Though the fig tree does not bud and there are no grapes on the vines, though the olive crop fails and the fields produce no food, though there are no sheep in the pen and no cattle in the stalls, yet I will rejoice in the LORD, I will be joyful in God my Savior. The Sovereign LORD is my strength; he makes my feet like the feet of a deer, he enables me to tread on the heights (Habakkuk 3:17-19).
I didn’t get this comic, because I didn’t understand the term “Parkour”. Therefore, I looked it up Parkour.
Here is what that great, sometimes unreliable, Internet source Wikipedia says about it:
Parkour (sometimes abbreviated PK) is a method of movement focused on moving around obstacles with speed and efficiency. Originally developed in France, the main purpose of the discipline is to teach participants how to move through their environment by vaulting, rolling, running, climbing and jumping. Traceurs (parkour practitioners) train to be able to identify and utilize alternate or the more efficient paths.
Now I get the humor of comic.
Woman: “Toby, are you running from the bullies at school?”
Toby: “It’s only cool if you call it Parkour.”
Just running from his those seeking to beat on him isn’t cool to the boy. However, if fleeing from them involves an avante garde activity, then it’s what the people in the 60s called “groovy”.
People who particpate in PK are called “traceurs”. The unofficial motto of those who are engaged in the movement is “to be and to last”.
Obviously this is the goal of the Bucket kid. If he is truly running cool, he is actually developing his self confidence and critical thinking skills according to the traceurs.
Philosophically, Parkour is characterized by freedom and the lack of competition. Thus, having a dedicated site for doing this kind of activity is contradictory to PK’s purpose.
Furthermore, it is a practice which involves the reclamation of humans. Doing PK is supposed to help the enthusiast interact with the world, not be protected by it.
Traceurs prefer real places with real obstacles. This is why Parkour is practiced in gyms, offices, parks and abandoned buildings.
Even the British military has begun to incorporate it in their training. In addition, the United States Marine Corp is introducing Parkour.
PK is really nothing new. This free running style has been around since Neandrathal days.
Prior to the First World War, Georges Hebert went to Africa and noticed the agility of the the people in the tribes there. He began to develop PK-like training based on the following traits:
- Energetic or virile sense: energy, willpower, courage, coolness, and firmness
- Moral sense: benevolence, assistance, honor, and honesty
- Physical sense: muscles and breath
Despite the potential dangers, Parkour appears at its core to develop positive aspects in its advocates.
This morning when I read an episode of the life of David in the Bible (I Samuel 27), I questioned his state of honor at this time. It didn’t seem like the experience, which involved his fleeing to the Philistines and away from the bully King Saul, was very positive or right.
David seemed to possess during this period some dishonorable characteristics. They included to me fear, cowardice, and dishonesty.
However, I am now reconsidering my thoughts about David’s jaunt to the Philistines. I think he might have been engaging in an ancient form of Parkour.
David surely was attempting to survive (“to be and to last”). In addition, he was seeking to find the best method to get around his obstacles, which mainly involved King Saul and the thousands of men he was employing to hunt him down in Israel.
In addition, David didn’t ask to be sheltered from harm in Philistia. He asked the Philistine king Achish to let him live in the free and open spaces of the countryside instead of in the well-protected royal city.
David wanted his freedom and he got it. He wouldn’t allow other men, including the two most powerful men in his region, to control him.
It is possible that David moved over to Philistia in order to train himself, his family and his men for the future. After all, he had been anointed as the future king of Israel by the prophet Samuel at God’ direction and would need to prepare for the day he inherited that responsibility.
While among the Philistines, he and his followers kept fit in the qualities needed in the art of war, and continued to assist Israel in fighting its historic enemies. Sure he lied to King Achich concerning whom he had fought against on his raids, but this can be written off to clever strategy against the Philistines, who were also long-time enemies of Israel (I Samuel 27:8-12).
As the life of David shows, things are not always as they seem. Boys running from bullies may actually be developing themselves.
I have recently become a big fan of the HBO series called “The Wire”. Although I am a Johnny-Come-Lately to the show, I am looking at old DVDs and continue to be intrigued by its portrayal of my hometown of Baltimore, which has been called “gritty”, but is constantly trying to escape that image.
In this series, just about everyone is trying their best to make the best of a bad environment. The worst off are the African American kids in the ‘hood. With drug dealers controlling their neighborhoods, they have a tough time not becoming involved in the crime and the business.
For example, middle schooler Michael Lee sells drugs. However, he has kept his self respect and freedom by bravely resisting the enticements of Marlo Stansfield, the young new kingpin of the drug trade.
Another middle schooler, Randy Wagstaff, has unwittingly become an accessory to murder. He was told by those involved in the killing to tell the victim that a young woman was waiting for him in a park. There, the victim was taken away and put to death.
Randy is greatly disturbed by his inadvertent role in the killing when he learns the truth. Yet, he isn’t totally pure.
He continues to walk a difficult line between goodness and evil. The police consider him a good kid, however, and do their best to protect him.
The police are also moving and shaking to survive, even thrive. For example, rebellious detective Jimmy McNulty takes a demotion to patrol officer in order to straighten out his life.
Dedicated police such as Major Crimes Kima Greggs and Lester Freamon manage their way out of the division when a politically motivated new boss comes in as a “unit killer”. They move over to Homicide where they can continue to maintain their nobility as real police.
Life surely deals us what appears to be a bad hand at times. It would behoove us, though, to step back and consider what really may be going on.
It could be the Lord wants to use the circumstances so that we engage in a little Parkour. What may seem like like disastrous slavery could really be God’s means to give us our freedom.