Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Cow Tipping

Much to my amazement, cow tipping has been debunked as simply an urban (rural) myth.

Apparently tipping a cow is not likely for these reasons:

1. According to studies on the physics of cow-tipping, because of a cow's mass and center of gravity, it would be very difficult to tip, even for several people working together.

2. Cows are not easy to sneak up on. If startled, they quickly communicate to the rest of the herd that something is amiss.

3. Finally, attempting to tip a cow is a patently dangerous activity. Despite their reputation for being placid and slow-moving, a cow is easily capable of hurting someone when provoked or nervous.


There are a few sacred cows that I wouldn't mind tipping.

At the risk of being listed beside Spencer Burke in the dictionary under heretic, I'll list a few of the things that I don't necessarily believe in:

Church government
Church membership
Church discipline
Pastors as clergy
Sermons
Church titles and positions
Tithing

Now I'm not saying that these things are wrong or that we should quit all of them. I am saying that they are more traditional than scriptural. I believe that rather than maintaining their status as sacred cows, it is worth examining their usefulness and fruitfulness in our current structures.

My main concerns would be dealing with how these traditions can produce passivity among the body, bring issues of power to kingdom relationships, and interfere with the growth and health of relationships.

A couple of recent posts that I've read, willing to take on some of the sacred traditions are Dan Kimball's recent post Pews, Pulpits, Pastors, Preaching and other things that can get in the way of the church "being" the church and Raborn Johnson's post called Our church...God's Intention? Be sure to check out the comments also on Raborn's post, lots of interesting dialogue there. (HT to Steve)

Back to the subject of cow tipping -- it might not be possible, and it could be dangerous.

15 comments:

aBhantiarna Solas said...

LOL ... Grace, this is excellent!!

And, completely off topic, did you see "Cars"?

Cindy said...

i like this grace. i'm following your links now. as you're aware, there are a couple of sacred cows stepping all over my feet these days. i'm not so much interested in tipping them as just turning them into hamburger. :-)

Jamie Arpin-Ricci said...

Grace,

Brilliant transition from cow tipping into sacred cow tipping. I think your list is a good one.

Peace,
Jamie

Anonymous said...

I love the way you look at things. Your insight always makes me smile.

I will be sure to check out your links.

Robbymac said...

Two things:

(A) Cow-tipping is passe and, as you have documented here, a myth.

Tractor-tipping is the wave of the future. Yeah, they're heavy, but they don't charge blindly nor can they poop on your foot.

(B) I'd love to hear a deconstruction and reconstruction (redemption?) of the things you listed. You have such great insights.

And I think you're no threat to Spencer's status. :)

Alan Knox said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Alan Knox said...

Grace,
I've just run across your blog through Steve Sensenig's. The first few posts indicate that we are on a similar journey. You are tackling some "heavy" subjects: church government, membership, discipline... Perhaps "cow tipping" would not be as "heavy" nor as dangerous.
Alan

PJ said...

Oh my roommate and fellow traveler in the finding our way through the church mess would love to hear what you have to say about the sacred cow of tithing. She is a firm believer that tithing is not what we make it out to be. It's not that we shouldn't, but is it really a curse upon us and are we going to hell if we don't tithe? So begin tipping those sacred cows.

Raborn Johnson said...

Grace,

Thanks for the link! Feel free to join in the conversations we are having! I personally would love to see the demise of pretty much every "sacred cow" you listed. Could it be that we are on the edge of a sacred cookout?

grace said...

abhantiarna,
I'll be seeing Cars in a week and a half. I bought matinee tickets for myself and my girls. This week is Over the Hedge.

cindy,
Hamburger might be appropriate for a few of them.

jamie,
Thanks! It's always nice to see you around these parts. :)

Lily,
I feel the same way about reading your blog.

robby,
I'm not a physics genius, but it seems that tractors might not be conducive to tipping. Maybe we should try snipe-hunting.

Your second part would be a piece of cake, IF I had it all figured out. I've read lots of good stuff from people who are further along in this journey than I am.

I might slap a few of those sacred cows, but I don't think I have the theological weight to tip one.

alan,
It's nice to meet you. I guess I'm hoping that maybe someone else will tip them first.

Hi pj,
Brother Maynard at Subversive Influence (it's on my blogroll) did a great post on tithing several posts ago. You might want to find it to show your roommate.

Raborn,
It's nice to meet you. I've actually revisited your post several times. You expressed my own ideas really well, and I didn't have much to add. You also have some great, well-spoken commentors. Love the idea of a sacred cookout!

John Frye said...

Grace,
My question is: HOw did these cows get in with all the sheep? I thought was to be sheep and goats; not sheep and cows.

Great post! Radical Grace!

Pam Hogeweide said...

I don't like cows.

Lew Ayotte said...

Hey Grace,

Alan Knox just sent me a link to your blog... it is good to see more people on a similar spiritual journey.

I will be keeping an eye on your blog... god speed.

Lew

Robbymac said...

Grace,

Once you're seen "Cars", it will all make sense...

Although the mental picture of you slapping cows is pretty amusing!

grace said...

john,
I guess that just proves those cows are unscriptural. I've really enjoyed your latest series of posts.

lew,
It's nice to meet you. I'm always happy to add another friend to my bloglines.

Pam and robby, :)