Snyder, George L Snyder, Lenore Snyder, God, ethics, morals, religion

The Elephant Speaks
One Man’s Elephant book II

Little Red Riding Hood


            What am I doing here? Fairy tales in a book about God? Why would I do this?


            Even in a child’s fairy tale there may be something of value to learn. Of course, there are different versions. Some have Little Red Riding Hood surviving. Some have Grandmother surviving. Some have only the wolf surviving. Some have no one surviving. Some have the woodsmen killing the wolf, some have the woodsmen as only a threat to the wolf so he is careful. The oldest versions end when the wolf eats Little Red Riding Hood.


            This is a story that should be told with the small child on your lap. Safe in the arms of one who loves her. The excitement of the danger can be felt without fear.


            Look at all these versions and ignore the differences. Pay no attention to the details, for the details are totally unimportant to the message in the story. The real message is that one who speaks nicely to you may not be a friend, may in fact be an enemy. The real message is that there is danger out there. The real message is things are not always what they seem to be. The real message is that there are consequences. The real message is to pay attention and be careful.




            Now look at the story of the Garden of Eden. Read it for the message. Ignore the differences in the details that vary with the translator. The real message is that one who speaks nicely to you may not be a friend, may in fact be an enemy. The real message is that there is danger out there. The real message is things are not always what they seem to be. The real message is that there are consequences. The real message is to pay attention and be careful.




            Now approach the Bible with a slightly different attitude. I suggest taking this new attitude and start with the gospels. Do not try to recreate the total life of Jesus from these four different versions of His life. There are many subtle differences even when the same story is told. There are some very clear differences. Look for the message. Remember the next gospel would be totally unnecessary if it was the same as the previous. Each gospel was written to address a different situation and directed at a different group of people. It is important to understand the intended audience in order to understand the content of the message.


            Look at the small segments of stories within the greater story. These each have a lesson. The life of Jesus is an example for your own life, for my own life. If you are not attempting to expand your faith, then your faith is stagnant. It is dead and worthless, useless.


            The Bible is not just one sacred word after another. It is allegorical. Each time you read it, you should receive a different message from God. Each time you read it your faith should grow. Your faith should change. Otherwise your faith is like a stagnant pond that breeds only mosquitos. Unpleasant insects that only suck your blood. The only thing you get is an unpleasant itch and occasionally an unpleasant disease.




And God speaks:


            “You too can feed the hungry.

          You too can heal the sick.

          You too can comfort the afflicted.

          You too can cast out devils.

          You too can raise the dead.

          You too can come back from death.




            Think about it. Perhaps it is not obvious to you yet. Think about it. Think. You can do all these things. Perhaps not with the same appearance of miracle as in the stories, but you can. In fact if you claim to be Christian, how can you not? How can you not do all these things?


            If you do not do all these things, you are not Christian. You are not following the example of the one you call Christ. You have no other option. You must.



Feed the hungry

This in my opinion is the easiest and most obvious. All you have to do is pick up a little extra food when you shop. Take it to any church or food bank. Just tell them to give it to whoever needs it. They always need more. The poor will always be with us. You can also help in a food kitchen. You can help feed the hungry in many ways.



Heal the sick.

There are ways that all of us can help. We are not all called to be medical doctors who save lives as part of their jobs. But we are called to heal the sick. There are many things you can do. Help with the Red Cross. Package medical kits for disaster relief. There are many volunteer things you can do. While I was in India, I met a dentist and a plastic surgeon who had retired and moved to India. They went to a remote village, took care of the people the best way they could. They lived with the villagers, slept in their homes, and ate what the people gave them. When they had done all they could, they moved on, to another village. It cost only twenty thousand dollars to buy the supplies to keep these two doctors busy for a year.



Comfort the afflicted.

There will always be one who is in pain. It may not be pain from a physical sickness or injury, but it is pain. Comfort the afflicted. This includes the command to visit the prisoner. This also requires you to care for those who are lonely. For those who are suicidal. Be a friend. Love. This requires empathy for those who suffer, those who suffer in many ways.



Cast out devils.

If you have comforted the afflicted, you have already done this. In comforting those who are in pain, those who hurt, you cast out the devils within them. Perhaps first you should examine yourself and cast the devils out of yourself. The devils that tell you that you cannot do these things. Examine your own soul, your own faith. Cast out those devils.



Raise the dead.

How easy this one is. Raise the dead. Bring life to others. Brighten their day and bring their souls back into the light. Use your empathy. Let them know that their soul is not lost. Their life is not worthless. Their life has great value. Their existence has great value. Their soul has great value. Bring life to those around you. Bring joy to those around you. Bring comfort and healing to those around you. Bring beauty to the world. Do this and you do raise the dead.



Come back from death.

Now you see. If you have followed me so far, you find that you are already coming back from death. Your own life is your own. Touch your own soul and guide it back to the example that you read in the gospels. If you do not believe that Jesus was/is God, then you must at least recognize the value of his teachings. You must at least see the value of his example. Follow that and you will find yourself on the path leading to your own life from the death that surrounds you.





Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves. Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others. Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus: Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself and became obedient to death - - even death on a cross!

Philippians 2:3-8




            Your faith is gradually changing. Your faith grows, becomes stronger, becomes more dynamic in your life. Find yourself growing closer to God.


            You have come back from the dead.


            It is not important to me if you still have a different view of the elephant than I, only that your own faith is growing. In fact in many ways, I hope your view of the elephant remains different from mine, for I am wrong. My view is wrong, incomplete, and based on ignorance. Do not forget that you also are wrong, incomplete, and plagued with ignorance.


Read Matthew 25:31-46


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