Dr. Seuss on Church Dogma

Today is the 108th birthday of Dr. Seuss. I have read more books by Dr. Seuss than any other author. And I have read them often, even before having kids. Two of my favorite stories from Dr. Seuss are “The Sneeches” and “The Zax.”

The first is about a group who becomes divided over who “gets it right” but then learns their lesson. The final stanza says:

“But McBean was quite wrong, I’m quite happy to say,
the Sneetches got quite a bit smarter that day.
That day, they decided that Sneetches are Sneetches,
and no kind of Sneetch is the BEST on the beaches.
That day, all the Sneetches forgot about stars,
and whether they had one or not upon thars.”

The second is about two Zax who are divided because neither are willing to move for the other as they are each on their journey. And instead of learning their lesson, they simply become paralyzed, while the world just moves on without them.

“And I’ll prove to YOU,” yelled the South-Going Zax,
That I can stand here in the prairie of Prax
For fifty-nine years! For I live by a rule
That I learned as a boy back in South-Going School.
Never budge! That’s my rule. Never budge in the least!
Not an inch to the west! Not an inch to the east!
I’ll stay here, not budging! I can and I will
If it makes you and me and the whole world stand still!”
“Well…
Of course the world didn’t stand still. The world grew.
In a couple of years, the new highway came through
And they built it right over those two stubborn Zax
And left them there, standing un-budged in their tracks.”

The truth is, both of these odd species are a relational mess. The only difference between these stories is how they end. The more Christians quibble over differences instead of recognizing our similarities, the more we become Zax and less like Sneetches.

And I am passionate about the Church finding a redemptive climax, where we eventually learn our lesson about accepting differences for the power of unity, Methodists accepting Baptist, and Non-denominationals accepting Catholics, instead of an anti-climax, where we become increasingly irrelevant, absorbed in our fights about who gets it right, as the world silently moves on.

Here’s to the power of story, where we can lay down our stubbornness and learn that

“Sneetches are Sneetches,
and no kind of Sneetch is the BEST on the beaches.
That day, all the Sneetches forgot about stars,
and whether they had one or not upon thars.”

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One response to “Dr. Seuss on Church Dogma

  1. You are so right Jared! And Happy Birthday Dr. Seuss…what a great writer you are…has anyone tried reading the tongue twister book?? lol

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