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Not Prince Hamlet

"Full of high sentence, but a bit obtuse."

Chasing the Skaters

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

It was told me on my first day at the church: we have to chase away the skaters.

Well-intentioned kids though they may be, we have to chase away the skaters.

Though they be covered with helmets and pads, we have to chase away the skaters.

Through eight months on the staff here I have shirked this responsibility, feigning ignorance on almost every occasion. But when I returned to the building this afternoon and found my way to the office blocked by a crowd of six junior high schoolers kicking, flipping, and jumping their boards over backpacks on the patio, I had no escape. To walk through that crowd and utter nary a word of reproach would be bald insubordination.

I am no insubordinate (Jesus may have been; I am not. Yet).

So I forced a friendly, "What's up guys?" and a jovial self-introduction before spitting on their community. "We can't have you guys skating here," is how I put it. "You can hang out here, but you can't be on your skateboards."

Of course, they weren't surprised by this. This was certainly not the first time someone has chased them out of here, and it was most definitely not the first time they've been run off, for that experience is as central to the culture of skating as water is to surfing.

I asked where else they can skate. "Way up there," indicated one with a wave of his arm towards the high school, about a mile away.

"Not at the junior high?" I asked, hopeful.

"No," another one answered. "They kicked us out."

So here I am, pastor at a church, and forced to see the presence of vibrant and creative kids as a problem, forced to see them through a litigious lens as a threat and so to disperse their company with sighs and grumbles.

There has to be a better answer.
posted by Not Prince Hamlet, 4:27 PM

3 Comments:

I am insubordinate.

That said, why did this task fall to you? Sounds like a passing of the buck to me.

But, then again, I am generally insubordinate.
commented by Blogger Landon Whitsitt, 7:03 PM  
The task didn't fall to me, but to everyone on the staff. I've just been really wimpy in carrying it out. It's about liability. I get that. It just sucks to send kids away.
commented by Blogger Not Prince Hamlet, 11:56 PM  
The wife of our former pastor who lives next door keep telling me about kids skateboarding on our steps.

I, too, have shirked...even though I get it with the whole liability thing.

And it does seem downright counter-intuitive to telling someone to get away from the church as quickly as they can and never come back until they drop the skateboard. Feels like I'm telling them that they have to "grow up" or some nonsense like that before they can come.
commented by Blogger Scott, 7:52 AM  

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