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You … and You … Everyone–You’re All Nuts

Rabbi Abraham Heschel tells the story of an ancient kingdom. Like other kingdoms of the time, most of the people were farmers, and year after year, this particular community enjoyed an abundant harvest. No one ever went hungry because the surplus food was carefully stored just in case drought or storm or infestation should threaten the harvest (although no one could ever remember a time when that had happened).

Then one year, something happened to the crop … well not exactly to the crop, for the harvest was as plentiful as ever—more so, in fact—but when people ate that year’s harvest, something happened all right: they lost their minds. First one and then another and finally whole neighborhoods were populated with crazy people.

Everyone was understandably alarmed and so the king gathered the wisest people of the realm together to see if they could solve the mystery, but no one could explain why eating that year’s crops made people go insane. All they knew was what they could see and they could see that madness was spreading like the plague.

Finally, the king said, “Here is what we shall do. We shall set aside twelve people from the kingdom and these twelve people will eat only the food we stored from previous harvests. The rest of us will eat the food produced by this year’s harvest. It will be the task of the twelve to remind the rest of us that we are crazy.”

One can only imagine how the advertisement might read in the paper: WANTED: Twelve people to stand on the corner and remind passersby that they are crazy.

We laugh, until we realize how the story sneaks up on us with the outrageous hint that someone has to deliver the word, someone … but whom? Talk about thankless tasks!

Worse, what if by chance it falls to the faith community to walk up and down the street and remind the passersby that they have lost their minds.

Not too compelling a job description for churches and other communities where people of faith gather, to go stand on the corner and share the message: You … and you … everyone—you’re all nuts.

Unless, of course, the world needs to hear such a message?

2 thoughts on “You … and You … Everyone–You’re All Nuts”

    1. It’s a great story! Along the same lines an anonymous Texan, and Methodist, says we should see ourselves as misfits, the secret strength of our congregations, he suggests.

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