Engage

Shoving Chickens and Other Bad Examples

Bible Story Bob wore his cowboy hat, orange button down, jeans, and boots. He was regaling the four and five year olds with the story of Abraham being called to another land—explaining to them what a traveling caravan was and telling them about trusting in God to take care of them as Abraham did. The traveling caravan contained Susan (an adult), Big Puddin (a second grader in a full horse costume including big head and tail), Clucky (a fourth grader in a full chicken costume including head and wings), and a red wagon heaped up with boxes.

Bible Story Bob wore his cowboy hat, orange button down, jeans, and boots. He was regaling the four and five year olds with the story of Abraham being called to another land—explaining to them what a traveling caravan was and telling them about trusting in God to take care of them as Abraham did. The traveling caravan contained Susan (an adult), Big Puddin (a second grader in a full horse costume including big head and tail), Clucky (a fourth grader in a full chicken costume including head and wings), and a red wagon heaped up with boxes.

Every Sunday, we do a skit to teach the kids the Bible, and every Sunday, we do it four times (twice per service with different kids each time). Well, things went smoothly the first time that particular caravan Sunday. Then the second time came around, and it became apparent that Big Puddin and Clucky both wanted to pull the wagon. The hoof and the wing were both grabbing at the handle. Surely, they’ll stop, I think. Yeah, they stopped grabbing, and then Big Puddin started pushing.

“Kick him, Big Puddin,” yelled one of the kids.

It was at this point that I ran up there and handed Big Puddin a suitcase while telling him that we needed him to carry it rather than pull the wagon. The chicken and horse were ok then except that someone had to get one more small shove in and ended up knocking off all the boxes. I hoped the chaos of boxes would be the thing most of the kids remembered—not the shoving.

Then the caravan reloaded and went to the other side of the stage. As I saw Big Puddin and Clucky going at it yet again, I ran up and whispered, “Children are watching you. You are setting a bad example. Stop it now.” Thankfully, they did.

But truthfully, if you’ve never seen a four foot horse on two legs and a four and a half foot chicken on two claws scuffling in front of four and five year olds, you’ve missed something rather amusing, in an awkward sort of way (please no confessions from those who’ve wanted to see Barney and Baby Bop start throwing some punches).

When taking the second grader back to his room, he asked me why second graders can’t normally volunteer for this particular job (his mom had dropped him off to fill in for his sick, fifth grade brother). I mentioned that he was a little bit short for the costume and also that sometimes second graders try to fight with the chicken. He sighed, told me it was his turn to pull, and entered his room.

As I pondered this particular Sunday (once I got over the giggles), I was struck by how many people had seen this little scuffle. How there are people always watching. And I began to wonder what I look like when I’m pulling for what I think is mine. Because let’s be honest, we’ve  all shoved a big chicken at least once in our lives.

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Jamie Lath

Jamie Lath is a middle child that has no baby picture without her older sister in it. Even with only two siblings, she grew up with family everywhere because all her aunts, uncles, grandparents, cousins, and even second-cousins lived in her hometown. With forty people at her birthday parties (all relatives) and her sister in every picture, she knows a little about community, and it's everlastingness. This has brought most of her ministry focus into meeting people where they're at, listening closely (especially to those who feel voiceless and like no one is listening), and helping them find God's voice in the mix. Jamie graduated with a BA in Communication Studies from the University of North Texas. Following a year of teaching English in China, she returned to the states to attend Dallas Theological Seminary. She received a Th.M. with a focus on Media Arts. Her background in the arts (ballet, writing, and acting) has given her an understanding of how creative expressions can give people a safe place to begin exploring how to use their voice and how it can touch hearts to hear God’s voice. She also blogs at I just called to say "Olive Juice."