Monday, April 22, 2013

To Card or Not to Card, That is the Question

Indeed, the question I face most Friday and/or Saturday nights when I’m working the box office and the new blockbuster movie is rated R. The MPAA, United States Congress and our theatre’s policy all require me to check picture I.D.s because those under 17 years old are not permitted to buy a ticket to a rated R film and/or attend without a parent or guardian present. Also, anyone under 21 years old is not permitted to buy more than one ticket and supposedly only for themselves.
In general, I don’t really like carding people. I’m not a super great judge of age. I carded a 35-year-old guy once who laughed and might have been flattered, and a 40+ year old mom who just rolled her eyes at me.
Sometimes, though, I get a kick out of carding people – the kids who are obviously too young. What’s funnier are their reactions. I’ve had stomped feet – kind of a shucks she caught me kind of mini-tantrum. I’ve had tag-teams huddle a little to the side and each try their luck. One couple told me they “just realized” they were too young to watch the requested movie. I’ve had kids say, “Really?” “Are you serious?” and “Oh, come on!” as I just shrug and smile. Then I’ve had youngsters get angry, expressing ire through a spectrum of degrees from rolling their eyes to cussing me out. Oh, and I did have a guy try to convince me that he was a mature 16.
This past Friday, one of my last customers of the evening trying to purchase a ticket to a rated R movie confidently presented his identification card that clearly stated that he was 16 years old. When I informed him that I would not be selling him a ticket, even though his 17-year-old friend just purchased one, he decided it was his duty to tell me that this is “crap” – except that he didn’t exactly use that word.
It got me thinking.
Famously, our culture has embraced the ‘rules are made to be broken’ mantra – or ignored or changed to fit our personal preferences. We have all made excuses to exempt ourselves from certain rules. It’s our sinful human nature to do so. We switch things around so that we define Truth, rules and even God mostly because we want to do what we want to do. Respect for authority has been turned upside down. In the name of not offended anyone, including ourselves, we’ve thrown absolutes out.
Even as Christians, we get surprised by consequences to breaking rules we know perfectly well are in place for our best interests. How often do we offer up lame excuses to God for His blocking the road we are determined to barrel down? When God interrupts our plans, do we stomp our foot or swear or attempt sweet-talking God into taking our incredible maturity into account before He puts the final decision down on that road block?
The difference here – the place where this analogy stops – is that God’s rules don’t evolve like the guidelines set forth by the MPAA, Congress or company policies. People only use that word to disguise their true intention, to belittle the God of the Universe and to exalt self.
Dangerous business if you ask me.
Not all rules are or have been, historically speaking, good. The bad ones, however, have been man-made. And have you ever noticed how many man-made rules there are? God only set down ten – and every single one for our benefit. And to make it even simpler, He summed those ten up in two – Love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, mind and strength and Love your neighbor as yourself. Those rules were definitely not made to be broken – but to protect and guide and prosper you. And, to set you free.
Happy Monday, Dry Ground friends!
(photo by