IÂ heard a joke about Â Dr. Seuss writing a version of the Bible…then I discovered that it was almost factual. Almost.
The Dr. Seuss Version never made it into print, but you can find one treatment of the Letter to the Romans here. Though I love Seuss, I think there’s a limit to what you can do with Scripture and still be faithful to the message.
That said, I think we should be paying more attention to the Late Great Ted “Dr. Seuss” Geisel.
Dr. Seuss may be one of the greatest writers ever. Why? Because the nonsensical language of his books appeal to toddlers while his themes challenge senior citizens to think about the world around them. And some combination of the language and the challenging toneÂ speaks to every age in between.Â
The Butter Battle Book, published in 1984, about the arms race. Taking the place of the US and the USSR are the Yooks and the Zooks, who disagree on whether bread should be eaten butter-side down, or butter-side up. The story ends with a blank page, allowing readers to imagine the result of the rising tensions for themselves. The book remained on the New York Times’ bestseller list for six months – for adults. The televised version of the book was shown in the USSR in 1990; Dr Seuss joked that it was after this that the country began falling apart.
So what’s that got to do with a Christian pastor? Other than the fact that I have two children who love Seuss, Ted Geisel was also a member of my fraternity (Sigma Phi Epsilon) and his brotherhood at the Dartmouth chapter of Sig Ep was legendary. (A recent Dartmouth alum noted, “Theodor Geisel showed students at Dartmouth that no matter what your talent is, you should take it to its limit and never give up.”)
But that’s not why Seuss is on this pastor’s blog.
Seuss is a perfect example of why our simple faith stories are so powerful. A well-told story is something that entertains, teaches, and challenges–and perhaps not all at once.
When I was a wee little lad, a story about a wee little man was amusing. There was even a cute song to keep my interest up. As I grew older, I came to understand that the story commented on the differences between physical stature and spiritual stature. I wonder what I’ll learn in the future?
What are the stories of your youth that have new meaning today? What are the tales from Scripture that should be speaking to the children in your life?
When reading your Bible with people you love,
try sharing a story of God’s love from above.
Don’t make it too hard for the little ones to chew.
Stick with the story of Jesus and you…
Yeah, I couldn’t resist…
Author: Joey Reed
Joey is married to his best friend and they live in Kentucky. Joey serves Mayfield First United Methodist Church, the Purchase District, the Memphis Annual Conference, and the world is his parish.