Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Who is Grace?

Rachel is my only  daughter.  I love her passionately; beyond reason. But there are times when she is monstrously disobedient. One time, our family visited Disney World.  I told Rachel to keep her little stuffed rabbit in the stroller.  "Honey, you love your little rabbit, you would hate for her to get lost.  So leave her in the stroller."

But do you think a 4 year old is going to listen to her daddy on a subject like that?  No.  So after touring all of Tomorrowland, and Frontierland together as a family, Rachel discovers that her rabbit has come up missing. Shrieks and wails ensued; travesty and calumny issued forth from my daughter. I patiently explain the laws of cause and effect. I demonstrate that this is the natural and logical consequence of disobedience.  More shrieks, wailing, gnashing of teeth and bitter tears. I look at the mother; her eyes are telling me logic is not working. 

So I, the father, go on an illogical, irrational, all-out search for the lost bunny. I searched on the Goofy Roller coaster.  I search by the juice stand, and in the gazebo where we took a picture with Pluto. I turned Disney World upside down to find Rachel’s rabbit. Until I FINALLY I found that rascal rabbit, tucked behind the sewing machine in Minnie's House, and I apprehended her and brought her back to where she belonged. 

I gave the rabbit back to Rachel, this rabbit who had been lost but now was found, who had been dead, but now was alive.  And I said, “Rachel, do you know why Daddy did what he did?  It was because of the name of your rabbit.  What’s your rabbit’s name Rachel?  

Through the tears she said it, “Daddy her name is Grace.”  That’s right Rachel.  Her name is Grace. Daddy told you not to leave her, daddy told you the right thing to do but you disobeyed.  But Rachel, grace is getting what you don’t deserve. Grace is unmerited favor.  Rachel, never forget, your daddy loves you, and when you least deserve it, you will receive grace.”

So who is Grace? Grace is more than a rabbit, grace is a father. Grace is a Father who because of His illogical, boundless love for all His children patiently gives instructions for our safety. And when we ignore them, and we all do, He embarks on an illogical, irrational search for us in the midst of our poor choices. I am so glad Grace is a person, because I spend more time lost than I have any right to...but each time, I get not what I deserve, but instead I get the gift. The gift of grace. Man I love that rascally rabbit.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

God Reads All Tweets

I read an article yesterday from Relevant magazine that slammed Facebook, Twitter, and MySpace and other social networking sites because they are inherently narcissistic. That is, they invite people to blather on about meaningless details in their lives only a mother could consider important. And I have to admit as I read the ubiquitous "25 Things About me and my toenails" or "How well do you really know John Doe? on Facebook, I question the ultimate micro-niche audience that must exist for these stories.
But then I wondered, what makes us want to tell all these details to random strangers, or at least to a gaggle of folk who haven't been close to us since elementary school? Is it really narcissism, or is it something different? I think (to make a gross generalization) people want intimacy. They want to be known. They have a legitimate desire for others to know them through the mundane details of their lives. We all have a hunch that we should matter, and that isn't narcissism.

To be fair, our celebrity culture, with it's paparazzi-driven obsession over the details of famous people's lives invites self-worship. We all want to be famous, even if it is for fifteen minutes (or 140 characters) of fame. But social networking sites turn that trend on it's ear, making celebrities their own journalists. Twitter puts the power back into the hands of celebrities themselves, giving them the power to release what details they desire. It's authentic self-disclosure, rather than a breathless "scoop."

So how did we develop this hunch of importance? If we are but an accident of randomly arranged atoms, self-importance is the ultimate hoax. But if we're more than that, if someone or something made us, and cares about us, then it makes complete sense. One metaphor in Scripture for God is that of Father. I'm a dad, so I know a bit about that experience. Good dad's watch over their kids. We are familiar with the constant refrain, "Look dad!" No detail of my childrens' day is too miniscule for my attention. They're my kids, so I care.

God has that kind of watch care over us. He is a Father who cares about every detail of our lives, no matter how mundane.

Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? Yet not one of them will fall to the ground apart from the will of your Father. And even the very hairs of your head are all numbered. So don't be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows.

(Matthew 10:29-31)

I find it interesting that the logo page for Twitter includes a small sparrow, presumably Tweeting away in his tree. The truth of the Scripture is that God listens to all her tweets, and cares for each sparrow's fall. That's encouraging to me, because it means my hunch of importance is confirmed in a Father who listens and is always interested and who always cares.

What I'm trying to say is, God reads all Tweets. Thank goodness, because I don't.