By Alan Delery

Take a moment and think about your favorite childhood game or activity? 

When I reflect on this question, two answers usually come to mind. If you are reading this post and grew up in New Orleans in the 1970’s, you are familiar with  my answers. One is called “Cool Can” and the other is “Jailbreak.” Cool Can is for another discussion. Today, I want to talk about Jailbreak. I’m not talking about the removal of software restrictions on a phone or an online video game with the same name. 

I’m talking about the outdoor game that I played, during recess, in elementary school. Participants broke up into two teams. (Usually at least 7 members per team.)

There were two designated home bases for  Team A and a designated space for jail that was guarded by Team B.  Team A would run across the yard from one base to the other while members of Team B had to capture them before they got to the other base. In order to catch the player, you had to hold them and say, “1-2-3 jailbreak” before they broke free from your hold. If caught, you were sent to jail. The only way to be freed was for one of your teammates to run and touch you and yell “jailbreak” without being captured themselves. 

From jail, the captured teammates could hold hands to form a line as far as they could towards their base where a teammate was approaching to free them.The game was over when every player on Team A was captured and put in jail. 

This was a dangerous game that was often banned by the school, but well worth the injury or torn clothes when played. Over 40 years later anyone who played the game can vividly remember an encounter where they ran over a classmate or had their bell rung. 

One classmate, when reminiscing on this game  years later, described it as a right of passage for the boys who played. 

You may be asking yourself what does this story have to do with peace and justice which my posts are generally about. Hopefully I got your attention to listen to what I have to say next and then you will understand.

I published a book about my reflection as a peacemaker. After elementary school, I eventually went on to college and majored in Criminal Justice. I was originally interested in being a police officer. Halfway through my undergraduate studies, I had an encounter with someone who questioned me about my faith in God and my salvation.

While they didn’t use this exact language then, It was like they revealed to me that I was imprisoned by my own sin and needed someone to “jailbreak” me.  As they talked, it was like I stretched my hand out to Jesus and was set free. Just like in the game, it then became my turn to free others. 

This encounter changed my career path and upon graduating in Criminal Justice with a concentration in corrections, I went to Bible school and later became an ordained minister through Last Say Prison Ministry. I’ve done jail and prison ministry, youth ministry and have ministered in various other capacities. 

The book that I referenced earlier was written as a tool to encourage others in their walk as a peacemaker.  The name of the book is, “He Called Me Little Rock: Reflections of a Peacemaker.”

I was recently asked, “Who is this book for?” While this wasn’t my original response, this book was written for anyone desiring to be a peacemaker. Since peace begins with each one of us then, this book is for you.

I invite you to purchase my book on Amazon, join me in one of my book readings or peacemaker retreats.

If you choose the book reading, then I am just asking for 4 hours of your time.  Eight- ½ hour virtual sessions over the course of 2 weeks. Just give me 4 hours of your life and then you can go about your business.

During these times of political and social division, we need to slow down and reflect on our lives and what our role is in fostering peace and freedom.

In memory of your favorite childhood game, I am inviting you and your friends to participate in a spiritual jailbreak that has an immediate and eternal outcome. 

Reach out to me if you’re in.

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