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”!
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
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