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Guinea pigs and God

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A number of years ago, while ministering in Lima, Peru, Ric Jacobs and I and two students were invited into the home of an older couple. Their home was the residence of numerous pigeons, ducks, dogs, and some 50 guinea pigs. After talking, they insisted that we return the next day to dine with t…
By Seth Barnes

A number of years ago, while ministering in Lima, Peru, Ric Jacobs and I and two students were invited into the home of an older couple. Their home was the residence of numerous pigeons, ducks, dogs, and some 50 guinea pigs.

guinea pigs 1After talking, they insisted that we return the next day to dine with them. When we did, we discovered that our hostess had cooked up four of her finest guinea pigs. This was a traumatic experience for Ric, who has one back home for a pet.

As all good missionaries do, however, we ate what was set before us with aplomb (though there were several instances when we distracted our hosts enough to feed the greasy skin to a nearby dog). Our conversation went on and on after lunch.

The couple’s legalistic religious experience was so typical of what our groups encounter in conversations around the world. Everywhere people try to reduce God to a ritual or procedure giving them safe, regular, predictable access to a God who is neither safe nor predictable.

This couple, so gracious in their hospitality, so warm in their demeanor, could not get past their view of a remote deity. While so often we see God meeting the cry of hearts hungry for Him, on this occasion, we walked away glad for the new friends, but praying that God would show Himself to be as warm and accessible as the couple was to us.

This seems to be my frequent prayer for people who are stuck in their faith-walk. Something has blocked them from seeing God as a loving Father. Some religious nut somewhere told them that God is holding them to a standard that they know in their heart of hearts they can never meet.

Of course this isn’t the good news that Jesus preached. He came to set the captives free. And our job, once we’re set free is to eat guinea pig and love others, showing them a different God than the one they’ve been shown.

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