Sunday, May 04, 2008

The Gospel according to the Sneetches

Unfortunately, most adults do not read Dr. Seuss. If we did, the world would be a better place.

In the Sneetches, we hear the story of two groups of Sneetches - those who have stars on their bellies and those who do not. The star bellied Sneetches felt they were privileged to have their stars and actively separated themselves from those who did not have "stars upon thars". They took pride in the thought that their stars made them superior.

Seuss understood the human condition. He understood our need to create an outside group. He knew this to be at the root of what ails us.

Yesterday, my family had the opportunity to attend the baptism of the daughter of some very dear friends of ours. We are not LDS, but this was a time for friends and family to come together in support of this young daughter of God. It was a blessing to be there and my wife made use of tissues on several occasions.

It unfortunately, for my wife and I, ended a little off key. At the very end two people in leadership stood to declare their testimony. This is the point where they state that the Mormon church is the true church. My wife and I both noted later that it was a shame that this had occurred. Up until that point we were together as a community in celebration. With those words came the reminder that my family did not belong. You are in this building, but you are an outsider.

It reminded me of an incident that had happened in my own church recently. An individual was concerned about my theological views (I am iffy on points like the trinity and biblical inerrancy). In this person's estimation, my views should lock me out of certain church functions. Not holding the correct views means I am an outsider. I am in the building, but I don't belong.

In the Sneetches, the star bellied lord their position over the non-star bellied. The non-star bellied, in their insecurity, try to get stars so as to be acceptable. Did getting the stars make them acceptable?


The star bellied Sneetches, like us, found new ways to create the outside group. In their world, there WILL be an outside group.

I think Jesus showed a very different view of in and out groups. If there was an outside group, he jumped in and left the separatists to themselves.

I have been discovering Jesus' example in that regard to be worth following. The more I break down walls of separation and remove barriers to others, the more free I feel.

Galatians 5:13
You, my brothers, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the sinful nature ; rather, serve one another in love.


Anonymous said...

Andrew your comments have made me think and question why I believe what I believe. Guess what! Have I, as a matter of fact I feel stronger about my foundational beliefs even more so. Keep asking the hard questions and bringing up the discrepancies. As far as the person who feels you need to have a star on your chest, don't let him/her sweat you, those kind are usually bullies and after a bit of time they go away as their group keeps making up new rules for its members where only a few can or will belong. (but they're so right about themselves)

Redlefty said...

Excellent writing, Andrew.

You and I are always connected and you will always be my brother, even if your beliefs change over time.

I can guarantee you that my beliefs will continue to evolve as well!

Carrie said...

This is excellent writing! I am more convinced than ever that it is by writing and wriitng often that one gets better and better. You are a great writer and it is exciting to have watched your growth overtime. The Sneetches is one of my favorite Dr. Seuss stories and it was a good example to use in your writing piece. Also, you included personal connections and tied it all together. Thanks for sharing...

Andrew said...

"Anon" - Mr. B you are da'man!

Red - Thanks Bro! I love the connections I am developing through blogging, I just wish the distance did not prohibit goin and grabbin a beer in real time once in awhile.

Carrie - That compliment means a lot! It is funny that at one time writing was a drudgery for me- now I do it for pure pleasure and as a needed outlet.

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