jonathan stone's blog

. . . posts on faith and life

children everywhere

As a child my favorite book was Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak. The little boy in the book, Max, stages a small rebellion against his mother when he’s dressed up in his wolf suit. So, she sends him to bed without anything to eat. A jungle grows in his room and he sails away to a distant land where the wild things are. He quickly learns to tame the wild things and becomes the king of all wild things, then he leads them in a wild rumpus. Eventually he gets bored with the wild things and sails back home. The wild things try to stop him, but he is determined to get back where someone loves him most of all, and where there’s good things to eat. He’s delighted on his return to find out his supper is waiting for him…and it’s still hot!

Part of the reason that I ran so hard from God for so long is that I perceived God to be the same as the way I perceived the church. I thought he must be stale, rigid, boring, legalistic, serious, miserable….you get the point. Part of the overwhelming joy I experienced when I actually encountered God in college was learning that he was playful, mind-blowing, dialectical, joyful, passionate, awesome, and utterly beyond my wildest imaginations. And once I discovered the open spaces within the more Hebraic roots of Christianity (which I picked up from reading people like Walter Brueggemann and Abraham Joshua Heschel and taking classes with Rickie Moore) I found I had stumbled upon an endless universe of mind-bending possibilities for the continual discoveries of who God is.

Every now and then I feel as though I am able to show others this land where the wild things are, and like Max, I announce with childish glee; “Let the wild rumpus start!” But, sometimes, when all of the wild things have gone to bed, and I am making that all so lonely journey home, “…through night and day and in and out of weeks and almost over a year,” I hear the echoes of children screaming. All through the long hallways and wide-open corridors I hear children, locked inside of cold closets and behind dark doors built by religion. I feel the pain of open festering wounds. I live the terror of small rigid places.

And then something boils up from deep within, and I do not know if I can keep it down. I turn and look for someone to help, someone who might catch whatever it is that comes out of my mouth from deep within my belly. I have learned not to try and swallow the vomitus flow that longs to spew from my aching gut. No, I let it go. And would you believe that every now and then, well once or twice anyway, I have found a person, who saw that sight and wept, then said; “My God, the children are sick, and we don’t have the slightest clue!” But most of the time they run, or even worse, they say; “Ah yes, I have seen this many times before. It is called anger and bitterness, and that my child, means that you are simply over-emotional and immature. You must let it go!” Then, I run. I cover my mouth and run as fast as I can. Through night and day and in and out of weeks and almost over a year I run. And I am running still.

5 comments on “children everywhere

  1. Weston Williford
    May 4, 2008


  2. m.d. mcmullin
    May 4, 2008

    deep calls to deep…

    may you never find yourself in a place where you no longer hear those children

    may your voice find listening ears and compassionate hearts

    may you feel God beside you while carrying His burden

  3. Peter Pollock
    May 5, 2008

    Where the wild things are was one of my favorite books!! I haven’t met anyone who has read it in years!

    Excellent illustration.

    I wish more people could feel how lost and trapped in religion the children of God are!

    Keep doing what you are doing – you are opening doors and setting people free through the power of the truth of God.

  4. corum deo vida
    May 8, 2008

    when i first got to VA after a whole lot of traveling ‘in and out of and weeks’ Laine Allen prayed one of the most life transforming prayers for me. she told me as she prayed she saw this really wild horse (me). the horse was in a corral with all these handlers who were trying to tame it. the only way they knew to tame the horse was to beat it. so the horse was covered in blood and bruises and yet, the trainers just kept beating it.
    then, she said, Jesus walked over to the gate and unlocked the chain and through the door wide open. outside of the gate there was great and wide green fields. and, seeing it, the horse ran free. she said she saw Jesus and He was laughing with glee as the horse ran free. she said, ‘Jesus says, ‘your heart is good. your heart is wild. your heart is free.’

    i cannot even begin to tell you the freedom and healing that came in that moment. since then i have developed a great love for ‘where the wild things are’.

    there is such a holy truth in the knowledge that He has room for us at the table. he wants me to grow but doesn’t want to tame me. he has a place for me, he has a place for all those children. he is not afraid of them or their success. he is not quick to diagnose them nor is he quick to minimalize their pain. he is ready to sit and weep with them and he is more than ready to break chains and throw open oppressive gates. he has green fields for us. he has them for us all, trainers and wild-hearted girls, children and parents, sinners and saints.

    it hurts that i am not welcomed at COG’s table anymore. people who called themselves my ‘spiritual father’ for over ten years haven’t spoken to me in over a year. it hurts that Jesus has room for me but the COG doesn’t seem to. i guess some days i am one of those crying.

    i don’t have any answers. i know i hurt with you as i read your blog and when i live this. sometimes i know i run with you. you aren’t alone.

    so, no answers, just this prayer–Jesus, help us to hear the crying children! Jesus, we need grace, we need healing, we need your mysterious and holy blood to cover us, to cover our sins, to heal our wounds. Jesus, the children are sick, and we don’t have the slightest clue, so help us Jesus.


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This entry was posted on May 2, 2008 by in crisis, faith, vision.
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