The Corinthian Hokey-Cokey – A toddler’s body of Christ

There’s an online community called The Alchemy Project which does nothing so boring and dull as turning base-metals into gold. Instead, The Alchemy Project looks at creative ways to explore the bible.

So when they recently encouraged their readers to retell a passage of the bible using a playlist of between 4 and 8 songs, it seemed impossible for “God’s Toddler” not to try…with toddler-style songs.

The following playlist is inspired by 1 Corinthians 12:12-31. I hope you do the actions.

2015-04-07 Humpty DumptyHumpty Dumpty

This song gives a great background to 1 Corinthians. It’s written by the apostle Paul to a church with deep internal divisions. The church is elitist and unjust. It seems to have combined the worst excesses of anything bad we’ve ever seen or heard in a church.

It almost seems pointless even writing. From the viewpoint of any objective observer, all the king’s horses and all the king’s men couldn’t put the church in Corinth together again.

Dry Bones

OK, so I’ve cheated here by using a children’s song which is explicitly biblical. But I’m a toddler. We’re whimsical like that.

The song that tells us that the toe-bone’s connected to the foot-bone and so on mirrors the bible’s account of a guy called Ezekiel and his vision of a valley of dry bones. “Son of man,” God asks him, “can these bones live?”

Then God breathes, and where a moment ago were dry bones, stands a vast army of living, breathing people.

We’ve seen irreparable bits of broken eggshell; a Humpty-Dumpty divided church; a valley of dry bones. Paul starts talking about what happens when God’s spirit breathes…

Two fat gentlemen

“For we were all baptised by one spirit so as to form one body – whether Jews or Gentiles, slave or free.”

This is not a great song if you struggle with finger coordination. Two fat gentlemen (your thumbs) bow to one another, followed by thin ladies, tall policemen and so forth until all of your fingers have bowed to one another.

Here we’re reminded that, whether Jews, Gentiles, slaves, free, fat gentlemen, thin ladies, tall policemen, little schoolboys or little babies, we are all fingers on the same hands.

Go on. Do the actions. You know you want to.

Heads, shoulders, knees and toes

“God has placed the parts in the body, every one of them, just as he wanted them to be.”

Yep. All in their place. Keep doing the actions. Point at the parts of your body. Point at your head.  Point at your shoulders. Point at your knees. Point at your toes. All in their places.

Now point at the wonderful people in the church in the fantastic places God has called them. I know it’s rude to point, but we’re toddlers so we’ll do it anyway. Point them out and celebrate them.

One finger / One thumb

“You are the body of Christ, and each one of you is a part of it. God has placed in the church apostles, prophets, teachers, miracles, gifts of healing, of helping, of guidance, and of different kinds of tongues.”

OK, so we’ve established we’re all part of Christ body…but he calls us to DO something with that fact. He appoints us to be apostles, or prophets, or teachers…but – finger or thumb – to keep moving!

Hokey Cokey

“And now I will show you the most excellent way…”

The Hokey Cokey is apocryphally attributed to the Latin “Hoc est enim corpus meum” – or “this is my body” from the Catholic mass. This has on occasion been used as an anti-Catholic taunt, but along with all of God’s Toddlers I would like to take this opportunity to reclaim the joy of the Hokey Cokey and turn its reputed origin on its head.

Because it is in this passage that we acknowledge that we are Christ’s body.

Now is the time, as are all times… this is the place, as are all places… for Catholics and Protestants, Conservatives and Progressives, Evangelicals and Liberals to join hands and, with joyful abandon and celebrating the fact that while we are different we are part of Christ’s body, do the Hokey Cokey.

© Text 2015 Paul Brownnutt

Creative Commons License

Being God’s Toddler by Paul Brownnutt is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.

Today’s post was brought to you by 1 Corinthians 12:12-31 with a cameo appearance from Ezekiel 37:1-14 

A culture of poo

The luck of the English
Many attempts have been made to describe the English. They have been described as “A nation of shopkeepers.”  They have been described as “The last ward of the European madhouse.”

But the most insightful may come from a German interrogator in the BBC comedy series Blackadder, who at one point exclaims:

How lucky you English are to find the toilet so amusing! For us it is a mundane and functional item. For you? The basis of an entire culture!

I’ve so far managed to steer this blog clear of the topic of poo. But the time has come to grasp the nettle, and broach another taboo. For, like the English, toddlers have a morbid fascination with the toilet. If you are of a nervous disposition, read on with care. And possibly breathe into a paper bag.

We have a slightly circuitous route to get there. We start with bedtime…



Bedtime routine
My routine for putting Dominic and Elías to bed in the evening is predictable in every way. First I will read them a story. Then I will ask whether they have had a nice day, and whether there is anything they want to thank God for. We will say a prayer (thanking God for mummy, the garden, Peppa Pig, Bakugans, or any of his other creations that have occurred to them) and I will bid them good night.

“No!” they will cry. “A lullaby, a lullaby!” And I will relent, and sing. Now, here I deviate from tradition. I disapprove leaving babies on treetops. It’s downright bad parenting.  Instead I will sing “How I hate the night” (by Marvin the paranoid android). Or perhaps “Into the west” (from Lord of the Rings)

And then, amid ongoing protest, I will finally take my leave.

But things can never be that simple.  One evening recently, I was performing this time honoured ritual, and asked “Is there anything you want to thank God for?”  They paused a few moments before Dominic suggested “Poo!”.  Elías agreed, and soon they were chanting “Poo! Poo! Poo! Poo!”  What was I to do?  We, very seriously, thanked God for poo.

And then I turned out the light, and began to do considerable disservice to the haunting strains of Into the West.

Sleep now, and dream of the ones who came before.

They are calling from across a distant shore.

Why do you weep?

“‘Why do you wee?’?” demanded Dominic.  I patiently put him right, but it was too late, and after two more minutes of Dominic hysterically crooning “Why do you wee?” I shook my head, gave up, and left them to it.  As I walked out I thought to myself “Think what they’re missing out on by being so obsessed with wee and poo!”


Spiritual poo

But here’s the thing.  I wonder how many times my heavenly father looks at me and says “Think what he’s missing out on by being so obsessed by poo!”  Obviously I’m not thinking about the contents of the toilet – I’ve passed that stage.  I’m thinking metaphorically.  I’m thinking of my obsession with the horrible smelly things of life.

You see, sometimes I can be obsessed with my differences with my brothers and sisters, rather than remembering what unites us.  I’m focussing on the horrible, and on the smelly.  I’m sidelining the lovely and the excellent.  I’m missing the haunting strains of God singing through them, as I shout “Why do you wee?”.  I’m obsessed with poo.

Similarly, every time I avidly soak up the stories in the news filled with fear and hate rather than looking for the loving hand of God in it all, that’s my obsession with poo.

When I’m prepared to be nasty to people to prove I’m right rather than focussing on being loving, that’s my obsession with poo.

And God, I suspect, shakes his head and sadly looks at everything I’m missing out on.  And he points me at the words of St Paul:

Whatever is true,

whatever is noble,

whatever is right,

whatever is pure,

whatever is lovely,

whatever is admirable,

if anything is excellent or praiseworthy…

Think about such things.

So perhaps the challenge to me is this: when I’m looking at the negative, focussing on fear or anger, to figuratively put the lid down, step back from the toilet and raise my eyes to focus on a much bigger God.


© Photo Heidi Blanton

© Text 2013 Paul Brownnutt

Creative Commons License

Being God’s Toddler by Paul Brownnutt is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.

Today’s post is brought to you by Philippians 4:8