Thursday, August 15, 2013

A thought-provoking question from the comics and Dennis the Menace

Theology spring-boarded by comic strips. 

Dennis the Menace and his dad are seated at a table playing a board game.  At first I thought it might be Parcheesi, but there are card decks in the middle.  Maybe it's Sorry!.  Whatever the game, Dennis is looking at the dice in his hand.  He asks his dad this question: "If I'm s'posed to roll the dice, why aren't they round?"  Ah, Dennis... I hear your confusion.  Good question. 

Rolling square items.

How much sense does that make?  We don't have square tires or wheels.  Yet, if we were to roll round dice, they wouldn't stop on a number. 

Where did that expression originate?

I am not able to find the origin of the expression, though at one time it was 'roll the bones' because dice were at one time made of bone.  In fact, the history of dice takes us to the Greek.  According to the Encyclopedia Britannica, "dice were invented by the legendary Greek Palamedes."

But, I digress with historical information on dice.

Back to Dennis the Menace and his question.

There are often situations in life that don't make sense, something doesn't quite fit our perspective or our framework.  When this happens, we become puzzled and confounded.  Sometimes we become paralyzed because we aren't able to get beyond what doesn't seem to fit in our minds.

When it's a pair of dice, it's not too difficult to rattle them around in one's hand and throw them down on the table (unless of course you happen to be in a big city with big lights and you've made a bet...). 

However, when it's a situation that defies our logic and there is significant risk involved, we may be more hesitant.

Like Peter.  Walking on water.  Water is liquid.  Peter weighs more than water.  I can hear Peter asking all kinds of questions in his mind as he contemplates stepping out of that boat to walk toward Jesus.  "If I'm s'posed to walk on water, why isn't it frozen?" ETC.  Use your imagination.  What would you think or say?

Matthew 14:22-33 is the Scripture passage in which this scene takes place. 

Here is a short 3 minute video clip of that passage. 

Jesus tells Peter that he doesn't have much faith and that's why he sinks into the water.  Walking on water simply isn't one of the typical normal activities in life.  Peter had faith enough to step out of the boat.  Sometimes we don't even get that far because we are too caught up in the questioning and trying to make sense of the situation.

But, somehow Peter was able to get beyond all that didn't make sense and step out of the boat.  So he got a little scared once he felt himself on the water and lost focus.  I get that!  I've not walked on water, but I can relate through my experiences with rappelling and climbing the rock wall, ropes courses, etc.  You decide to trust, you start the process, then once into it you realize where you are and what you're doing and.... OOPS, some of that faith fizzles out. 

In Peter's case, he looked up and asked for help.  That's what it's all about.  We don't need faith to answer all the questions we don't understand or even make it all the way through a situation.  We simply need the faith to ask the questions, to live into the questions, and to ask for help along the way.

Rolling a square object.

Walking on water.

I'm sure there are many more examples.

What in your life doesn't make sense to you?  What doesn't fit your perspective or framework?  Are you willing to ask the questions?  Are you willing to live into the questions?  Are you willing to step out in faith?

All this from Dennis the Menace playing a board game with his dad?!?!  Yep, that's how my mind works.

Blessings on your journey,


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