Jesus by Mail! (email, anyway)

Sigh.

One of my good, old friends from Texas sent me an email. If you’ve ever gotten one of those multiply-forwarded Christian thingies, you know what it looks like. Letters half and inch high on my screen. Every paragraph a different color. Comic Sans typeface. Yeah, like this:

Here it is, in all its tedious glory. If you get sick of it, as I did, just skip to the end for my one comment.

One of the absolute best emails I have ever forwarded!

Once there were three trees on a hill in the woods. They were discussing their hopes and dreams when the first tree said, ‘Someday I hope to be a treasure chest. I could be filled with gold, silver and precious gems. I could be decorated with intricate carving and everyone would see the beauty.’

Then the second tree said, ‘Someday I will be a mighty ship. I will take Kings and queens across the waters and sail to the corners of the world. Everyone will feel safe in me because of the strength of my hull.’

Finally the third tree said, ‘I want to grow to be the tallest and straightest Tree in the forest. People will see me on top of the hill and look up to my branches, and think of the heavens and God and how close to them I am reaching. I will be the greatest tree of all time and people will always remember me.’

After a few years of praying that their dreams would come true, a group of woodsmen came upon the trees. When one came to the first tree he said, ‘This looks like a strong tree, I think I should be able to sell the wood to a carpenter, ‘and he began cutting it down. The tree was happy, because he knew that the carpenter would make him into a treasure chest.

At the second tree the woodsman said, ‘This looks like a strong tree. I should be able to sell it to the shipyard.’ The second tree was happy Because he knew he was on his way to becoming a mighty ship.

When the woodsmen came upon the third tree, the tree was frightened because he knew that if they cut him down his dreams would not come true. One of the woodsmen said, ‘I don’t need anything special from my tree, I’ll take this one,’ and he cut it down.

When the first tree arrived at the carpenters, he was made into a feed box for animals. He was then placed in a barn and filled with hay. This was not at all what he had prayed for.

The second tree was cut and made into a small fishing boat. His dreams of being a mighty ship and carrying kings had come to an end.

The third tree was cut into large pieces, and left alone in the dark.

The years went by, and the trees forgot about their dreams.

Then one day, a man and woman came to the barn. She gave birth and they placed the baby in the hay in the feed box that was made from the first tree. The man wished that he could have made a crib for the baby, but this manger would have to do. The tree could feel the importance of this event and knew that it had held the greatest treasure of all time.

Years later, a group of men got in the fishing boat made from the second tree. One of them was tired and went to sleep. While they were out on the water, a great storm arose and the tree didn’t think it was strong enough to keep the men safe. The men woke the sleeping man, and He stood and said ‘Peace’ and the storm stopped. At this time, the tree knew that it had carried the King of Kings in its boat.

Finally, someone came and got the third tree. It was carried through the streets as the people mocked the man who was carrying it. When they came to a stop, the man was nailed to the tree and raised in the air to die at the top of a hill. When Sunday came, the tree came to realize that it was strong enough to stand at the top of the hill and be as close to God as was possible, because Jesus had been crucified on it.

The moral of this story is that when things don’t seem to be going your way, always know that God has a plan for you. If you place your trust in Him, God will give you great gifts.

Each of the trees got what they wanted, just not in the way they had imagined.

We don’t always know what God’s plans are for us. We just know that His Ways are not our ways, but His ways are always best.

Please keep this moving… Pass it on, so God may inspire more people on The Way.

May your day be blessed. And until we meet again, may God cradle you in the palm of His hand.

The part of this that really caught my attention was this:

Please keep this moving… Pass it on, so God may inspire more people on The Way.

Do you get why I think that’s freaky-weird? The person who sent it to me feels this fantastically obvious children’s story (!)  is inspirational EVIDENCE of God’s loving plans for us. Evidence worth spreading to other adults, in the daylight hours and in complete seriousness.

But the story is devoid even of any INTENT to be factual. The sender, the originator, and the readers who buy into it as something real have gone so far beyond needing evidence for the swaying of their minds and hearts that they’ve moved mentally to some meta universe where wishes work, where fairies and ghosts lie just around the corner of the real world, where science is lies and, come to think of it, where fantasy takes the place of history.

THAT’S who and what we’re facing.

 

 

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  • http://paperdove.org/ nigelTheBold, Abbot of the Hoppist Monks

    People will see me on top of the hill and look up to my branches, and think of the heavens and God and how close to them I am reaching.

    At this point, tonstant weader fwowed up.

    Hank, you know saccharine is bad for you. You’re trying to kill us, aren’t you?

    We don’t always know what God’s plans are for us. We just know that His Ways are not our ways, but His ways are always best.

