the telephone game

Remember the telephone game?  You whisper a sentence in someone’s ear and they whisper what they think they heard to the person next to them and everyone laughs at just how much the sentence has changed by the time it gets all the way around the room.

Every single day in our house, we play the game.

Prime example:  My instructions to Chase (my 14yo son), “Unload the dishwasher.  Tell Kira (my 17yo daughter) to load it and tell Seth (my 11yo stimmer) to put away the leftovers.”  Simple commands, right?  How hard could it be to remember the ONE thing he has to do and pass along two simple instructions to his siblings.  Half an hour later I walk through the kitchen and find the leftovers on the stove and the sink is piled high with dirty dishes.  I ask Seth why he didn’t put them away and he replies, “Chase told me to tell Kira to put them away.”  I march to Kira’s room and ask her why she didn’t load the dishwasher.  She replies, “Seth told me to UNLOAD the dishwasher.  Somebody already did it and I needed to practice guitar.  Can you please close my door?”  Telephone game over…. let the blame-game commence.

Did you know that the “telephone game” is actually the Garden of Eden game?  God told Adam, “…You may freely eat the fruit of every tree in the garden— except the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. If you eat its fruit, you are sure to die.” Genesis 2:16-17  In chapter 3 the serpent and his sneaky self asks Eve about what God had said.  She replied, “God said, ‘You must not eat it or even TOUCH it; if you do, you will die.’”  You gotta hand it to Eve.  The bedazzler had yet to be invented and in her very first conversation with the outside world she still managed to add a little gemstone with that extra, “or even TOUCH it.” Feel free to insert your own jokes here on poor male communication and/or a woman’s gift to embellish the truth.

I have to confess.  I like a little embellishment.  Maybe it’s just the Eve in me, but I’m a sucker for a little fringe on a little throw pillow or a little mercury glass on a mantle.  Or better yet, dozens of translations of the Bible that when scoured give me just the meaning I’m searching for.  As I read through various translations of a certain passage and come across the one that says exactly what I was looking for, I am satisfied.  You know what, though?  That satisfaction has lost its sweetness.  The more time I spend reading the Bible and looking up Hebrew and Greek translations, the more clearly I see that the translations that bring me satisfaction are watered-down versions of what God actually intended. The many English translations of the Bible that we have available to us today are  part of a centuries long telephone game.

Anyone who knows me or has read my blog for any amount of time, knows that I am a HUGE fan of being planted in a church.  I believe that the picture of “the church” that Jesus lived out and that Paul painted for us in his various letters, is necessary for spiritual survival.  We all NEED to be living life with others who share our faith and who draw us closer to God.  That being said, I’m also a little skeptical of anyone who gets all of their “spiritual food” from their church.

My little scenario about the dishes is actually one that plays out in my house several times each week.  I know good and well that if I want Kira to load the dishwasher, the best way to make that happen is to go to her and ask her myself.  As a matter of fact, the only days that doing dishes doesn’t turn into a blame-game are the ones where my dear hubby or I communicate what we would like done directly to the person we would like to do it.

I do not have it all figured out and I am not fluent in Hebrew or Greek.  If you laid the Dead Sea Scrolls in front of me the only thing I could probably tell you about them is that they’re old.  However, I do know how to communicate with God.  I talk to Him and when I’m willing to listen He talks to me.  No matter how watered-down the translation may be, whenever I pray over an issue and ask Him for a biblical perspective, He always leads me to it.  When I ask for peace, He delivers it.  When I ask for clarity and closed doors, he slams them in my face and shows me loudly and clearly where to go and where not to go.  When I thank Him for the richness of my life, He somehow makes it just a little richer.

Here’s the deal.  He wants an intimate relationship with each and every one of us.  He has unconditional love for each and every one of us.  In my forty years of living, I’ve seen pastors fall and churches fall apart.  But you know something?  I’ve never seen God change.  His constant and unconditional mercy and love continually blow me away.

This morning, just as I finished thanking God for the fact that my relationship with him is not dependent on any other relationship, I read this:

Judges 18:24 “What do you mean, ‘What’s the matter?’” Micah replied. “You’ve taken away all the gods I have made, and my priest, and I have nothing left!”

I keep hoping that some day I will walk through the kitchen and be able to smile with pleasure over the fact that my kids have known what they needed to do and simply gotten busy doing it.  I pray for a week with no Garden of Eden or blame-games in my house.  As my Father, I think God wants the same from me.  What about you?  If all of the “gods” you’ve made and your “priest” were taken away, would you still have a relationship with your maker?  Would you know what He wants you to do?  Is He smiling now in pleasure over the fact that you’re actually doing what you were created for?  Or would you be like Micah…..

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