Wednesday, November 15, 2006


Boy! It is nasty out there! Blustery! Wet! Cold! Needless exclamation point!
There's nothing like the wrath of winter to put the fear of God in ya! I heard plenty of people calling upon his name out there today.

Taught Bible today at Springfield Christian School 'til lunch, when the regular teacher returned. Those students who were disappointed that I wouldn't be teaching their class that afternoon were mollified at the news that I'd be teaching Lit all day Friday. As a substitute that only comes in occasionally, I've managed to maintain a moderate cool factor. Anyone who knows me well can testify that I'm fairly pleasant in small doses, but become grating over the long term.
Of course, the "cool factor" may just be the male teacher thing. The students seem to like the other guys who are there full-time. ("And why shouldn't they?" exclaim embittered feminists, "Men are just like children!"
The 7th graders have been watching "Jonah: A Veggie Tales Movie" the last several class sessions. Sure, it takes some liberties with the text (mostly silly side-story additions,) but at least they get the ending right!
Just as an experiment, the next time you're at a religious book store or some other place that has plenty of children's Bible story books, check out the books on the story of Jonah. Almost without fail, they will end with the repentance of the Ninevites and ignore Jonah's response, or they will assert that Jonah repents of his bad attitude. (i.e. "Jonah changed his mind. He was happy that God forgave the people.") The point of the book is that Jonah is angry about God's grace. As they sing at the end of "Jonah: AVTM": Jonah was a prophet, but he really never got it!" God, then, has the final word in the story, with the ending really being "How will you respond?" When Bob the Tomato asks, "Didn't Jonah learn anything?", the wisened pirate played by Pa Grape replies, "The real question is 'Did you?'"
It's the same with the story of the "prodigal son" in the New Testament. Oftimes we tell that the "lost" son returned home and there was great rejoicing, "Yay," and leave it there incomplete. As with Jonah, Jesus' parable ends with the older son angry about the grace and mercy shown the profligate by his father. And, as in the book of Jonah, the last word is in the mouth of God, pictured by the father. "He was lost but now he's found. He was dead, but now he's alive. We must rejoice." Finally, as with Jonah, the story ends with an implied question for the Pharisees and rabbis: "God is thrilled when the lost is found; why aren't you?"

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