Saturday, January 29, 2005

Roll Over, Play Dead

Do you feel distant from God? Do you often look at your dog and wonder, ‘Boy, he seems so content. I bet his relationship with God is going great. I wish I could be more like him.”

If so, I’ve got a book for you: Dog Psalms: Prayers My Dogs Have Taught Me. If you’re like me, when you look at a dog you see a creature obsessed with humping, eating its own feces and inappropriately licking itself in front of company. Luckily for us, author Dr. Herbert Brokering looks at dogs and sees creatures that can teach us how to have a deeper relationship with God.

Still think dogs are filthy creatures completely unsuitable for use as spiritual metaphors, never fear, Dr. Brokering has a companion book, Cat Psalms: Prayers My Cats Have Taught Me. Read prayers written in the voices of different cats as well as prayers “in which the human spirit speaks of its cat-like nature to God.” ( Product Info.)

I know on the surface this all sounds a bit crazy. I would never look at household pets and think of ways to better pray to God. But thankfully we have Dr. Brokering to delve below the surface of sane human reason to bring us a deeper picture of our own spirituality as portrayed by our furry friends.

Before you write him off as another burned-out Timothy Leary follower, remember that Dr. Brokering is the “Leonardo DaVinci of the Prairies.” What does that mean? I don’t really know, but it sounds like someone I can trust.

I can’t wait for the third installment, Gerbil Revelations: Lessons My Gerbils Have Taught Me About the Apocalypse (with a forward by Richard Gere).

Thanks to my friend (and former Christian retail coworker) Beth for the product info.

Tuesday, January 18, 2005

Popsicle Stick Crosses Will Save The World

A couple in my church, Ben and Alexandra Pierre, recently gave birth to their first son, Philippe. All was well until a few weeks into his life it was discovered he had Hydrocephalus. He basically had too much fluid on the brain. Philippe survived, but any developmental damage will only be discovered as he matures.

After some recuperation time, Philippe and his parents returned to church. During the offertory time, the children were brought downstairs so they could be with their parents during communion. As they entered, each one of them was holding a little popsicle stick cross they had made and personally decorated.

As they walked in, their teacher paraded them over to Philippe where each child handed their cross to Alexandra. Each cross represented the prayers the kids, and the church, had prayed to God on behalf of baby Philippe. You could see the emotion washing over her.

Later, Alexandra came forward to receive communion, holding Philippe in her arms. The person administering the bread was John Fugate, an elder in the church and Philippe’s doctor. He placed his hand on Philippe’s head and prayed a blessing over him. I’m not being poetic when I say tears streamed down Alexandra’s face.

Jesus was always quick to defend children. And while he was making a point about faith, these children showed me the true impact the church can have in the world. Alexandra’s reality was changed forever. God reached into her life and touched her in a very profound way through a group of children and a bunch of popsicle stick crosses.

We’re not going to save the world by taking back Washington. We’re not even going to save the world with our beautiful sermons. We will save the world by taking the time to become intimately involved in the lives of those around us; taking the time to hurt as they hurt, laugh as they laugh, and showing them hope in a God who is there, even when it seems like nothingness and pain are the only realities we can comprehend.

Wednesday, January 5, 2005

When It's Time To Change, You've Got To Rearrange

I am afraid that my time in the magical world of Christian retail has come to an end. I was offered a part-time job at my church, and I made the jump.

This blog will still exist. I’ll still make fun of the Christian culture, but I envision this space growing to encompass more general discussions of faith and culture along with critiques of bumper stickers. This was bound to happen anyway. You can make fun of Joel Osteen’s hair for only so long before you get bored.

I believe this change will be positive. It’s like when Good Morning Miss Bliss became Saved By The Bell. We all cried at the departure of Hayley Mills as the lovably kooky Miss Bliss. But in return, we were given Tiffani-Amber Thiessen as Kelly Kapowski. If that’s not divine providence, I don’t know what is.