28 February 2014

Hurling Stars Like Confetti

PlayFull board member Doreen Olson shared these words from Frederick Buechner the other day. Love this! 

“When King David's wife berates him for making a fool of himself by leaping and dancing before the ark of the Lord, he protests by saying that it seemed exactly the right thing to do, considering all the Lord had done for him. ‘Therefore will I play before the Lord,’ he tells her (2 Samuel 6:14-21).

“When God describes how he will rescue Jerusalem from his wrath and make it new again, ‘a city of truth’ (Zechariah 8:3), he conveys the glory of it by saying, ‘And the streets of the city shall be full of boys and girls playing in the streets’ (8:5).

“When the Psalmist praises God for creating ‘this great and wide sea, wherein are creeping things innumerable,’ he makes special mention of Leviathan, ‘whom,’ as he says, ‘thou hast made to play therein’ (104:25-26).

“The king, the boys and girls, the whale—they are none of them accomplishing anything. They are none of them providing anything. There's nothing edifying or educational or particularly helpful in what they are doing, nothing that you'd be likely to think of as religious. They haven't a thought in their heads. They are just playing, that's all. They are letting themselves go and having a marvelous time at it.

“David has sweat pouring down his face and his eyes are aflame. The boys and girls are spinning like tops. The whale has just shot a thirty-foot spout into the air and is getting ready to heave its entire one hundred and fifty tons into the air after it.

“What is the wind doing in the hayfield? What is Victoria Falls up to, or the surf along the coast of Maine? What about the fire going wild in the belly of the stove, or the rain pounding on the roof like the ‘Hallelujah Chorus,’ or the violet on the windowsill leaning toward the sun?

“What, for that matter, is God up to, getting the whole thing started in the first place? Hurling the stars around like confetti at a parade, gathering the waters together into the seas like a woman gathering shells, calling forth all the creatures of earth and air like a man calling ‘Swing your partner!’ at a hoedown.

"’Be fruitful and multiply!’ God calls, and creator and creature both all but lose track of which is which in the wonder of their playing.”

-Frederick Buechner, originally published in Whistling in the Dark and later in Beyond Words

PlayFull is dedicated to helping people play from the inside-out. Like us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter. Thank you for reading!

26 February 2014

This Kid Nails It

Don't need to add much commentary to this:

Hump Day is Humor Day at PlayFull. Like us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter for more laughs. Thank you for stopping by!

22 February 2014

The Silent Science

Somewhere in a lab
lies a map
made by
middle-age mathematicians—
a chart of stars
reduced to pin-points on paper
whose frame would flame
with a fraction
of each star’s heat.

We are like twigs
broken by the base
of a volcano.

But, God, can’t you see
we have been searching for you,
even in our numbering
(and naming)

Where are you?
It has taken us billions of years
to catch the slightest glimpse of you.
Still, we haven’t found
you in our nouns.

Are you hidden in plain sight
among the constellations
we learn as children?

Are you
our sun,
so close that
looking at you would
blind eyes?

We can look beside you,
or—better still—
at all you shine upon:

the whispering stream,
and sapling trees at daybreak, or

faces furrowed and
dying bees at sunset.

And, then, there is the moon.
Even in the night there is your light,
though the darkness seems more real.
You are the silver fox flashing
through the thick black forest.

Can’t you see?
We have been trying
to pick up your thread;
so, have mercy on our shorthand.
Thank you for hidden strings.
Weave your dark net.
Surprise us upstream.

the silent science
a poem by troy cady

20 February 2014

Thursday Thought:: Being Oneself

“We are never more fully alive, more completely ourselves, or more deeply engrossed in anything, than when we are at play.”  -Charles Schaefer

PlayFull is dedicated to helping people play from the inside-out. Like us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter. Thank you for reading!

19 February 2014

17 February 2014

When God Thinks of You

PlayFull believes one's view of God correlates to one's ability to live playfully. If we discount the image of a static God and instead see God as ecstatic, it makes a world of difference. We begin our PlayFull Faith story about creation with the simple sentence, "God dances." This truth has profound implications. 

