Monday, December 21, 2009

Green Eggs and . . . a Jewish Carpenter? or, What I Got Out of a Facebook Quiz

At various times in my life I've had people who aren't particularly enamoured of Jesus say things like, "Do you really have to try so hard to find Jesus in everything?"

No. I don't. It just kind of happens, I'm afraid. Like last week when I randomly took a "Dr. Seuss Personality Test"on facebook. First of all, let me say that you should never take a facebook quiz too seriously. This one, for example, only asked five questions, and I'm not sure how they related to any Dr. Seuss characters at all, actually. Secondly, if I were going to really do this scientifically (?), I should probably take all the other Dr. Seuss quizzes online, just to see if they match up. There are quite a few of them, I've seen. But . . . I'm not going to bother.

Still, though, when it turned out that, according to this quiz, "I am Sam--Sam I am," and that cute little short guy with the sign and the plate appeared on my profile, I thought, "Yeah! That's me! Sam-I-am!" Well, except for the short part.

Check it out. Here's Sam. He's all stoked because he's got something he thinks everybody would (or, at any rate, should) love. He doesn't give the impression of thinking he's better than anyone. He's just so enthusiastic about green eggs and ham he can't let up until his friend/innocent bystander/person-that-doesn't-really-like-him-much tries them. He doesn't seem to realise that, to an onlooker or an outsider, such a dish looks at the very least sketchy, with any inherent delight being, to that perspective, indiscernible.

Not to be discouraged, Sam tries to "frame" his green eggs and ham in ways that might appeal more to his resistant friend. The two characters, now thrown together under more and more bizarre and extreme circumstances, continue their back-and-forth for several more pages. At the point when the train has driven off a cliff, the boat has sunk, and both Sam, his victim and an entire menagerie of animals and other characters are floundering in the water, the poor beleaguered green-eggs-and-ham-avoider decides that he will try the dish just to get Sam off his case. Then--joy of all joy and surprise of all surprises!--he likes them! Sam is vindicated! Green eggs and ham really are delightful! They're so great that the former hater doesn't even worry about swallowing his pride along with the green breakfast and whole-heartedly thanks Sam-I-Am for, as wikipedia calls it, "his persistence."

I dunno. It kind of reminds me of my life . . . a little . . . ? Here I am, both suddenly and gradually delighted and overwhelmed by the knowledge that, messed up as I was and still easily am, God Himself came here to join in my life and to sustain me through it. He came to be my life, and though life with and through and by Him can often be alarming, I also wouldn't (by His grace) have it any other way. And I just know that He came to be life to everybody, and I just want them to realise it.

So sometimes I can get a little annoying. I'll try to be "all things to all people" like the Apostle Paul, sometimes even to the point of ridiculousness, and sometimes even to the point of some suffering and inconvenience. But I still think that, though they may "swallow" the whole thing differently than I do, that the real source of life for anybody--anybody--is Jesus. And so . . . it's not that I want to be annoying. I just want my friends to experience how worth it this is, in spite of the difficulties and the sometimes sketchy-looking nature of what I'm trying to share. Right now, I guess I'm still pushing green eggs and ham on people in boxes and houses and trains and boats, but one of these days I really hope someone--or a lot of someones--will decide that . . . well look. I don't even care if they decide they want me off their case. I just hope they see that Jesus is for them--and that at the end of the day they'll thank somebody.


Elizabeth said...

I like this. And I'm like you... I find little spiritual analogies in every day occurrences like facebook quizzes as well! =)

Andrew said...

Your Sam-I-Am comment gave me a bit of inspiration. Let me give an overly long introduction.

I read a few of your recent posts, and felt I needed something to say, but I couldn't quite figure out what it was. I've been reading a bit of Wittgenstein lately, so my mind has been occupied with the philosophy of language. (I'll leave out any references to 'logos' for now, at any rate) So, I couldn't quite grasp what it was that my mind wanted to articulate, so I started thinking about Christianity itself and all of those lengthy discussions we had years ago, hoping that some comment would coalesce from the aether of my thoughts.

I was thinking that I'd comment that your thoughts on hell were very sophisticated (though that thought was months old, originating back when I had been studying gnosticism), but I began perusing literature on the nature of the trinity.

I never understood the trinity. I always believed that the trinity was a lame excuse for putting other gods before God. To me, the trinity was polytheistic. Anyway, I browsed the internet for a bit, and didn't find much useful on the subject, so I returned to your blog, ready to quit.

I am Sam. The Story in a single metaphor. I (Θεὸς) am (τὸ πνεῦμα) Sam (Λόγος).

So, there you have it. I could analyze my statement, but that would likely take several pages, at least, so I'll just leave it at face value. I've written a lot already. I still don't know if I believe it, but at least I understand.

Jennwith2ns said...

Elizabeth--Glad I'm not alone. ;)

Andrew--I'm not entirely sure I know what you're saying, but it *sounds* like you're implying somehow my recent posts have helped you understand the Trinity . . . ?! I'm sort of stunned, and sort of intrigued, and sort of wanting to say, "If this is the case, that would be the Holy Spirit who did it, really." ;)

You should unpack your statement in an email, maybe--although I suspect it may become clearer to me over time all by itself.

dave grosser said...

Jenn, you are so Sam. Wow. I just love this post to death. And I love you, and I want to be Sam like you are Sam.

Sam you are.

revjas said...

Ditto to what Dave said, Sam!!!

holymoly said...

I have read this book dozens of times, never considering the parallel of 'selling' green eggs & ham to witnessing. Great perspective!

Witnessing really shouldn't be hard work, in my opinion. To me, it isn't a sales pitch or a little pinch on someone's arm. "To Save a Life" gets it right. Witnessing must come from your heart, not from you head, or knowledge (although the more knowledgeable, the better!), but establising a relationship with someone where that person feels you love him/her unconditionally. To some extent, the little expression about witnessing, "and use words if necessary" is a good reminder of where we need to be with those that do not have Jesus in their heart. They need to WANT to have what we have! Kinda like when someone has a really nice car, everyone wants it.... Christians have more than a stupid car, we need to allow people to want what we have by letting them see our hearts!