One of my good friends recently introduced me to one such story and, my friends, I am here to share it with you. It is a story about which you, the teens in your ministry, and the parents of those teens can be equally and unapologetically enthusiastic. There is no deep, dark underbelly, very little danger, and tons of good clean hilarity. If you haven’t already heard of it, then I introduce to you…
Planking is an activity which consists of lying face down with your arms at your side, still and straight like a plank of wood in an unusual or difficult location. Once a person is in the correct position, a picture is taken and usually posted on the Internet. The goal is to have the most original or unusual picture. Generally, the best pictures are in public places and can be done with multiple people at one time. The game has been described as a lazy man’s Parkour. Parkour is the extreme sport of running, climbing, and jumping through obstacles in an urban landscape. Where Parkour is extremely demanding physically, planking is clearly not.
While it is difficult to describe without pictures, planking has become an activity for anyone and everyone. I have seen pictures of celebrities planking as well as grandmothers. It can be done anywhere. In a recent interview, Rosario Dawson even planked on Jimmy Kimmel’s desk. There is no athletic quality to planking, so all competition is a level playing field. The only limitation is how creative you can be. These qualities make it a wonderful challenge for your youth group, perhaps leading your own youth group planking event.
Sometimes it can be difficult for us to look at the culture around us and find anything worthy of celebration. It can be challenging to stay optimistic about the state of our fallen world. One of the things I hear from people on a regular basis is that they don’t want to read or watch the news because it is all so depressing. I can sympathize with that feeling. There are days when I read story after story in the news and feel completely disheartened by what I see.
And yet, in the midst of all of our frustration and negativity we see a shining example of people doing something simply for the joy of it, something that makes us all laugh and celebrate the creativity of our mind and the abilities of our bodies. Something that simply makes us laugh.
I have no deep thoughts on what planking tells us about our world and about our faith as Christians. What I can say is that God created a beautiful world for us, created our bodies, and gave our minds an amazing creative capacity. Perhaps in a world of darkness and sin, we could all stand to be reminded of those blessings once more. We can celebrate the ability of one person to say to another, “Okay, let’s all lay flat as a board on the edge of our cubicles and it will make someone’s day.”
It made my day, and I hope it makes yours.