Sunday, March 20, 2011

"Urban Monopoly"

If you read my blog a lot, you'll remember last spring I wrote a post about Monopoly in AP Econ. I talked about supply and demand, and "house rules' of the game. I thought that was going to be the most interesting game of Monopoly I'd ever played, and the first I'd ever play to completion. Well, I was wrong. The game we played last night was definitely more interesting than the game I played last spring in AP Econ. Since most of my blogging audience will not have heard, let me explain a little bit about where I am - I'm in Baltimore City on the Intervarsity urban plunge "Shalom in the City" trip. 16 college students are here, working with different service ministries in the city for a week, to experience the atomosphere.

Last night we played Monopoly. But not a normal game of Monopoly. The game was rigged from the beginning, giving some teams advantages and some teams next to nothing. As a member of the "favored" team, I took the various offers that the bankers gave me, but got very frustrated because I felt the unfairness towards the other teams and their anger at the unfair treatment. But at the same time, I didn't want to take too much from my own winnings to help them. And they, in turn, were so frustrated that they didn't really know what to do with our "assistance". In short (because I don't want to give you all the hours of details) the wealthy team won and all of the students ended the game frustrated. We spent nearly as long venting about the experience as we had spent playing the game. But, as we discussed, we learned some really neat things about the parallels between our game and the city. And although I had ended the game frustrated and even ended up in tears during our discussion, at the suggestion of another team member, we ended the night in a prayer circle, which calmed me down and I think brought us together as a team.

This morning I has the opportunity to return to New Song Community Church, the church I generally attend while I'm in college. The sermon this morning was exactly in line with our Monopoly game last night. It was the last part of an eight part sermon series about the eight principles of Christian Community Development. Today was about "Empowerment". And the idea of Empowerment is the idea that "the goal of christian community development is the empowerment of the individuals in the community and the community itself." The three points from this morning's sermon were "1. Empowered people Need a mission greater than themselves", "Empowered People need Power Greater than themselves" and "Empowered People need hope greater than their suffering". Based in the passage of Acts 1:6-11, each point showed how Christ was the answer to empowerment. After my eye-opening Monopoly experience, it was wonderful to be pointed back into the arms of Christ. And I can't wait to see where he takes us the rest of the week.

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