On Thursday, PlayFull board member Doreen Olson drew attention to these words by author David G. Benner. This serves to illustrate yet another dimension of a God who is playful:

“Take a moment and try a simple exercise. The results will tell you a great deal about the nature of your spiritual journey.

“Imagine God thinking about you. What do you assume God feels when you come to mind?

“When I ask people to do this, a surprising number of people say that the first thing they assume God feels is disappointment. Others assume that God feels anger. In both cases, these people are convinced that it is their sin that first catches God’s attention. I think they are wrong—and I think the consequences of such a view of God are enormous.

“Regardless of what you have come to believe about God based on your life experience, the truth is that when God thinks of you, love swells in God’s heart and a smile comes to God’s face. God bursts with love for humans. God is far from being emotionally uninvolved with creation. God’s bias toward us is strong, persistent and positive. The Christian God chooses to be known as Love, and that love pervades every aspect of God’s relationship with us.”

Dr. David G. Benner, From Surrender to Love

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15 February 2014

If You're Keeping Score...

A friend (thanks, Bethany!) drew my attention to an article she saw the other day by author Alfie Kohn entitled “5 Not-So-Obvious Propositions About Play.”  I thought the article had some good things to say so here are a few excerpts…

“Play isn't just for children.  The idea of play is closely related to imagination, inventiveness, and that state of deep absorption that Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi dubbed ‘flow.’  Read virtually any account of creativity, in the humanities or the sciences, and you'll find mentions of the relevance of daydreaming, fooling around with possibilities, looking at one thing and seeing another, embracing the joy of pure discovery, asking ‘What if....?’  The argument here isn't just that we need to let little kids play so they'll be creative when they're older, but that play, or something quite close to it, should be part of a teenager's or adult's life, too.”

“…to insist on its benefits risks violating the spirit, if not the very meaning, of play.  In his classic work on the subject, Homo Ludens, the Dutch historian Johan Huizinga described play as ‘a free activity standing quite consciously outside ordinary life as being 'not serious' but at the same absorbing the player intensely and utterly.’  One plays because it's fun to do so, not because of any instrumental advantage it may yield.  The point isn't to perform well or to master a skill, even though those things might end up happening.  In G. K. Chesterton's delightfully subversive aphorism, ‘If a thing is worth doing at all, it's worth doing badly.’”

“Play, then, is about process, not product.  It has no goal other than itself.  And among the external goals that are inconsistent with play is a deliberate effort to do something better or faster than someone else.  If you're keeping score – in fact, if you're competing at all – then what you're doing isn't play.”

You can read more about the nature of play in our vision document.

PlayFull’s motto is “play from the inside-out.”  Play with us: like us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter. For more information on what we do to encourage play, read this.

14 February 2014

Puritan Valentine's Day Cards

Here are a few Valentine's Day cards that are sure to make an impression. With thanks to PlayFull friend Victoria Davis for this...

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13 February 2014

Thursday Thought:: A Second Childhood

“I now hope and believe that a kind of second simplicity is the very goal of mature adulthood…Although we often used it in a derogatory way, I wonder if this was not our intuition when we spoke of older people as in a ‘second childhood’.  Maybe that is where we are supposed to go. Maybe that is what several poets meant when they said ‘the child is the father of the man’.”

Richard Rohr, Falling Upward

Play is one of the world’s greatest untapped resources. At PlayFull, it’s what we’re all about. Like us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter. Thank you for reading. 

12 February 2014

Animal Crackers

Hump Day is Humor Day at PlayFull. Enjoy, friends!

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10 February 2014

Jesus Laughed

Judah Smith is the author of a book entitled Jesus is _______________ in which he seeks to dispel common misconceptions about the (in)famous historical figure. 

In an interview at Relevant magazine, he answered the first question with these words:

“Jesus has, I think, for a long time been portrayed as very serious. To a fault. Meaning I don’t think a lot of seekers or believers have it in their thinking at all that Jesus actually had a sense of humor.

"The way we were created, the way we function, our emotions, our soul, our laughter, our joy—all of these things reflect—they are because of God’s glory and they are for God’s glory. Jesus was the full and complete embodiment of all that God is, and so, no doubt, He would have enjoyed a good time.