    This is so obviously fallacious. “His ways are always best.” For whom? Does the chicken say, “The farmer’s ways are always best?” Does the slave say, “The master’s ways are always best?”

    This whole tale equates the genuine pain and suffering many people endure with just not living your dream. “Oh, you were beaten as a child? Well, I didn’t become a rock star. Toughen up, kiddo.” Or, “You lived in poverty, never had enough to eat, your country was a warzone, and many of the people you knew died gruesome deaths? That’s nothing. I wanted to be wealthy, and instead I’m stuck unclogging toilets for a living. Chin up. God has a plan.”

    Yeah. That’s the moral of the story. “Your bipolar disorder, which often leaves you paralyzed and unable to engage in life as you suffer through mind-numbing depression, is just part of God’s plan.”

    This really isn’t a very good story. At all.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1159674804 robertbaden

    Punch line. Where’s the punch line? They must have left off the punch line.

    • Thorne

      Well there was a fourth tree who wanted to be a mighty palace but instead got used to make an public outhouse and every day everyone crapped on him. One day Jesus came along and also crapped on him. The end.

  • Randomfactor

    These three trees were made into a bar…

  • Robbie

    So the third tree wanted beat those guys who tried building the tower of babel. But instead became a torture device. Do you suppose iron comes out of the ground hoping to become an iron maiden?

  • http://www.reason-being.com reasonbeing

    “THAT’S who and what we’re facing.” That is why it is so infuriating to have discussions with them. You end up feeling like you are getting nowhere over and over and over again. ugh,

  • F

    Gah, yes. I have an immense collection of religious and conservative max-forwarded email. They are all painful and frustrating.

  • sailor1031

    I found this very moving, but after going to the bathroomn and tossing my cookies I felt much better. Wonder if that was part of ‘the divine plan’……

  • Carlie

    Randomfactor, I would like to give you a whole internet.

    I’ve read so many pieces of glurge like this, I expected the third tree to be cut down and cast onto a fire in punishment for vanity of trying to be close to God. Guess it could have gone that way too.

  • Aliasalpha

    When reading the ultimate fate of the second tree, was I the only one initially wondering if it was on a 3 hour tour?

  • starskeptic

    So, if she weighs the same as a duck- then she’s made out of wood…

  • shouldbeworking

    Your friend must communicate with my cousin. I have to go read some quantum physics to jump start my brain.

  • gwen

    I ALWAYS get these emails of feel good homilies to prove ‘god is good’! They’re written as if they are true, but they are just fu**ing made up stories, and not very good ones either. They are supposed to give me the warm fuzzies, and bask in Jebus glory.. oh, puke..

  • homeless2009

    The Giving Tree is the greatest tree story. That christian thing I just read just can’t beat it.

  • StevoR

    These three Trees of Orient are,
    Fables for the kids and galahs*,
    Wooden as plaster saints,
    Plausible as giant ants
    Cripes what a lot of tosh, arrgh!

    ———–

    * Aussie slang for a an especially loud and stoopid person like and with the brains of the bird.

    • F

      Is that how it goes? And here, for all these years, I have wondered where Orientar was to be found on a map.

      • ‘Tis Himself, OM

        Orientar is a suburb of East Poodunk, it’s the freeway exit after Bumfuck.

  • StevoR

    ^ With thanks & in homage to Digital Cuttlefish. :-)

  • Jet

    It also seems to be a universe where trees have dreams and are all Christian trees.

  • Phledge

    I lived in Detroit for a year and was startled and dismayed to see how, the deeper you went into a neighborhood of poverty, the more churches were there erected. By offering the oppressed otherworldly hope, religions deter the oppressed from actually seeking justice and fulfillment in the here and now. People who don’t have the money to own their own home or have healthy food on the table will happily spill their ducats into the construction of these monstrosities, the purpose of which is exclusively to keep those people from questioning the immutability of their lot in life.

    I’m sure there are a lot of christians, across the board, from liberal to fundie, reading this story and saying, “Awwwww!” I look at it and go, “Barf.”

    • ‘Tis Himself, OM

      Joe Hill’s song “The Preacher and the Slave” explains how that works:

      Long-haired preachers come out every night,
      Try to tell you what’s wrong and what’s right;
      But when asked how ’bout something to eat
      They will answer with voices so sweet:

      You will eat, bye and bye,
      In that glorious land above the sky;
      Work and pray, live on hay,
      You’ll get pie in the sky when you die.

  • coragyps

    Nigel, you kick ass!
    Tonstant Weader (may her memory survive forever) would have certainly fwowed up at that.

    • http://paperdove.org/ nigelTheBold, Abbot of the Hoppist Monks

      Thank you!

      I didn’t go through all that effort to have Dorothy Parker ignored.


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