Pastoral Musings from Rain City

it's about 'what is church?' it's about whether 'emergent' is the latest Christian trend or something more substantial. it's musing on what it means to live the city, in America, in community, intergenerationally, at this time in history...

Monday, February 25, 2008

Lessons from a Killer Cat

The cat came downstairs while I was writing the other evening. I was busy typing so I didn’t bother to look up, but heard her whining, like she was sick or something. When I finished my sentence I looked over to see that she had some sort of creature in her mouth. The huntress had conquered and she was displaying her prey! She spit it on the ground and begin to purr, proud of her capture. Somehow though, the ‘beanie baby’ tag around the neck of the miniature Canadian goose took some of the fun out of the kill for me. She was prancing and purring as if she’d actually done something worthwhile, but the reality was that she’d used all her cunning and courage to capture a few patches of clothe stuffed with peas. Indeed, our cat, now nearly 4 years old, has been fully domesticated. I offered her some fish this evening from my dinner plate and she turned her nose up at it like is was just so much junk food. She prefers ‘kitty mix’ or whatever is the name of the sterile cereal nonsense we buy from the store.

This domesticating process is at the same time both comical and sobering. Comical because her finely honed instincts for survival have become so tamed that she gets and adrenalin rush from ‘killing’ a beanie baby; sobering because this ball of fur sleeps as a living reminder of how easily we adapt to creature comforts and in so doing, forfeit the adventures that ought to be ours in Christ, if we’ll be say yes more often.

Jesus spoke of this when he said, “I have come that you might have LIFE”. He’s talking about walking on water, and going into the world to bless and serve friends, neighbors, and enemies. He’s talking about living with arms and eyes wide open to receiving all that God has to give through honest conversations, creation, confession, and celebration. He’s talking about living generously and watching our own provision come in unmistakably powerful ways; going places we’d not go without His prompting, and doing things that are to the edges of our comfort zones, and just a little bit more.

It’s this kind of living that creates in Paul the apostle the clear sense that he’s not adequate to live the life to which he’s called. He needs the strength of another to be in and through him what he knows he’s unable to be on his own.

It’s too bad when, because of our creature comforts and addictions to security, we choose instead to eat cereal and hunt beanie babies. We’ve settled, I’ve settled, for far less than the life Christ intends me to embrace, more times than I care to mention. I’m not sure how we know when we’ve ‘settled’ in this way. For me, reading through the gospels and seeing both Jesus’ invitation to the disciples and their responses to him usually shakes me awake, and rekindles a desire to ‘really live’ rather than fall passively into the conformist, comfortable ways that society, yes even Christian society, imposes. It’s His life and story that pushes me out – into relationships with neighbors, into an investment of time into my city, into the challenge of engagement with those whose world and story are different than mine. This is stuff of which real life is made.



At 27/2/08 14:34, Blogger Kristi said...

Ha ha. She's really sold out, that cat. An apt parable, I must say.

At 28/2/08 14:05, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Nice to see what a fine writer you've become, Dick. I'm so proud of the path your life's followed. I hope that Donna's doing well, too. I haven't set foot in Seattle for decades...nor Fresno...but I retain so many happy memories.


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