Newsletter - Chips Off The Rock - October 2018
A request was made to see the list of Dr. Seuss’s five quotes offered in a recent children’s story:
Five Lessons from Dr. Seuss:
1. Today you are you, that is truer than true. There is no one alive who is Youer than You.
2. Why fit in when you were born to stand out?
3. You have brains in your head. You have feet in your shoes. You can steer yourself any direction you choose.
4. Be who you are and say what you feel, because those who mind don ‘t matter and those who matter don’t mind.
5. Today I shall behave as if this is the day I will be remembered.
Many of Seuss’s whimsical children’s books contain serious political themes: Yertle the Turtle is a cautionary tale against fascism and dictators ; Horton Hears a Who is a parable about the American occupation of Japan; and The Butter Battle Book criticizes the Cold War and nuclear deterrence. In The Sneetches, his powerful critique of anti-Semitism, members of a group sport stars on their stomachs as a sign of their supremacy and to maintain their oppressive social domination over others. Seuss’s specific use of stars was inspired by the yellow Magen David the Nazis required Jews to wear on their clothing so as to be immediately identifiable as Jews. Even the Cat in the Hat‘s famous red-and-white-striped hat has a political predecessor of the top hat Uncle Sam wore in Seuss’s wartime cartoons.
We all recognize the critique of modern Christmas consumerism in the Grinch story. Seuss was more than a cute storyteller. Likewise, we tend to think that Jesus’ parables are quaint life lessons. But a simple and familiar story like the Good Samaritan had many political implications. In it he challenges the integrity and compassion of the religious and political leaders of his community, The Pharisees viewed Samaritans as an inferior group of people. Making the good guy a Samaritan challenged the Pharisees sense of self-importance. Jesus was a Pharisee. He confronts his own people with their lack of compassion.
Answering the inquiry about who is our neighbor, Jesus introduces the thought that we are all valued by God, no matter who we are. The traveler is not identified with any group. He could have been almost anybody. The expected bad guy turns out to be the good guy. Some scholars believe the parable might have been a true story retold by Jesus to demonstrate the kind of behavior he values in his kingdom.
Do unto others as you would have them do unto you. Love your neighbor as yourself. Jesus. No categories. Only men, women, children, people to be loved. What is the loving response? A person’s a person, no matter how small. Seuss.
Minutes for Mission
May 6, 2018 – Norm Waggy led the congregation in prayer for various people in need around the world. Specifically, we are encouraged to remember the following places where our denomination has ministries, remembering that other Christian denominations and ministries are at work in nearly every country in the world:
-Burundi in West Africa
-The Democratic Republic of Congo
-The Dominican Republic