Church in the Hundred Acre Wood - Introduction

This post is part of the church in the hundred acre wood series (click to view the other posts in this series).

In 1926, A.A. Milne wrote the book, “Winnie-the-Pooh.”  In it, the beloved characters Christopher Robin, Winnie-the-Pooh, Piglet, Eeyore, Owl, Rabbit, Kanga, and Roo were all introduced.  The famously “bouncy” Tigger made his debut in the sequel, “The House at Pooh Corner.”  These characters, books, and later, movie adaptations, have grown to be a familiar sight in any home with young children. The stories are loved for their simple humor, insight into relationships, and just plain childlike fun.  The characters are all different from one another, playing their own roles within their life and community of the Hundred Acre Wood.  Pooh is loved for his simplicity, his love for “hunny,” his silliness, and his love for his friends.  Eeyore is highly intelligent but much more known for his gloomy disposition.  Tigger, well, you know Tigger.  he’s “the only one.”  Piglet is always wondering what might happen today.  Rabbit, along with Owl, are the two “real” animals depicted in these wonderful books.  They aren’t filled with fluff but are both considered to have brains.  Rabbit thinks highly of his leadership skills and loves to plan and organize outings or adventures, even if to no avail.  Owl is never shy to give his opinion and sees himself, and is seen by others, as one to be called upon for advice.  Kanga and Roo are a mother and son duo.  Kanga is the loving mother who dotes on Roo and takes very special care of her son, warning of all the dangers that might be faced in the Hundred Acre Wood.  Roo is the familiar child who upon the warnings of a loving mother often responds, “But Momma!”  He is the youngest of all the characters.  And then there’s Christopher Robin.  He is a friend to all the characters of the Hundred Acre Wood, but closest to the stories’ namesake, Winnie the Pooh.  He is often seen helping and even rescuing the other characters.  But he is still, even with the other things he might be, a character, a member of the Hundred Acre Wood.  His socks are uneven, he loves birthday parties, and he loves doing “nothing.” 

What in the world (or “Wood”) does this have to do with a theology blog?  With the weighty issues and subjects such as covenant theology, the resurrection of Christ, justification and union with Christ, Old Testament types and shadows, all represented here on this blog site – why this?  How does this fit?  In one of my previous series I wrote about Israel and the Church – an issue in Ecclesiology (the doctrine of the church).  This is an issue of Ecclesiology as well – dealing with relationships (and the importance of them) within the life of the church.  In the Hundred Acre Wood there was often struggle.  There were times of conflict and times of misunderstanding.  There were times of simple pleasure and enjoyment. There were times of great rejoicing and celebration.  And all the while, the characters of the Hundred Acre Wood formed a family; a Community.  With all their differences, there was a deep and abiding sense of love between the characters.

And for those on the outside, for the reader, or for the viewer, while there may have been favorites, the characters were loved by those who read about them or watched them.  And they were not only loved in spite of their differences, but loved all the more because of their differences.   Do you see now where I’m heading? 

I have the precious privilege of ministering to a particular church in Northwest Arkansas called Trinity Grace Church.  I have grown to deeply love the people in this church.  And in this church, we are, indeed, different – men, women, and children with different gifts, different personalities, different passions, different interests, and different backgrounds.  Within every particular church and within the body of Christ as a whole, there are different gifts given and there are different personalities represented.   Paul says in I Corinthians 12:14-27:

“For the body does not consist of one member but of many.  If the foot should say, ‘Because I am not a hand, I do not belong to the body.’ that would not make it any less a part of the body.  And if the ear should say, ‘Because I am not an eye, I do not belong to the body,’ that would not make it any less part of the body.  If the whole body were an eye, where would be the sense of hearing?  If the whole body were an ear, where would be the sense of smell?  But as it is, God arranged the members in the body, each one of them, as he chose.  If all were a single member, where would the body be?  As it is, there are many parts, yet one body.  The eye cannot say to the hand, ‘I have no need of you,’ nor again the head to the feet, ‘I have no need of you.’  On the contrary, the parts of the body that seem to be weaker are indispensable, and on those parts of the body that we think less honorable we bestow the greater honor, and our unpresentable parts are treated with greater modesty, which our more presentable parts do not require.  But God has so composed the body, giving greater honor to the part that lacked it, that there may be no division in the body, but that the members may have the same care for one another.  If one member suffers, all suffer together; if one member is honored, all rejoice together.”  

So, how can we truly love one another within the life of the church?  How can we honor one another without excusing sin or justifying sin by calling it a “personality trait”?  How can we minister to one another understanding and appreciating our differences?  How can we do all these things so that one “looking in” would stand in wonder that so many people that are so different could live in harmony as one body?  How can we do these things that we, as the church, might do that which we are called to do and bring honor and glory to the Name of the Living Christ? 

To answer all those questions sounds like a pretty tall order doesn’t it?  I don’t pretend that I’ll answer all these questions in a blog series.  I don’t imagine that using an illustration from the Hundred Acre Wood could capture all the wonder and glory of the communion of saints.  But I do hope, if you’ll hang with me (and I must admit I’m a little nervous about committing to such a project) throughout this blog that God might use it to help develop and nurture in you, and me, a deep love for, and appreciation of, the people of God.  My hope is that as we take a look at each of these wonderful, lovely characters in the Hundred Acre Wood that we would begin to pray that God would help us appreciate, minister to, and truly love, the Poohs, the Piglets, the Tiggers, the Eeyores, the Owls, the Rabbits, the Kangas, the Roos, and the Christopher Robins in our midst.  For after all, it takes a……Wood? 


Photo Credit:; Copyright Disney All Rights Reserved

This post is part of the church in the hundred acre wood series (click to view the other posts in this series).