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Torrey Gazette is the combined work of everyday Christians blogging on books, family, art, and theology. So pull up a seat and join us. Family Table rules apply. Shouting is totally acceptable.

The Lies We [Don't] Tell Children

Caterpillar

Yesterday afternoon my wife and I were picking some tomatoes in our back yard. Earlier in the summer, to our great surprise, around five different tomato plants started growing in our back yard! We have adopted them as our own and are now enjoying the fruit of someone's labor (Although it must be said that Caroline has done quite a bit of work to nurture these plants!)!

All that being said, while we were picking these tomatoes, Caroline noticed that a caterpillar was cocooning (is that a word?) on one of the tomato plants. If you look closely at the picture you can see that its legs haven't fully disappeared yet.

Seeing this reminded me of N.D. Wilson's book (and DVD accompaniment) Notes From the Tilt-A-Whirl. Both the DVD & book are wonderful & I highly recommend them to anyone! One of the reoccurring themes of the book is the wonder of God's creation that we so easily gloss over. Within this theme is a critique of how we tend to rationalize things through some vague scientific lens. As if merely being able to explain something like the Water Cycle or Gravity in scientific terms makes it any less miraculous.

In the introduction to the book Wilson has a wonderful little grouping of sentences that mentions caterpillars turning in to butterflies and I thought I would share that along with this picture for today's post:

Bats really do exist. Caterpillars really turn into butterflies—it's not just a lie for children. Coal squishes into diamonds. Apple trees turn flowers into apples using sunlight and air. (pg. 4)

What Wilson is showing in these few sentences is how we've taken these truly incredible phenomenon, and in the name of science or philosophy, have completely taken the wonder away from them.

When you think about the fact that bats are blind and use sonar to navigate the night skies looking for bugs; or the fact that caterpillars hang from tomato plants in your back yard for a few weeks in order to turn in to butterflies; or the fact that the ring I gave my wife when I asked her to marry me was at one point a lump of black coal; these all seem like stories you could tell a kid before they go to sleep at night. Wilson gets at the fact that they are all stories; God's stories for us.

His (main) admonition to us is to listen. Are we listening to the stories that God is telling us about the caterpillar in the back yard or the squirrels playing tag in the trees?

Food for thought.

Michael

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