"I mean, look at the guys he chose, the 12 blue-collar, average, ordinary dudes. Some of them royal screw-ups. Jesus chose them and no doubt they were cracking jokes and laughing and having a good time.”

PlayFull agrees! Thank you, Judah, for this good reminder...

Have a good week, friends--and live in joy.


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09 February 2014

My New Home

I have a new home now.
This is where I belong.
here is the cracked concrete,
the stuck windows
and crooked counters.
I know these things
need to be fixed
but they are only things.
They can wait.
Today, there will be people:
children, both quiet and impish—
the mourners and hopeful,
grieving the departed and
praying for adoption—
look, here is a woman snowblowing
and another preaching,
both strong, serving
and leading, creative
and hard-working.
Here, meet this wonderful couple:
grandparents, wise and ready to rest.
Who’s that?
She’s a seamstress and a hugger.
He serves the poor and is good with numbers.
Here’s a family learning to Sabbath
and another in Boy Scouts,
ready and prepared for adventures.
In my new home
there are people of many colors—
we like to bake and eat.
This family is sharp and stubborn,
soft and silent,
musical, dramatic and analytical.
Say what you want—they strive to love.
I will be travelling this week,
But my heart will be home.
Its (im)perfection warms my soul.

my new home
by Troy Cady

07 February 2014

Learning Is The Thing For You

A couple days ago, PlayFull board member Doreen Olson shared this with her friends. Good thoughts!

PlayFull is dedicated to helping people play from the inside-out. Like us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter to keep up with thought-provoking content. Thank you for reading.

05 February 2014

Best. Principal. Ever.

Here in Chicago we got pounded with another snowstorm today, but schools are still open. Earlier this year, schools did close due to extremely cold temperatures. In Kentucky, a school principal and a drama teacher recently recorded a creative message to let folks know the news of their school closing due to the cold. It is very funny! It's good to see these guys don't take themselves too seriously...

Hump Day is Humor Day at PlayFull. Laughter is good medicine! Keep up with our uplifting content by liking us on Facebook or following us on Twitter. Have a good day and thanks for reading.

03 February 2014

Cherish Diversity

I did not watch the Super Bowl but today I gathered two chief highlights:

A. The Denver Broncos were as dominant as a pack of incontinent gerbils.


B. The ad by Coca-Cola elicited some very strong reactions.

I suppose it is safe to say I never would have predicted either of these two things.

That made me wonder: “Huh?” Especially with “letter B” above.

Granted, English is considered by many to be the official* language here. But the America we live in is composed of people from many, many, many, many….many nations—speaking many, many, many, many different languages.

This is good—it is rare and precious.

Language is playful and creative. It is a doorway into a vast array of cultures. This diversity should be celebrated, cherished and nurtured.

I live in a neighborhood that is one of the most diverse in America. On any given day, as I look out the window to the sidewalk in front of my house, it is not uncommon to see people from various countries, representing diverse ethnic groupings, religions and languages. Muslims, Jews and Catholics, spanning from the Middle East to South America, live in our neighborhood. We hear Arabic, Polish, Swedish, Hebrew, Russian, Chinese, Korean, Spanish, German, Tagalog, French and Swahili spoken here. There is a hookah bar nearby and a taquería on Lawrence Avenue. On that same street, just a short walk away, you can get the best sushi in Chicago. Walk a little farther if you want some nice Italian pizza or Korean barbecue.
Language is intimately tied to culture. Americans of all colors and ethnic backgrounds should be eager to take advantage of the proximate diversity we enjoy—or should enjoy. As someone who served as a pastor of churches made up of people from different countries I can personally attest that rubbing shoulders with people who are unlike oneself is one of the most rewarding and enriching things you can ever do.

Rather than insisting on conformity, we should be champions of diversity. God made the world rich with the vibrant textures of culture and language. No one people group has a monopoly on truth and beauty. We have much to learn from one another. Together, the world’s people form a tapestry that is able to inspire awe, reverence and worship—if we let it.   PlayFull’s prayer is: let it be.


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*A good friend pointed out that America has no "official" language per se.