Playing cards have had a bad reputation in the past. Certain Christian sects believed they were Satan’s soldiers which brought people onto the road to hell. Though some people misuse cards to cheat unskilled gamblers, my father proved that these maligned pieces of card stock could have a beneficial use.
When Diane and I were young, Dad taught us how to play blackjack. As we sat at the kitchen table, he dealt the cards. Then we examined our hands to see if they added up to twenty-one. I remember well the agony of getting an amount like seventeen. Should I ask for another card or keep what I have? Invariably, I would receive a face card and end up with a total of twenty-seven when I asked for one. When I decided to keep what I had, Diane or Dad would usually have a higher score than I.
The game helped us well with our arithmetic but it was also fun. Other card games, such as snap, helped us learn relative values of the different sets. It was also a way that Diane and I could bond with our father. Because he was an alcoholic, we didn’t see much of him. Those times when we did, we made the most of them.
When my parents sent me to Jericho Hill School for the Deaf and Blind when I was seven years old, I felt glad that we had been provided with playing cards. I taught the boys in my dorm how to play blackjack and we had hours of fun with them.
Only when I was a teenager did I learn just how supposedly evil playing cards was considered to be by certain sects. It seemed as ridiculous as their prohibition regarding dancing and rock music. I believed that those activities were neutral and it was only people with wicked plans who turned them into avenues for evil.
Sadly, certain folks still blame the tools for their misuse. For example, a gun can be used to bring down game so a family could eat. That same weapon could be used in a murder. Cars could be used to bring an injured person to the hospital or for vehicular homicide. My use of the Citizens Band radio and the Internet has been helpful and fun, yet some Christians worried about those things corrupting me. Even having my hair long and wearing bell-bottom jeans became cause for concern among the elders of a house church I attended.
I wrote extensively about that aberrant congregation in How I Was Razed: A Journey from Cultism to Christianity. It’s the testimony of the heavenly Father’s gentle guidance of my life and his rescue of my soul from bitterness. Read more about it at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Virtual Bookworm Publishers.
My previous paperbacks can be found at the Bruce Atchison’s books page.