Saturday, May 30, 2009

I have several things that I want to write about, but I'm not sure exactly where to start, so I'm going to sidetrack briefly and post something unrelated, that I've been meaning to post for over a year now. It's nothing spectacular, just my two favorite stories. Or parables. Or "illustrations," as we used to call them when we were "helping" my dad with his sermons. which I believe I will relay with no comment.

A Baptist preacher is sitting on the roof of a house during a flood. It's quite a flood, and the water is rising rapidly. The preacher is praying loudly in a voice meant to carry, "Oh, great and loving God, look down on me, a poor sinner, and have mercy! Save me from the terrible waters of this flood!" A man in a canoe comes by, and stops to pick him up. But the preacher waves him off. "Don't worry about me, God will save me!" the preacher shouts. A few hours later, the water has reached the roofline. A woman in a motor boat comes by and stops to pick him up. But he waves her off, crying loudly, "Don't worry about me, God will save me!" The water continues to rise, until finally it is lapping at his feet. About this time the Coast Guard comes by, and stops to pick up him up, but the preacher waves them off. "Don't worry, God will save me!" he calls after them as the boat motors away. And he continues to pray loudly as the water inches up. Finally, he drowns. When he gets to heaven, he stands at the pearly gates with his hands on his hips and says to St. Peter, "What happened? My faith was strong! I prayed! Why didn't God save me?" And St. Peter says, "What were you waiting for? we sent a guy in a canoe! we sent a woman in a motor boat! we sent the Coast Guard!"

The other story is, I believe, Hindu, and probably everyone has heard it. But it's worth repeating.

Three blind men stand before an elephant. They have never been near an elephant before, although they have heard it is a fearsome beast. The first man touches the elephant's tusk. It is smooth and hard and cold. And curved. The man thinks, "Ahh, an elephant must be solid, and long and smooth and as hard as a diamond!" The second man reaches out and touches the elephant's hide. It seems to be tough material, pebbled and rough, and is warm to the touch. "Ahh, an elephant must be made out of armor, hard and leathery! He must be nearly invincible!" The third man reaches out and touches the end of the elephant's tail. "Ahh," he thinks to himself, "The elephant is not big and tough at all! He is soft and feathery! He is like a brush!" Were any of the blind men entirely right? were any of them entirely wrong?

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