The past few months people keep sending me planking photos. Planking is an activity or game consisting of lying face down in an unusual or incongruous location. The hands must touch the sides of the body and having a photograph of the participant taken and posted on the internet is an integral part of the game. Players compete to find the most unusual and original location in which to play. The term planking refers to mimicking a wooden plank. Many participants in planking have photographed the activity on unusual locations such as atop poles, roofs and vehicles. It is a new game, trend, fad or whatever you want to call it. It can be dangerous as people have actually died trying to get a great planking photo.
I don’t endorse this game or trend, all I know is that the description parallels what I see Catholic youth leaders doing everyday for teenagers. I can tell you this – it’s not a game at all for them. They lay it all out and put themselves in awkward spots, like hanging out at High School lunchrooms, plays, sporting events and spending time with teenagers in spots where most adults don’t fear tread for fear of being rejected by teens. While these youth leaders and core members might not be physically laying down, they and their families are laying their lives down in pursuit of teens souls. Recently watching the thousands of youth leaders at World Youth Day in Madrid, endure nights sleeping on mats in a gym with 100 degree plus heat, walk countless miles to the prayer vigil and Mass and endure packed subways to spend time with teens – in other words, putting themselves in awkward situations and places – in my mind planking in the name of Catholic youth ministry.
The most profound display of Catholic planking I have ever witnessed is when one of our Core team members was ordained a priest by the Archbishop and planked (Layed Prostrate) before the Altar and gave his life to Christ and His Church. Thank you priests and deacons for setting the ultimate example of an extreme plank for all of us in ministry.
How’s your planking? Are you laying it all down for teens souls and putting yourself in awkward, uncomfortable and unexpected places to reach the young Church?