Insights From Rabbitdumb
by Tony Lowe & April Baker
Well, I guess I should start by introducing myself. My name is Raconteur Rabbit, but you can call me Racky. Anyway, this porpoise dude Bill asked us to tell you our story, and my fellow rabbits asked me to begin our sad tale.
Once upon a time not that long ago we were a happy group of rabbits – yep, fat, dumb, and happy, that’s probably how I would describe us. Then this new group moved into the hood, (well, technically they moved in above the hood, rabbits you know live underground.) At first we really liked having this group over top of us. They heated and air-conditioned their space which made ours warmer in the winter and cooler in the summer as well. And they planted a lot of nice grass and flowers that we used to supplement our diet. Plus they ate a lot, or at least they threw out a lot of stuff after they ate that we enjoyed as well.
At first we thought they were a little strange because we heard them talking and they seemed to think that rabbits laid eggs. In fact they hid eggs all over the yard and then claimed one of us had done it. We got over that, however, and as time went on and we heard and saw more of their civilization, we thought they had some really good ideas, so we decided to try modeling our community after theirs. Like I said, up till that point, we were just a happy go lucky bunch of rabbits, one big family. Now we have disgusted rabbits that have left our group and joined another one, angry rabbits that no longer speak to each other, rabbits in therapy, we even have rabbits that no longer wish to be identified as rabbits, and it’s all because we tried to copy that group up there above us. Well, I guess I should call them by name, so we’ll call them the church, cause that’s how they refer to themselves. I really don’t think I should be the one to tell the whole story, so at this point I’m going to turn it over to my associate rabbit, Redux.
Reduction Rabbit (Redux)
Well, I don’t mind saying I’m actually pretty proud of my part in the story. I think I did this community a real service. I mean for years life was full of mysteries for us rabbits – questions like where do all those little rabbits come from in the spring, and how come some lettuce is purple and some is green, and why did God make us with such long ears and such short tails? And I started thinking, if there’s that much wonder and mystery in the life of a rabbit, what must it be like for those people that meet up above us? So I started listening to their leaders and I found out there wasn’t any wonder or mystery at all about God or anything else. They reduce all that to a series of simple steps – a three step program for this, a five step program for this, four laws to explain that. And if you do run into a hint of mystery or awe or wonder, you don’t have to deal with it. You just look around and find some other quick, easy answer program that will explain it all away. I mean, how simple is that?
Well it worked fine for a while, then all of a sudden this group of “emerging rabbits” (emergentholes.com) started to complain that they didn’t like living in an environment where everything was reduced to simplistic formulas and uniform step programs, that it took all the joy and wonder and individuality out of being a rabbit. Have you ever heard anything so ridiculous? Well, I’d love to stay and talk with you more, but right now I’m pretty busy looking for a four or five step canned program to help address the problem of rabbits that don’t like canned programs.
A quote from Redux Rabbit: No matter what the problem is, there’s some model step program out there that will fix it.
Rehearsed Rabbit (Hersey)
My problem is a little like what Redux was just talking about. See we used to have these rabbit conferences every week that lasted forever. You never knew how long they were going to go on. And some of the rabbits that spoke at them didn’t use the best grammar or said things we didn’t think were appropriate, or worse, got lost in the middle of what they were saying and just stood there like they were waiting for divine inspiration or something while the minutes flew by. And the music was worse (think about it –there’s a reason no one ever says he could sing like a rabbit).
And then I started noticing that the people upstairs didn’t have those kinds of problems. They started their meetings at 11 o’clock on the dot and were always done by 12:30. I wondered how they did that, so I decided to check it out. And I found out about two very important things that they were doing and we weren’t that made all the difference. The first one is rehearsel. They never do anything –speaking, reading, singing – anything without rehearsing it first. For a while I was fooled because there’s a part near the end of their meeting where the speaker lays his notes down and comes around to the front of the podium and tells the people he’s just going to talk to them from his heart. And I wondered how he was able to do that and still end at the same time every week till I happened to be around once and see that he actually practiced that also. Some of his staff timed it for him and gave him helpful suggestions on how to look more casual and sound more genuine and sincere. Once when they were expecting a lot of visitors, they whole church came in and practiced everything they were going to do the next day so it would all look and sound professional and high quality.
The other important thing is timing. The church people or at least their leaders make sure there is not a wasted moment. You know like if someone is singing, before they finish the song whoever is speaking next is already at the microphone so there’s no dead time between the two acts. The whole thing is very slick and very professional. People go away feeling like they’ve had first class entertainment.
But try to do that with a bunch of rabbits. The White Rabbit is always late. And before Widow Rabbit sings, she always has to go into this long emotional speech dedicating the song to her two sons who ended up in a Brunswick stew. So I asked the other rabbits, how are you going to make anything slick and professional out of that ? And you know what they told me? If God had meant for us to be slick he would have made us otters.
A quote from Hersey Rabbit: “I don’t care how much the Velveteen Rabbit extols the virtues of being real. Good is much better than genuine, and being well rehearsed is far more important than being real.”
