16 December 2006

by Martin Bell (The Way Of The Wolf | 1970 | published by Ballantine Books, New York, NY)
It is reproduced here with written permission from the author | www.barringtonbunny.com

Once upon a time, in a large forest, there lived a very furry bunny. He had one lop ear, a tiny black nose, and unusually shiny eyes. His name was Barrington. Barrington was not really a very handsome bunny. He was brown and speckled, and his ears didn’t stand up right. But he could hop, and he was, as I have said, very furry.

In a way, winter is fun for bunnies. After all, it gives them an opportunity to hop in the snow and then turn around to see where they have hopped. So, in a way, winter was fun for Barrington.

But in another way, winter made Barrington sad. For, you see, winter marked the time when all of the animal families got together in their cozy homes to celebrate Christmas. He could hop, and he was very furry. But as far as Barrington knew, he was the only bunny in the forest. When Christmas Eve finally came, Barrington did not feel like going home all by himself. So he decided he would hop for a while in the clearing in the center of the forest.

Hop. Hop. Hippity-hop. Barrington made tracks in the fresh snow. Hop. Hop. Hippity-hop. Then he cocked his head and looked back at the wonderful designs he had made.

“Bunnies,” he thought to himself, “can hop. And they are very warm, too, because of how furry they are.” (But Barrington didn’t really know whether or not this was true of all bunnies, since he had never met another bunny.)

When it got too dark to see the tracks he was making, Barrington made up his mind to go home. On his way, however, he passed a large oak tree. High in the branches, there was a great deal of excited chattering going on. Barrington looked up. It was a squirrel family! What a marvelous time they seemed to be having.

“Hello, up there,” called Barrington.

“Hello, down there,” came the reply.

“Having a Christmas party?” asked Barrington.

“Oh, yes!” answered the squirrels. “It’s Christmas Eve. Everybody is having a Christmas party!”

“May I come to your party?” said Barrington softly.

“Are you a squirrel?”


“What are you, then?”

“A bunny.”

“A bunny?”


“Well, how can you come to the party if you’re a bunny? Bunnies can’t climb trees.”

“That’s true,” said Barrington thoughtfully. “But I can hop, and I’m very furry and warm.”

“We’re sorry,” called the squirrels. “We don’t know anything about hopping and being furry, but we do know that in order to come to our house, you have to be able to climb trees.”

“Oh, well,” said Barrington. “Merry Christmas.”

“Merry Christmas,” chattered the squirrels.

And the unfortunate bunny hopped off toward his tiny house. It was beginning to snow when Barrington reached the river. Near the river-bank was a wonderfully constructed house of sticks and mud. Inside there was singing.

“It’s the beavers,” thought Barrington. “Maybe they will let me come to their party.” And so he knocked on the door.

“Who’s out there?” called a voice.

“Barrington Bunny,” he replied. There was a long pause and then a shiny beaver head broke the water.

“Hello, Barrington,” said the beaver.

“May I come to your Christmas Party?” asked Barrington.

The beaver thought for a while, and then he said, “I suppose so. Do you know how to swim?”

“No,” said Barrington, “but I can hop, and I am very furry and warm.”

“Sorry,” said the beaver. “I don’t know anything about hopping and being furry, but I do know that in order to come to our house, you have to be able to swim.”

“Oh, well,” Barrington muttered, his eyes filling with tears. “I suppose that’s true … Merry Christmas.”

“Merry Christmas,” called the beaver. And he disappeared beneath the surface of the water.

Even being as furry as he was, Barrington was beginning to get cold. And the snow was falling so hard that his tiny, bunny eyes could scarcely see what was ahead of him. He was almost home, however, when he heard the excited squeaking of field mice beneath the ground. “It’s a party,” thought Barrington. And suddenly he blurted out through his tears, “Hello, field mice. This is Barrington Bunny. May I come to your party?”

But the wind was howling so loudly and Barrington was sobbing so much that no one heard him. And when there was no response at all, Barrington just sat down in the snow and began to cry with all his might.

“Bunnies,” he thought, “aren’t any good to anyone. What good is it to be furry and to be able to hop if you don’t have any family on Christmas Eve?” Barrington cried and cried. When he stopped crying, he began to bite on his bunny’s foot, but he did not move from where he was sitting in the snow.

Suddenly, Barrington was aware that he was not alone. He looked up and strained his shiny eyes to see who was there. To his surprise, he saw a great silver wolf. The wolf was large and strong, and his eyes flashed fire. He was the most beautiful animal Barrington had ever seen.

For a long time, the silver wolf didn’t say anything at all. He just stood there and looked at Barrington with those terrible eyes.

