You Are A Good Egg

Willy Wonka Theology

Good Egg

You Are A Good Egg (Willy Wonka Theology)

By Beth Demme

Remember Veruca Salt? The spoiled brat who got to tour Willy Wonka’s chocolate factory? Her tour ends in the Golden Egg Room. She runs all over the room, having a fit and making a mess because Wonka won’t sell her father a Golden Goose. Her tirade ends when she stands on an Eggdicator. The needle swings all the way to “Bad Egg,” and WHOOSH! Down she goes toward the incinerator. (Watch it here.)

Veruca Salt was a bad egg.

Jesus never tells a parable about a bad egg, but he does talk about bad seed.

In Matthew 13:24‑30, 36-40, Jesus compares the kingdom of heaven to a field where a farmer sows good seed, but an enemy sneaks in at night and sows bad seed. The farmer sows wheat, but the enemy sows the seed for a bearded darnel. A bearded darnel (or tare, or noxious weed, or thistle, depending on your translation) is a plant that looks almost identical to wheat until it’s fully matured.

The field workers offer to pull up the weeds, but the farmer says, “No; in gathering the weeds you would uproot the wheat along with them. Let both of them grow together until the harvest.” (Matthew 13:29-30)

We Christians like to think of ourselves as the good seed, and maybe we are, but I think we also try to be the field hands.  We want to go in and pull up the weeds in the kingdom of God. Jesus tells us in this parable quite directly, “that’s not your job.” He says he and the angels will sort all of that out at the right time. (Matthew 13:39)

Jesus says to let bad eggs, like Veruca Salt and worse, mix with the good eggs.

Finding Dory and Me, Sometimes I Forget God Is Waiting

Woman_With_Map

By Beth Demme

SPOILER ALERT: This blog post gives away the plot in the movie Finding Dory. I don’t think it will ruin the movie for you, but please consider this fair warning.

I don’t think Finding Dory was intended to teach me something about God, but as sometimes happens, it did anyway. I realize this admission reveals how unsophisticated I truly am, but if we’ve known each other for more than a minute this won’t be new information.

Finding Dory reminded me that sometimes I go off on my own and get lost, but God never gives up on me.

Little Dory suffers from “short-term remembry loss.” Her parents are model parents—kind and patient, even as they watch their child struggle with a simple task. They never get frustrated with Dory’s inability to remember, but they do worry she will get lost. They teach her several coping strategies, including how to find her way home by following a trail of shells.

One day little Dory accidentally swims away from her parents and, eventually, forgets them. As time passes, she forgets that she has forgotten. A year after helping Nemo’s father, Marlin, find Nemo and return him to the reef, Dory begins to remember her family. Pieces of memory propel her on a journey across the ocean to find her family, and herself.

After an hour or so of adventures, Dory finds her parents—both her Dad AND her Mom (thanks Disney for not killing off the mom this time!). Dory discovers they have been waiting for her, counting on her to return to them. Dory was gone for years, but her parents never gave up hope that she would remember and return to them. As they waited, they created longer and longer trails of shells pointing back to their house.

In the most poignant moment of the movie, the camera pans out and shows miles of shell trails all leading back to Dory’s parents. The trails radiate out from their house like the points on a star or the rays of the sun. Every trail points back to the center, back to home, back to the place where someone who loves Dory is waiting for her.

My life is a network of trails, all pointing back to the God who loves me.[Twitter Link]

Can I Be Overwhelmed With Joy?

The Wise Men Got Lost On the Way to Joy

Joyful Children Wise Men

I’ve had an epiphany! Actually, we’re all having another Epiphany.

It’s more than a sudden inspiration; it’s a season on the church calendar. It’s the time of year we celebrate the arrival of the Wise Men.

The Wise Men were astrologers. They were star and sky readers.

A star led the Wise Men to Jesus, but if you read the story closely, it seems like they got lost along the way.

I can relate to that. Sometimes I, too, get lost on the way to God.

Advent Is A Season to Celebrate Waiting

By Beth Demme

Celebrate Waiting

It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas / Everywhere you go / Take a look in the Five and Ten / Glistening once again / With candy canes and silver lanes aglow.

When it’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas, Advent has arrived! We could sing “it’s beginning to look a lot like Advent,” but it isn’t quite as melodic.

It’s beginning to look a lot like Advent / Every church the same / Take a look in the Sanctuary / Glistening once again / With Chrismon tree and wre-eaths a hanging.

No, definitely not as melodic.

The Thanksgiving Everything Changed

By Beth Demme

give thanks

It was just before Thanksgiving 2002. My husband and I followed the pediatrician down the hall, our footsteps echoing off the undecorated walls and hard floors. We were inside a maternity/pediatric hospital in a small coal-mining town in southwest Russia.

The doctor led us to a bright room, with a big window, three cribs and one precious 9-month old baby boy. As soon as we walked in, he stood up in the corner of his crib and looked at us through huge brown eyes.

The doctor may have spoken to him in Russian. I don’t remember. She may have spoken to me through our translator. I don’t remember.

All I remember is walking over to his crib and scooping him up. I immediately spoke to him in cooing mother tones I had never uttered before. I held him close. I studied his face.

How to Find True Joy

By Beth Demme

Refinement Process @BethDemme

What do you know about gold? My knowledge of gold is mainly this: it makes pretty jewelry, like the wedding ring I’ve worn for nearly twenty years.

It turns out there’s a lot more to gold than its beauty.

Gold starts as a rock in the ground. It gets mined —cut— out of the ground. Picture bulldozers and pick axes. The rock pulled from the ground is pulverized into a powder and either roasted at an insanely hot temperature or dissolved in a cyanide solution.

A few years ago my family visited a mining museum in British Columbia. The museum was at an abandoned, but maintained, mine. We rode an old mining train and toured the sorting facilities. There was a lot of great sciencey stuff, but my main takeaway was this:

How to Write a Spiritual Autobiography

By Beth Demme

Woman writing in journal

A Spiritual Autobiography is the story of your own life and how God has been present in it. It can include your journey in, and out of, organized religion and all things spiritual.

Writing your Spiritual Autobiography is an opportunity to identify specific experiences of God and to reflect on how those experiences have impacted you.

It’s basically the story of your personal journey with God.

Since 2013, I’ve been enrolled in Sewanee University’s Education for Ministry program. We start each year by sharing our Spiritual Autobiographies. We don’t share our entire life stories, we each take about ten minutes and share a summary of how God has been at work in our lives through the years. 

The Notice the Beauty Challenge

task_oriented_woman_on_laptop

By Beth Demme

I tend to be a task-oriented person. I like to have a plan for each day or at least a list of things I hope to accomplish.

For some people, the perfect Saturday involves waking up late and then “going with the flow.” To me, that sounds like the worst Saturday ever.

Days like that feel wasted to me.

At night as I brush my teeth, getting ready for bed, I like to summon up three or four (or fourteen) tasks I’ve accomplished that day.