Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Married men's article removed

icoccommentary conveyed it's concerns to the Port Elizabeth Church of Christ (South Africa) leadership by means of an email: "Throwing darts at human targets holding up balloons is not what I will promote to children. Will you retract your article?

The Port Elizabeth Church of Christ has graciously removed the article showing married men shooting hand held balloons with catapult slingshots.

In the light of their repentance - icoccommentary has removed (also for the sake of children world wide) the series of photographs depicting the married men's illegal activity in the article, entitled Silly 'Church of Christ' Games Stupefy. However, the copy of the article will remain for historical accountability.

Thank you

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Silly ‘Church of Christ’ Games Stupefy

A decade ago, Sam Laing wrote in his book, Mighty Man of God (1999, DPI Books), “If a gender can be indicted for its crimes, then as men we must all together hang our heads and cry out, “Guilty as charged!”

Heaven knows what exactly possessed the married men of the Port Elizabeth Church of Christ and James Lappeman (Marrieds Minister Leader) joining from the Cape Town Church of Christ to orchestrate “an activity designed to build character” by throwing darts and shooting slingshot catapults to hand held balloon targets on the beach.

A short report of the Married’s Men Breakaway November 2009 vividly captures their logic in writing and with some dramatic pictures. “To make it a bit more interesting, the balloons were hand held by a trusting team member. One of the teams took up the option of using a dart which luckily did not get embedded in anyone’s hand or arm. The photos probably explain it better…”

A picture tells a thousand words.


Since the church article about the married men’s activities bares no child protection policy, icoccommentary urges kids: Please Don’t Try This!

The challenge...

The photographs depicts an annual outdoors activity known by the married men as the Laurie’s Bay Survivor Challenge. November 2009 challenge comprises “recovering golf balls from the ocean, exchanging them for “ammo” to be used to use in catapults to pop a certain number of balloons.” Diving in the ocean and shooting targets sounds like good innocent fun. However, it seems the shooting challenge initially sounded a bit too lame and the married men improvised to “make it a bit more interesting.”

Towels were wrapped around an extended arm of a ‘trusting’ team member from the shoulder to hand while holding a colourful balloon. The trusting team member when ready will raise his padded arm with his back to the shooter and hope for the best. None of these men are professional target shooters unlike William Tell. Standing not too far off the shooter held a forked Y-shaped stick in his non-dominant hand that serves as a small hand-powered projectile weapon. Two rubber strips are attached to the uprights while the projectile is gripped between thumb and forefinger of the dominant hand. The catapult is pulled back close to the cheek or chin in order to secure aim. In this event, once the pocket is released to fire the projectile to the target no consideration was given to cause bodily harm. Therefore this stupid game required “steady hands and lots of trust” from the other end!

James Lappeman (frames 2 and 3) after facilitating the morning spiritual discussions fully participated in the catapult activity. Lappeman standing a few meters away scored a lucky direct hit. Another team “took up the option of using a dart” for ammo. Here in the photograph a trusting team member disregards the towel for protection – hailed as Alistair the brave. With his bare arm extended holding a balloon the dart is launched a few meters afar. The dart activity according to the report stated “luckily did not get embedded in anyone’s hand or arm.”

But what if matters turned out for the worse? What about injuries such as a cracked skull or pierced artery? The victim would not stand a good chance to get out quickly in an emergency unless they were shooting Marshmallows. Laurie’s Bay is fairly isolated and a considerable distance from the city hospitals in Port Elizabeth.

The proceedings according to the photo material was based on team work – speed – “more than just hot air” (whatever that may mean) – steady hands and lots of trust – aim – hits – bravado and luck.

This is surely one of the most stupid recreational activities ever recorded in the history of the International Churches of Christ (ICOC).

Sam Laing lamented in his book, Mighty Man of God, that the “condition of manhood in our world is deplorable. Men are viewed as superficial, shallow louts. A goofy, foolish object of pity, the masculine gender is the butt of countless jokes and subject to an endless stream of ridicule. When was the last time you saw a man portrayed as a hero, as a person of dignity, honor and grace?”

On that day, there were no heroes – no dignity – no honour – no grace!

What is wrong with these pictures?

First and foremost, these married men of the Church of Christ set a bad example for children to follow. Many of them are fathers to children. These violent and ridiculous images should never be posted on the Internet. Let alone a church website! Imagine if a child is inspired by these church activities? What legal implications awaits this church group when a child causes some serious harm to classmates while indicating the source of his/her actions derives from this church website!

Improbable? Think again. Children imitate adults. Period.

A South African schoolboy dressed like drummer Joey Jordison of Slipknot “stabbed a fellow student to death and two other gardeners” before the start of school assembly.

Evidently, from a moral point of view, the activities of these married men promote bad habits to children. Their conduct of bad practice jeopardizes children good behaviour. Spiritually the Bible warns against a person who leads children to sin!

“But if anyone causes one of these little ones [little children] who believes in me to sin, it would be better for him to have a large millstone hung around his neck and to be drowned in the depths of the sea (Matthew 18:6).”

Secondly, these married men of the Church of Christ violates the sporting code of good conduct of these respected sports. They show ZERO regard for safety regulations enforced by the respected sports of darts and slingshot.

A British slingshot specialist website strongly warns potential buyers to be over 18 to order slingshots from them. Their reason: “Slingshots or catapults can be extremely dangerous and must be used responsibly. … All the slingshots featured here are DEADLY weapons and must be treated with respect. … Never EVER point or fire a slingshot at another person.”

The traditional “Y”-shape catapult as used by these married men from the Church of Christ can cause considerable less damage than a new breed wrist brace slingshot, which “are so powerful that it can be used for hunting wildlife. It is an effective killing machine – launching a steel ball bearing, almost silently, at incredible velocity.”

Safe Sport concerning darts website states “there are a number of injuries suffered every year that involve darts and dart players. … Never point, or throw a dart at anyone. … If you follow these guidelines then you will be playing safe and hopefully have loads of fun.”

Evidently these married men from the Church of Christ has transgressed the sins of omission.

“Anyone, then, who knows the good he ought to do and doesn’t do it, sins (James 4:17).”

Thirdly, will the Port Elizabeth Church of Christ leadership retract the Married Men's Breakaway November 2009 article for the sake of children world wide? The issue at stake is CHILDREN WORLD WIDE.

“Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things (Colossians 3:2).”

The married men's article states: "The photos probably explain it better…"

Perhaps how the mighty have fallen???

Guilty as charged.

PS: Please note: The article has been revised in order to emphasize what needs to be done in order to retract the Married Men's Breakaway November 2009 article from the Port Elizabeth Church of Christ. If anyone felt angered by my earlier presentation - my heartfelt apology! NOW LETS ACT FOR THE SAKE OF INNOCENT CHILDREN.

PSS: The PE Church complied.

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