Most Sundays, I post a brief lesson about the Christian life and scripture. I don’t preach. My goal is to understand what the writer intended to say, and what the hearer heard. I leave the what it really means to others, smarter than me, and bolder. I can’t write and think about this without bias, and I address it when I see it. I’m comfortable with Catholic, Orthodox, and Protestant theologies, and with some atheist ideals. It was Augustine who said ‘all truth is G’s truth’ and I gladly sup coffee around that campfire. My Christian belief is an expression of faith, not logic, and whatever I glom onto, I hold loose in an open hand.
The Rabbit and the Orange
The rabbit makes me do it. Really.
I have a pet rabbit named Hopalina who lives on our back screened-in-porch. Every time I walk out back – every time – she rushes at me, wanting a banana, some hay, or wanting me to pet her. Who knows: the rabbit mind is an enigma.
West Coast Denn is usually pretty chill, but I’m afraid I’ll step on her or trip over her. So I do what any red-blooded American does and swear at her trying to hurt her feelings enough that she’ll never dart in front of me again. Sometimes, if my hands are full, I invent swear words and threaten to leave the back door open so she can escape and make a fat, tasty meal for a soaring hawk. She doesn’t care a wit and scampers underfoot for more. I feel bad that such rottenness spews from me. She’s just a rabbit.
The whole episode makes me think of my spiritual nemesis Wayne Dyer and one of his favorite teachings.
He starts with an easy question for the crowd, holding up an orange.
“What happens if I squeeze this orange? If I squeeze it really hard, like this?” He does a not very convincing Hanz and Franz imitation. “What will come out?”
The audience hesitates, thinking it’s too simple, that there must be a trick.
“C’mon,” he says, laughing. “What will come out?”
A brave woman takes a stab. “Orange juice?”
“Orange juice.” He looks mystified. “Orange juice comes out, right? What could be more obvious? Orange juice.”
He goes on with the same childlike wondering. “Why?” He shrugs his shoulders. “Why orange juice?”
The audience is stumped again and he answers for them.
“Because that’s what’s inside.”
People bang their fists on their foreheads. “That’s what inside,” they say to their husbands and wives. Dyer looks around the room like he’s hoping for something more.
“So, here’s a question:” The audience doesn’t know it but he’s about to lower the boom. “What comes out of you when you’re squeezed?”
What’s Inside of Me? Or You?
It’s the question that plagues me every time Hoipalina scatters under my feet. It’s the question I should ask when I snap at my wife for having the gall to suggest I put sunscreen on before I mow the lawn. It’s the question you should ask yourself when you revel in learning that Sheila didn’t starve herself last summer but sneaked off to have twenty pounds of fat sucked out.
It’s the question that should never be far from your horizon. Write it on a 3×5 card and carry it with you until you know it by heart. It’s the question that might, for once, reveal to you your propensity to selfishness and greed and sin.
I publish these thoughts each Sunday at 1:35. To receive a reminder email, please follow the site. Sign up in the right hand sidebar.
By way of explanation, I label myself as an agnostic Christian. I attend a Southern Baptist church and am comfortable with Roman Catholic, Orthodox, and all kinds of Protestant thought. For Bibles, I generally use the Jerusalem Bible, the English Standard Version, and the Amplified Bible. A favorite verse is Micah 6:8 where the prophet says:
G has already told you what is right and what to do: do what is right, love loyalty, and walk humbly with G.
The best way to contact me is through email at email@example.com.
Thanks, and I pray that you find some blessing here.