Sunday, September 30, 2007

Seuss is Leuss!

We're kicking off a combination literacy campaign / Bible study with "The Gospel According to Dr. Seuss" at Union Chapel. I cannot describe the frenzied excitement as we have finally come to the kickoff of this bizarrely fun and hopefully edifying fall program. Uniquely, this theme extends from preschoolers through teenagers to adult education.

There are all sorts of fun bells and whistles planned, but there is a deeper purpose.

Personally, I'm going to enjoy Wednesday nights a lot because I get to read to the children (and by default, adults, who may benefit from a refresher before the sermon) in the sanctuary before one of our pastors teaches on the spiritual theme paralleled in the stories. My first book is "The Sneetches," scheduled for October 10.

If you are skeptical about this program or would like to read more about James Kemp, the creator of this particular pop cultural tie with Christianity, please see this archive from Worldwide Faith News Archives. You'll find his story inspiring.

An excerpt:

Kemp, 48, suffers from severe multiple sclerosis, a condition that forced him
to retire from the ministry in 1996. The Gospel According to Dr. Seuss is the
third book he's written since then.

During his 15 years as a United Methodist minister, Kemp often used Dr.
Seuss' stories as illustrations in his sermons. For example, Horton the
elephant, who keeps his promise to sit on a bird's egg till it hatches -
despite ridicule from those around him - is a model of faithfulness of
Christians, Kemp says.

"In the face of challenges, persecution and ridicule," he writes, "Horton
remains faithful 'one hundred percent.'"

Each chapter focuses on a single Dr. Seuss book, and was condensed from
Kemp's old sermons. The Cat in the Hat Comes Back becomes a story about the
"restoring power of Jesus Christ." Yertle the Turtle a lesson about greed.
Green Eggs and Ham a parable about embracing change, and The Sneetches one
about overcoming discrimination.

"There is always hope," Kemp said. "There is always hope in the unlimited
richness of God. Most of our problems are trivial."

Quite a statement from a man ravaged by a disease that left him a quadriplegic. Some people, like James Kemp, cannot be stopped from serving and giving!

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