bonar crump

bonar crump
husband - father - reader - runner - picker - grinner - lover - sinner

Thursday, December 8, 2011

The Dude abides...

Okay, this is gonna be a stretch, but I was really inspired by the book I read last night to my daughter at bedtime. She picked it out from the library. I bought her a copy for Christmas 15 minutes after I tucked her in and closed her door.

Storyline: The Princess loses 7 of her 8 prized ponies to a giant. Motorcycle Dude shows up with samurai sword and a Harley. Princess makes golden thread and uses it to pay Dude to protect her remaining pony. Dude fashions invisibility cloak out of golden thread. Princess pumps iron and becomes warrior princess. Both of them use the cloak to defeat the giant. They wind up getting married and having a kid. The end.

Storytellers: It’s a boy and a girl that have been teamed up as part of a class project to collaborate on developing a story together to present to the class.

The girl wants the story to be about the beautiful princess living in a castle with beautiful ponies and a staff of servants.

The boy wants the story to be about a cool mc dude wielding weapons and acting as a hired bodyguard. Also, the boy’s version of the giant was so grotesque that my daughter asked me to cover the giant on the page with my hand while reading from those few pages. You gotta love it!

There are so many ways I can go with this story that I had to write some of them down.

  •  Two seemingly incompatible stories make a much more interesting and valuable collaborative tale.
  • What is valuable to one person isn’t always valuable to another. The Princess valued the ponies. The Dude valued the gold.
  •  The Princess’ giant was just a large man able to pick up a horse in his hand. The Dude’s giant was a hulking monster with rotten smelly teeth and green skin. The boy needs to emphasize how truly terrible the Dude’s giant is in order to fully enhance the Dude’s courage and physical prowess.
  •  Oftentimes, the point of the story is NOT to rescue the ponies, but to build alliances with those that have different skill sets. The ultimate success of the story depends on more than any one player can bring to the situation.
  • In the end, the success turns out to be something entirely unintentional…love.

I thought about me as the Dude and my wife as the Princess. I thought about the people I enjoy being around as the Dude and the people I associate with in Christian settings as the princess. I thought about the “world” as the Giant, the “Bride of Christ” as the Princess, and the victims of human depravity as the ponies. I thought about it all in light of my ongoing quest for the next frontier of Christian faith. But, at the end of the day, I decided that my over-analysis was stripping some of the importance from the story…the artwork.

I miss the art of life too often while dissecting the plot. I miss the value of the pictures. I miss the look on my daughter’s face as she listens to me read the words. I miss that this story is about love.

Anyway, it was a cool story. Especially for a dad that reads endless tales of fairies, princesses, unicorns, and mermaids to his daughter.

Maybe last night’s story could be about me as the Dude and my daughter as the Princess. And, in the end, we both win through the shared experience of a fun and exciting adventure. Yeah, I like that best. We defeated the giant and rescued the ponies! And we all lived happily ever after…or until tomorrow night’s story…

What kinds of things do you miss out on? Do you partner with others that may not share your goals? Which character do you want to be in the story? 

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Santa is bringing a Glock

Well, I agree with everything Jen has to say HERE on principle, but I’d like to offer a dad’s perspective...maybe my coffee had an extra sprinkle of ornery in it today…

I’m pretty sure that Santa is real. Hold on a minute! I’m being serious. I’ve seen him lots of times. I’ve seen art, movies, TV programs, and all sorts of advertisements offering empirical proof of his existence. Besides, I WANT to believe there is a Santa with elves and reindeer and metrosexual fur-topped boots and super-high levels of aggression towards misbehaving children (lump of coal—that’s c.o.l.d.)

I’m just gonna throw this out there and then run from it like softball-pitching a grenade into a small closet—the Santa conspiracy might not have influenced Christianity as much as Christians have inspired it’s nuanced form of our faith. Take away the red jacket, sleigh, and ridiculously frigid base of operations and you have a gray (or is it grey, I can never decide) bearded deity with minions of angels seeking to reward or punish at one specific time based upon external behavioral criteria (which seems to be situational at best) and you have discovered the fundamental belief structure of your “average” mainstream Christian. Take that for what it’s worth…

I want to talk about my dismay and (sometimes) outrage when we Christians decide to dress Santa up with a robe and sandals so that we can understand God. I want to talk about how inconsequential these conspiracies are in light of a robust faith focused on a God that transcends behavior, politics, sexual persuasions, economic status, et al.

I know that Santa exists. He exists as our God analogue. He exists as our watered-down version of I AM.

My 6 year old daughter has been asking me almost every day whether or not Santa is real.

I’ve told her that it’s up to each person to decide whether or not Santa is real. That it’s okay for one person to believe and another to disbelieve. That we respect the believers as well as the unbelievers.

Before you start throwing Bibles and Hymnals let me just say that what I’ve done with Santa in this situation is lump him with the Easter Bunny and Tooth Fairy as a nonstarter. In effect, I’m encouraging her to test out her own beliefs and discover those that bear-out under scrutiny. My belief is that someday we’ll be able to discuss how Santa failed her while Jesus did not. My hope is that instead of Santa being her God analogue, as he was to me, that together we’ll be able to ponder all the ways that Santa is the antithesis of God—that sovereignty cannot be usurped by consumerism, greed, or behavior modification.

I believe in Santa. I’m trying not to, but I’ve been programmed to relate to God the same way that I relate to Santa. It’s in my Christian DNA. I’m gonna keep modeling benevolence, gratitude, respect, and forgiveness in order to “earn jewels for my crown” (can’t even type that without a grimace on my face). I’m gonna keep the discussion open with my daughter about all of the fairies, ghosts, unicorns, and magic of the world. I’m not ready yet to share with her all of the ways that culture is waiting to mug her and steal her innocence and sense of security.

I AM ready to guide her through this maze of BS we’ve inherited instead of squawking at her via a bullhorn from the observational perch.

Now…I know that Jen Hatmaker is absolutely right. None of what I’ve said here is a contradiction or challenge of her blog post. I’ve only recently met Jen, but to meet her is to know that she is a FIERCE momma. And not just with her own kiddos, but with anyone that crosses her path. I find confidence in knowing that a radical like Jen is out there cutting the path for those of us trying to discover our own radical voices.

Maybe I felt a little convicted by her post. I must have felt something because it stuck with me since yesterday.

Call it a contradiction if you want or even hypocrisy if you like, but I’m writing this while sitting 12” from our Christmas tree across the room from our ornately decorated fireplace mantel and listening to Rat Pack Christmas songs via Pandora.

My point? I may have lost it. No, there it is…

I’m far more fearful of trying to define truth for my daughter as she grows up and being found wrong than I am of acting as her consigliere vis-à-vis truth.  

See, dads let the kid hammer nails into a board knowing that eventually there will be a thumb that gets in the way. We’re not evil. We’re just not Mom. And, “for Santa’s sake, don’t tell Mom I let you ride around the block on the back of the Harley or Christmas is cancelled this year and you’ll be WISHING you’d gotten a lump of coal.”

I’m hoping for additional cash this Christmas because I’ve been saving up for a new Glock. How do you even begin to explain THAT to a Jen Hatmaker? It’s impossible! I guess I’ll go back to being radical after the holidays. It’s been a rough year. Forgive me for letting my guard down at this time of year. I’m still trying to figure out why God looks like Santa in a robe to me with the voice of Dean Martin. It’s a very confusing and childlike time of year for me.

Oh, and I always visualize Indiana Jones as the “elf” sent to deliver the lumps of coal…what’s that about!!!