Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Don't Try This at Home!

On Tuesday, July 21, two men jumped from St. Louis' Eads Bridge into the Mississippi River. They weren't depressed or suicidal; they weren't drunk or high. No, they described themselves as adrenaline junkies, who just wanted to jump off the bridge "for fun."

And they did have fun. A friend who stood watching said they made their jump at about 9:30 p.m., then quickly surfaced. "They were whooping and hollering, having the time of their life. They were like two little kids at Disneyland for the first time. They were having fun."

But they miscalculated the danger of their stunt. It wasn't the landing from the bridge that proved most deadly; it was the unpredictable power of the mighty Mississippi. Their bodies eventually washed ashore, one 35 miles south of St. Louis.

I like to watch America's Got Talent, but I wonder about the adrenaline junkies and daredevils who try out for the show. One contestant dove out of an airplane, waiting for the last possible instant before pulling his chute. Another jumped into an airbag from hundreds of feet in the air, on an aerial tower that was shaking violently in the wind. Still another sat in a car as it was rocked by explosives.

Each round that goes by, contestants look for ways to make their acts more dangerous -- more death-defying -- to keep their audience on the edge of its seat, holding its breath. And, of course, all the time, we are warned not to try this at home.

How reckless were you in your childhood? How long were you content to use the swings, merry-go-round, or slide the "safe" way? How about your bike, skateboard, pogo stick, or even your car? What is it about risks and danger that appeal to us?

And one last question before I open it up to you: how do you think God feels about these behaviors and the drive behind them? Does risk-taking reside only in our sinful natures -- or is there something intrinsically risky about faith as well?

Believing in God and living out your faith is risky in this world. Christ-followers are aliens here. Can you relate any times when living your faith made things awkward for you? Dangerous? If so, you can let us know by clicking here and sharing your thoughts with us.

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