Thursday, June 10, 2004

My secret little hobby . . .

I've recently picked up a new habit/art form. It goes like this:
1. Find domestic cat (mine, not a neighborhood one)
2. Grab cat
3. Carry cat into guest bathroom of home, and close doors
4. Put cat down
5. Pick up electric grooming razor
6. Grab cat
7. Force cat to lay down
8. Shave cat

O.k., now before anyone calls PETA on me (by the way, my mother-in-law is a PETA member), before anyone calls the intervention hotline to see what to do about their friend in SoCal who likes cutting himself, let me just just say that a)I am not ashamed of what I do, and I may do it again . . . tonight, b)It isn't as bad as it sounds, and c)I have a point in revealing this.

The simple truth is, this cat's hair is out of control. She's actually not a very large cat, but because of her raging fluff, small children have been known to run screaming from our house because they're afraid of "the giant lion" inside. I wouldn't care so much about her hair if she kept it to herself. But she doesn't. No no, she leaves little reminders of herself all over the home. Despite a very clean home kind of upbringing, I was never taught that one should vacuum the house on a twice daily basis, which is essentially what would be required to keep up with the cat. I'm unwilling to do so. Instead, I shave the cat.

The other thing that's important to note here is that the cat has an ear-popping wail. She screams loudly and often during the shaving events. If you were standing on the other side of the door, you would swear I was conducting ritual torture. Am I sick or what?! Actually, no. You see, the cat does make a lot of noise, but both the cat and, more importantly, my body emerge from "the salon" completely unharmed. She does not bite or scratch me, and even while she's wailing, she is free to stand up and walk around every couple of minutes before I make her lie down again. She is not afraid of the buzzing razor. I've never shaved so close that she has bled. The only cruelty inflicted on her is the fact that she truly looks ridiculous when its all over. I think she looks like a cool punk cat, but hey, what do I know?

So what's with all the noise? This cat, like many others in the world, is a control freak. The one and only thing she hates about her hair appointments is that she's locked in the bathroom and cannot go wherever she wants and do whatever she wants. She knows that I have the control and strength to keep her where I want her. And so she screams. Screams like the world is coming to an end.

Here's the point: the church of North America (a.k.a. the Christiean ghetto) is the screaming cat. We scream, we wail when our "rights" are violated. We pitch a fit when the media shows us things we secretly love to watch. We worry when our giving goes down and the budget might not cover the new ten thousand dollar jungle gym we have on order. We get all sorts of nervous because these house churches are growing and running the risk of heretical teachings by not being under our authority. And when God decides to reveal himself in unusual ways by an outpouring of his Spirit, we do everything in our power to study it, quantify it, formulize it, and then bottle it up so that we can take credit for it ourselves, and then sell it to others.

The other day I had a meltdown. I was flipping through a denominational missions magazine, which referenced a "Purpose Driven" something or other. At first, I just rolled my eyes like I always do. Then I looked closer and found that in the middle of a paragraph, right after the words "Purpose Driven" there was a little subtext TM - you know, the trademark symbol. Who do these people think they are? Do they get royalties every time those words are spoken or written? I'm sure they would argue that they're just trying to protect their material from being misused by people who have poor motives or theology or whatever. Who cares? If this stuff was given to you by God, then don't you think he's able to take care of it? And even if you are just "trying to be good stewards," do you really think making money off of other churches is the right thing to do? And if this stuff was really just cleverly invented by you, do you really think you're doing God's Kindgom any favors by selling it? I wish these people would get over themselves.

Obviously that's one example among many of the futile attempts to control life in the Kingdom. But I won't cite others until I first seek to purge my own heart of the need for control. I bear my own guilt in trying to contain and predict and strategize how I want God to move. Maybe God isn't interested in all that. Maybe he just wants to bless me with his love and give me good gifts as he sees fit. Maybe he just wants me to be faithful.

Next time I shave the cat, I'll keep all this in mind. And I'll try to remember to take a picture and post it here for the world to see.


posted by Steve at 7:17 AM
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spirit farmer data

I'm Steve Lewis. This used to be my blogging home. My online home is now at When this blog was my active online home, I lived in Seattle. Now I live in London, UK. I follow Jesus (poorly most of the time), worship simply, read a lot, watch culture, go to school, listen to music, write, enjoy art, and drink a lot of coffee.
e-mail me:

seattle spots

victrola coffee
zoka coffee
university of washington
church of the apostles
quest church
sanctuary church
shoreline vineyard

sites i visit

off the map
nt wright

a few of the blogs in the feedreader

jason evans
joe boyd
kevin rains
alan creech
chris marshall
bill bean
eugene cho
jordon cooper
dwight friesen
john chandler
amy palmer
ryan bolger
rudy carrasco
ryan sharp
sings in the sunshine
rick bennett
scot mcknight
karen ward
alan hirsch
dan kimball
petey crowder

i'm reading it

colossians remixed
africa unchained

i finished reading it - 2007

generation me
jesus and the restoration of israel
god's continent
globalizing theology
gustavo gutierrez: essential writings
jesus and the eyewitnesses
garlands of grace
twenty poems to nourish your soul
the black swan
dancing in the streets
made to stick
signs in contemporary culture
hit the bullseye
the politics of jesus
readings in christian ethics
toward old testament ethics
the kite runner
principles of conduct
velvet elvis
the irresistable revolution
they like jesus, but not the church
the great omission
charisma: the gift of grace, and how it has been taken from us
the starfish and the spider
a perfect mess
the world cafe
the new faces of christianity
leaving church
journeying in faith
the creed
transforming mission
metaphors we live by
foolishness to the greeks
personal knowledge

states i've spent time: 2007

british columbia
oh yeah, denmark, too

i wrote it

managing conflict in the 'new world'
music review: over the rhine
film review: bonhoeffer
music review: fighting jacks
film review: the passion of the christ
how reality tv changes lives
the best tv article you've ever read
corks & caps: a wine lover's story of change
america's idols
random, disorganized thoughts about life after the katrina disaster
missional . . . plain and simple
on becoming post-gnostic

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