Hi! I’m Gracie, the “unity and diversity” traveling evangelist for the Central Pacific Conference. You may have met me at Annual Meeting last September in Pendleton, when my friend, walter john, who made me the star of his State of the Conference address. Thanks, wj!
I visit the churches of the Conference and share my favorite story. You’ve probably heard it. It’s the Hindu folk tale of the elephant and the village of blind mice. Remember? The blind mice had never seen an elephant. When they heard a circus caravan would be passing close by, the elders sent out a delegation to explore the beast. After their expedition, they reported their findings. The first, having scampered up the trunk, said, “An elephant is nothing but a huge writhing snake.” “Snake?” said the second. “Nothing of the sort. An elephant is like a sharp, curved spear.” She had discovered the tusk. The rest quickly objected in a rush of voices… “No! A moving mountain,” said the mouse who jumped on the elephant’s back. “A heavy carpet hanging on a line,” (elephant ear). “A pillar reaching up to the sky,”(leg). “An elephant resembles a rope dangling in the wind,” (tail).
Now, this story has three endings. In the first, the mice are still arguing about an elephant. In the second ending, a wise elder points out what the rest of the mice are too foolish to understand, “An elephant is all of these things. Each of you has experienced part of the whole.” Many people like this ending, because it’s comforting to think that if we find the right expert, our problems will be solved. But depending on an expert, or the right technology, is part of the modern myth. We’re living in a post-modern time that realizes both the complexity of our problems, and our interconnectedness. So the best ending honors diversity, and our commitment to unity. In covenant community, the mice talked and listened to each other’s perspective. In doing so, they all gained a much richer understanding of an elephant. (when I talk with younger children, I only describe two endings – 1) still arguing or 3) listening and learning. – you can go to my Facebook page and watch a video of my friend, walter john, sharing the story with children.)
Speaking of Facebook, on October 13th, I launched my own Facebook page:Gracie On the Way! If you are on Facebook, I’d love for you to “Like” my page. If you want to keep up with my travels, you can also check “receive notifications” (open the “Liked” button menu to select). That way, you won’t miss anything.
OH – PLEASE INVITE YOUR FRIENDS! THANKS!!
On my page I’ll playfully explore “Unity and Diversity” with alternative images of the “Body of Christ” – a patchwork quilt, a mosaic, a tapestry, a jazz band, a parade, a circus, a community garden, and more. In all of these, individual pieces come together to make a greater whole. Great message for the CPC-UCC, don’t you think?!
I’ll also share elephant stuff – videos, books, and art. There’ll be whimsical posts of people and places from on the road. I’m looking forward to an invitation to share some time with your congregation. I can share Elephant Tales (Tails?) during worship, in Sunday School, youth group, an intergenerational event, or you can just give me a tour of your building. While I’m visiting your church, walter john will name one of your members as an administrator of the Gracie On the Way on Facebook, so you can post directly to the page.