Relational Rabbit ( Aunt Latie)
Oh dear, I’m really not very good at this. I don’t like to complain. Well, you know for years we all lived here in the same den and all got along fine. We’re all cousins you know because back there somewhere we all came from the same set of rabbits. But one day two of the younger cousins came and asked me if we were a relational community. I told them, of course we are. I’ve often heard Winnie the Pooh speak of Rabbit and his relations. But they told me they had been listening to the people above us and I had it all wrong. Relational doesn’t mean being kin. It means that you have a common set of beliefs, ascribe to the same code of morality, and are even affiliated with the same political party. They told me that these are the things that are the basis for being in real relational community.
So I had to call poor old Mr. Rastus Rabbit and tell him I couldn’t be in a relational community with him anymore because I didn’t believe some of the things he said about how the universe was formed. And I had to tell my niece Roberta we weren’t related anymore either because – well frankly she has an awful lot of little rabbits around her house and the circumstances surrounding some of their births are – well questionable. And then it dawned on me –I’ve never voted, not once in my entire life. So if you have to be affiliated with a political party to be in relationship with people, then I’m not in relationship with anyone. Just think of it, a few months ago I had hundreds of relations right here in this rabbit hole, and today now that I understand what being in a relational community really means, I’m all alone. Every time I think about it, I start to cry, I’m too upset to make a quote, so I’ll just have to turn you back over to Racky.
Racky: Ok, we’re almost done here. But there’s a couple of other rabbits I at least want to tell you about.
Radical Rabbit (Raddy)
Radical rabbit is committed to shaking things up. She (and others like her) is always into whatever is counterculture. One time, our town was host to a gay pride parade. Radical wanted to open our den so that folks could use the bathroom and get drinks. Of course, we would never allow that—we closed our den all day so we wouldn’t have to even talk to those pride supporters. And Radical wanted to do other things too—make our den available for use for community activities such as AA meetings, PTA gatherings, a soup kitchen and such. She was always saying that we should befriend the homeless, build dens for the poor, and feed the hungry. But opening a soup kitchen in our den was ridiculous—think of the riffraff that would attract! Quite frankly, we got tired of her constant admonitions about how we should be living. We tried to placate her—she wanted to be radical, well fine. We got a guitar to play during church service, and we even moved the chairs around. But that wasn’t “change” enough for her. Finally, we asked to her leave.
A quote from Radical Rabbit: “Jesus said that if we want to serve him, then we have to get out there and serve the ‘least’ of him.”
Racist Rabbit (Racy)
Racist rabbit is a nice guy, he just has his boundaries. If you need help, he’s likely to give it unless he thinks you deserve the situation you’re in. For example, Racist hates that some rabbits are homeless, but he knows what makes folks lose their dens—drugs, drinking too much carrot juice, and not paying your bills. He is against social programs like welfare and Medicare because that just encourages fat and lazy rabbits to live off the system. If a rabbit wants to improve his situation, then he can get a job like the rest of us. He has boundaries with social interactions too—while its one thing to be friendly with rabbits of other breeds, it’s a whole other thing to marry them or worship with them. They have their churches and we have ours. Besides, Racist likes his quiet church services—he’s not about to give that over to rabbits that like to sing for two hours and yell “amen” during the sermon. Racist is a little sexist too—he would never let a woman preach a sermon to him. Women teach other women and children only. But when our church decided to send out missionaries to other countries, Racist was all for sending women to do the job. He figures those uncivilized savages (men and women) are like children, so it doesn't hurt to have a woman teach them.
A quote from Racist Rabbit: “There are certain things you don’t do, and marrying out of your breed is one of them.”
Reactionary rabbit is uncomfortable with stuff that’s new or different. Her response is to freak out and turn into a wall of opposition. When new people visit our church (especially if they have strange colored fur or piercings), Reactionary judges them right away. If someone proposes a new program or ministry, Reactionary is likely to give a long speech as to why that won’t work. Reactionary is especially resistant to change and is quite vocal in her opposition to it.
A quote from Reactionary Rabbit: “Some “ministries” are ridiculous—all they do is invalidate what the rest of us are doing.”
Remember-all rabbit has a memory better than an elephant’s. She never forgets a person’s past, and the worst it is, the likelier Remember-all is to bring it up. Know that belief that Christ forgives us and doesn’t care about what we did? Remember-all doesn’t endorse that kind of thinking. If a person stole some lunch money when they were a kid, Remember-all will make darn sure that person never becomes the church treasurer (even though they are grown up now). She also remembers all the failures of our church (odd—she doesn’t remember the successes). One time Radical rabbit suggested a plan to get some new rabbits to attend our church. After Reactionary blasted Radical’s idea, Remember-all informed her that we tried that already—thirty years ago. It didn’t work. If you are seeking freedom and forgiveness, and want a new life in Christ, you probably shouldn’t befriend Remember-all.
A quote from Remember-all Rabbit: “Our church is full of sinners. Oh they say they’ve changed, but I know they haven’t. All you have to do is look at their past to know the truth.”
Well, that’s our story for what it’s worth. You may think it’s not that big a deal what happens to us since we’re only a bunch of rabbits, but imagine what might happen if those church folks up above us were turned loose on other people.