This week I made my last trek with an old friend: it was a sad and troubling experience. I grew up loving Knott’s Berry Farm. With the new ownership from about a year ago, changes are starting to show.
My family already put off anything relayed to Disney after careful study and observation that there are underlying dark and wicked ideologies that permeate all things Disney.
We are told in Hebrews 12:1 to:
lay aside every weight,
and sin that so easily besets us
so we can run with patience the race set before us.
The are some obvious concepts in this passage; like eliminating things that hinder our walk or lead us to sin. Walk here means the deep and lasting commitment to loving God with all our being and loving our neighbor as ourselves.
The less obvious concept here is running with patience: we can run much more efficiently and reach our goal when we are not burdened.
A burden can stop us from reaching the finish line.
This is not something you want to ignore when the finish line is God and heaven.
But that is not the crux of this verse in my opinion. It is the concept of patience that is most critical.
Here we will consider patience in both its positive and negative light in connection to my experience at Knott’s.
Patience develops from a love that is being perfected.
Love is perfected by an unwavering and single-minded faith in the one who calls us through the power of the Holy Spirit. This produces in us
wisdom, and righteousness,
and sanctification, and redemption
~ 1 Corinthians 1:30
God hath from the beginning
chosen you to salvation
through sanctification of the Spirit
and belief of the truth:
~ 1 Thessalonians 2:13
that each of you know how to possess his own vessel
in sanctification and honor
~ 1 Thessalonians 4:4
The Positive Characteristics of Patience
Characteristics of patience are: steadfastness, constancy, endurance. (It is consistent in the picture of a race as found in Hebrews 12:1).
One who is not swerved from his intended purpose and remains loyal to his faith in Christ and His holy calling even under the greatest of trials or sufferings. This is often unjustly committed by others through their sinful deeds.
Godly patience produces a gentle and kind long suffering; an enduring and sustaining perseverance in the face of circumstances beyond our sphere of influence.
Of course there are exceptions or variations to the course of patience such as with Job and Jeremiah but the general definition stands in my degree of understanding scripture.
How is this in relation to Knott’s?
The Negative Characteristics of Patience
Jeremiah provides a perfect example.
In the book of Lamentations, Jeremiah is beset by the many sins and weight produced by the nation of Israel.
They fell away from their walk with God and not only lost the love of the Father but they were receiving their just recompense of God’s correcting hand.
He hath builded against me
and encompassed me with gall and travail.
~ Lamentations 3:5
In this passage, we begin to see the characteristics contrary to patience found in those obedient to Christ.
The collective sin and many weights so deliberately enjoyed by the people of Israel brought with them, a crippling snare. They were stopped in their tracks.
No longer could they run the race set before them. The hand of God brought everything to a stop.
Jerusalem, the city of peace, was literally encircled by a witness of many enemies. They built a fortress round about them and eventually tore down their ramparts and walls.
The enemy denied the people of all resources to the point that mothers were eating their infants and toddlers.
All this happened because their spiritual leaders were worthless and misleading in the sense that they did not expose their sin and lead them to repentance.
Sin can have the same effect in us spiritually and physically when we choose to embrace it and be entertained by it.
When this happens we become encumbered with gall and travail, just like Jeremiah.
Gall and Travail
Gall is bitter and poisonous, like venom from a snake (get the spiritual image here). Without the whole armor of God, the enemy can enter our life and spoil us.
The nature of gall shakes us to our core. It envelops the whole person so as to infect us at our chiefest parts: our cognitions, where we make decisions, and our outlook or world view.
Travail when united with gall is a vicious combination because travail always results in a weariness from toil, hardship, or distress.
This weariness brings with it impatience from the things that cause our spirits and life to be grieved or offended. It can come from something done to us, something we do. It can come from someone else or from within us.
Travail and gall is brought on only by sin, from within or without.
Taking it Home to Knott’s
The Children’s Show
There is a stage in Snoopy land at Knott’s that presents certain ideas to the young and innocent.
I observed the glorification of frank selfishness produce in the play that ended with song that encouraged the love of secular rock and roll.
(the presenter expected the children to already be familiar with a song sung by those who avow and openly practice homosexuality.
Tacit of approval of any sin is not an element of Godly patience.
Then the song switched and played the music used by cabaret dancers who historically kick up their legs to the music as they reveal their nakedness to the audience.
I watched my children be exposed to this.
Now they don’t know what is means right now, but later when other things of a similar nature are presented to them, the stage will have already been set, so to speak.
It is a subtle form of conditioning not fully appreciated by the innocent or complacent.
Now, I willingly chose to take my family to Knott’s and felt the conviction associated with a mild taste of gall and travail.
Throughout the park monitors are being strategically placed so park goers inevitably watch whatever is being displayed.
This increased my weariness and trouble because we have no control of the content.
We have no TV in our house for very good reasons.
I will gladly sit down and discuss the harm TV brings to one’s spiritual life any day of the week.
More importantly there was secular music being played throughout the park did something very bad to my soul and mind.
As a newly dedicated Christian, one of the best things I have done is to eliminate wordy influences from the media, TV, movies, magazines, newspaper, advertisements, radio, etc.
Now, it is very common to awaken with scriptural thoughts, prayers and praise to God, or to have beautiful Christian hymns ringing through my mind throughout the day.
What happened on the way home from Knott’s checked my soul and took away my patience and joy in the LORD.
I had a song from the park stuck in my mind. Even today, 24 hours later, curse words from that son have replaced the praises of God as sinful thoughts course through my soul.
God forgive me for my poor choice and for subjecting my children and wife to elements that caused the eventual destruction of Israel, your temple. and the destruction of millions of souls.
I pray God will guide me and give me the wisdom to choose the right activities to engage my family from this day forward.
I have learned a great lesson.
Amusement parks are not conducive to holiness or a sanctified life in Christ.
God forgive me and renew a right spirit in me.