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Parables of Parenthood – chapter 2

In anticipation of the book’s release in 2014, I am going to offer a series of excerpts on this blog. I hope these selections wet your whistle; may you be like my son, Sam, who knows the word, “more”!

Sam reading

Let me first say that I am grateful for each person’s kind

support of Sam and our family. But, while thankful for every giver,

there are a few gifts that I would gladly do without!

If the toy makes noise, then I am inclined to bury the

present in the back of Sam’s closet, which serves as a kind

of purgatory for all manner of musical stuffed animals and

squawking electronic games.

 

On the other hand, certain gifts have special places of

honor. His favorite books are prominently displayed in his

nursery, right next to the rocking chair. And we have stacks

and stacks of more books under coffee tables throughout the

house, so that we can pull them out to read at a moment’s

notice. I am aware this might involve a certain amount of

projection on my part, particularly when I insist that these

are Sam’s “favorite” toys. However, he genuinely loves the

special ones, like the book about owls that includes pages

with feathered eyebrows, shiny eyes, and sandpaper claws.

He pats, pulls, and pokes these tactile images, and the only

sounds emitted are his own contented coos and playful

giggles.

 

One morning at church, a kind and thoughtful woman

came to my office with the gift of a beautiful book called Plant a Kiss.

The story involves a young girl who digs a

hole in the ground and literally plants a kiss. After a period

of waiting in which she diligently waters and cares for the

kiss, it “sprouts” into a kaleidoscopic fountain of glittery

bright colors. The girl collects this “fruit” into a red bowl

and shares it with other children, far and wide. When the

bowl is emptied, she returns and discovers that the magic of

the kiss never runs out.

 

Once again, I may be accused of projecting my own

values, in this case onto a biblical text, but this hopeful message

reminds me of the famous Parable of the Sower. This

teaching is a favorite of many faithful people and perhaps

the parable that we most often hear in church, especially

around children. We will shortly consider the validity of the

popular interpretation that urges us to be like the good soil;

but I believe the fundamental teaching highlights God’s

fantastic grace from seemingly insignificant beginnings. So

rather than consign the parable to the back of the closet by

thinking we’ve already figured it out, let’s explore the texts

anew with wonder like a child.

Copyright Andrew Taylor-Troutman, 2014; Wipf & Stock Publishers

About Andrew Taylor-Troutman

I am a pastor and a preacher, a writer, a husband and a father. My professional and personal lives are deeply involved with story-telling: stories that are silly and poignant or profound and commonplace. Stories that are tear-jerkers and belly-shakers. Stories about my son, Sam, and the congregation I serve, New Dublin Presbyterian Church. Each in its own way, these personal narratives shed light on the great story that God is writing with humankind and all of creation.

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