios.  I had laser pistols and rifles for your basic Star Wars games.  Something for every occasion.  And I loved playing with them.  Because I’m a guy.  And it was fun running around my yard/neighborhood like an idiot shooting everything in sight, or sneaking around like a Navy Seal with a mission to complete, or even a damsel in distress to rescue (that didn’t happen very often, but I’m just sayin’).

And somewhere along the line, I became more concerned with being moral, and afraid of not meeting God’s expectations of me.

And my heart died.

And I realize more and more here lately how much I hate religion.  And I hate that the general American public has associated religion with the church.  And I hate that as a result, the general American public sees church and religion as the same thing:  an establishment who’s main teaching the last 1,000 or so years is that in order to be loved by God you have to follow a list of rules.

And I hate it.

A lot.

Because I believe that, as Erwin McManus puts it, it is one of the worst forms of corruption.

And it takes all the fun out of the very abundant life that Jesus came to set loose upon the world.

A few years ago, I would’ve spent more time hung up on the language I was hearing (from time to time) yesterday afternoon than having fun.  Listen, we just want to be guys.  And God wired us that way.  To rule, conquer, dominate, and have fun doing it.  And in that way, even though some of us don’t know God, yesterday on the paintball field of battle, we were behaving much closer to how He wired us to be than the person my parents and my home church programmed me to be:  Sheltered.  Safe.  Moral.  Neutered.  Castrated.

So, in those few hours yesterday afternoon, I had fun.  And I didn’t piss God off.  And I plan on doing a lot more of it.  And I love God for making me a guy.  Thanks, Dad.

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Responses

  1. I’m a girl and I had fun playing with guns and still do with my boys. Heehee!! Now, I do like doing some girlie things in which before I didn’t. God is cool. Glad you had a blast!!

  2. Thanks, LOLA. 🙂

  3. I definitely feel your pain with the disapointment in how backwardly religious things have become.

    I read a great quote today that echoes the feeling: “If we were to set out to establish a religion in polar opposition to the Beatitudes Jesus taught, it would look strikingly similar to the pop Christianity that has taken over the airwaves of North America.” -Tony Campolo

    It’s crazy how much of what we are taught is “right” in our Christian circles directly contradicts what’s in the Bible that we claim to be living by.

  4. BFM, I can’t comment/post on your blog! 😦

    It’s asking for a blogspot account/password. Where’s the love?!?!

    Good quote and comment. Thanks.

  5. Very Cool Reminder Bro. Thank You! Glad you had a good time.

  6. So my girlfriend recommended that I read this blog because I fit your description to the ‘t’. I too grew up with the 30 toy gun arsenal, and then switched to the paintball guns.
    But yeah, I do see where your coming from, and I agree with you 100%. It is okay for us to go out there and shoot each other for fun, even though the laid back people say it’s ‘violent’ or ‘weird’. So yeah… keep it up.

  7. Thanks for the encouragement, Josh. Checked out y’all’s website. Nice. Are y’all going to D-Day this year? Good luck.

  8. Hey im sitting in a class at school and i found this. and i do agree with you i play paintball too and it is really fun and there are some guys that tend to shout out whatever they feel like. and i recently gotton closer to god. and i feel that what you said is preety much the truth. and i grew up the same way too….

  9. Oh and i went to d-day this year. I was on the allied RANGERS It Was Really fun!


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