Tuesday, May 09, 2006

What has God to do with Monopoly?

Normally I am a free speech kind of guy. But this bumper sticker has me re-thinking that part of the First Amendment. It said, “Get out of Hell free!” then, in smaller print, in added, “John 3:16.”

John 3:16 does not mention hell or getting out of it for free. Perhaps the most memorized scripture, it says “For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten son that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.”

While I can see how someone could construe that bumper sticker from this passage, I don’t think it is a healthy link. The other clear reference the bumper sticker makes is to Monopoly, that great old board game that includes “Get out of Jail Free” cards. It is Monopoly’s version of a trump card.

The way the card works, in case it has been a while, is the player who draws this card on his or her turn simply hangs on to it until such time as it is needed. If that player is sent to jail, for any reason, he or she simply pulls out this card, shows it to the other players, and no longer has to go to jail.

I am really disturbed that what Jesus came to offer us is presented like this! Jesus intention was not to gift is a card to carry around in our pockets in case we are faced with hell someday. Jesus came to invite all of us into a way of life that includes God all the way, not just at the end if we get in trouble.

John 3:16 offers eternal life. Eternal life, though, is not merely escape from hell; rather, it is the opportunity to welcome God’s presence into our lives all the way along. Jesus himself said, in John 17:3, that eternal life is simply “knowing God.”

If you want to get out of hell free, play Divine Monopoly. If you want a life full of the presence of God and his love for you, you won’t need a trump card. All you need is Jesus.


At 2:29 AM, Blogger Sally said...

Amen Steve!
I wonder if sometimes we loose a large part of that paritcular verse by making it individualistic... surely there are echoes in the regarding the whole of creation, echoes of Genesis regarding restoration for the whole world!

At 10:19 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

There's a better version -- 10 for a buck at http://www.GOOHF.com

They're a riot!


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