Then slowly and deliberately the wolf spoke. Barrington,” he asked in a gentle voice, “why are you sitting in the snow?”

“Because it’s Christmas Eve,” said Barrington, “and I don’t have any family, and bunnies aren’t any good to anyone.”

“Bunnies are, too, good,” said the wolf. “Bunnies can hop, and they are very warm.”

“What good is that?” Barrington sniffed.

“It is very good indeed,” the wolf went on, “because it is a gift that bunnies are given, a free gift with no strings attached. And every gift that is given to anyone is given for a reason. Someday you will see why it is good to hop and to be warm and furry.”

“But it’s Christmas,” moaned Barrington, “and I’m all alone. I don’t have any family at all.”

“Of course you do,” replied the great silver wolf. “All of the animals in the forest are your family.” And then the wolf disappeared. He simply wasn’t there. Barrington had only blinked his eyes, and when he looked — the wolf was gone.

“All of the animals in the forest are my family,” thought Barrington. ” It’t good to be a bunny. Bunnies can hop. That’s a gift.” And then he said it again. “A gift. A free gift.”

On into the night, Barrington worked. First he found the best stick that he could. (And that was difficult because of the snow.) Then hop. Hop. Hippity-hop. To beaver’s house. He left the stick just outside the door. With a note on it that read: “Here is a good stick for your house. It is a gift. A free gift. No strings attached. Signed, a member of your family.”

“It is a good thing that I can hop,” he thought, “because the snow is very deep.” Then Barrington dug and dug. Soon he had gathered together enough dead leaves and grass to make the squirrels’ nest warmer. Hop. Hop. Hippity-hop. He laid the grass and leaves just under the large oak tree and attached this message: “A gift. A free gift. From a member of your family.”

It was late when Barrington finally started home. And what make things worse was that he knew a blizzard was beginning. Hop. Hop. Hippity-hop. Soon poor Barrington was lost. The wind howled furiously, and it was very, very cold. “It certainly is cold,” he said out loud. “It’s a good thing I’m so furry. But if I don’t find my way home pretty soon, even I might freeze!”

“Squeak. Squeak….”

And then he saw it … a baby field mouse lost in the snow. And the little mouse was crying. “Hello, little mouse,” Barrington called. “Don’t cry. I’ll be right there.” Hippity-hop, and Barrington was beside the tiny mouse.

“I’m lost,” sobbed the little fellow. “I’ll never find my way home, and I know I’m going to freeze.”

“You won’t freeze,” said Barrington. “I’m a bunny, and bunnies are very furry and warm. You stay right where you are, and I’ll cover you up.”

Barrington lay on top of the little mouse and hugged him tight. The tiny fellow felt himself surrounded by warm fur. He cried for a while, but soon, snug and warm, he fell asleep.

Barrington had only two thoughts that long, cold night. First he thought, “It’s good to be a bunny. Bunnies are very furry and warm.” And then, when he felt the heart of the tiny mouse beneath him beating regularly, he thought, “All of the animals in the forest are my family.”

Next morning, the field mice found their little boy, asleep in the snow, warm and snug beneath the furry carcass of a dead bunny. Their relief and excitement were so great that they didn’t even think to question where the bunny had come from.

And as for the beavers and the squirrels, they still wonder which member of their family left the little gifts for them that Christmas Eve.

After the field mice had left, Barrington’s frozen body simply lay in the snow. There was no sound except that of the howling wind. And no one anywhere in the forest noticed the great silver wolf who came to stand beside that brown, lop-eared carcass.

But the wolf did come. And he stood there. Without moving or saying a word. All Christmas Day. Until it was night.

And then he disappeared into the forest.


Godspeed to all of us who are finding our way in the snow this Christmas season.


Gregg Lamm

09 December 2006


Read SECOND PETER 1:12-13-3:1 ...

God’s WORD is full of reminders. Through it, God wants to “refresh our memories” and “stimulate us to wholesome thinking”. And if there was ever anyone who knew the importance of being reminded of the simple truths over again, it was Peter.

HEBREWS 4:12 says, “The WORD of God is living and active, sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.”

Through His WORD, God wants to prune us (see JOHN 15) and refine us and “conform us into the image of His Son, Jesus Christ.”
You know what? The world needs to see Christians who are willing to live out their faith and their beliefs in ways that are uncompromising, consistent and rooted in faithfulness.

The world wants to see, no, needs to see followers of Jesus Christ who are equipped to show what it means to “take up their cross and follow Jesus”.

The world wants to see, no, needs to see who are equipped to show the world what it means to “die to self and be alive in Christ”.

The world wants to see, no, needs to see who are equipped to show the world what it means to “not be ashamed of the Gospel of Jesus Christ” because they believe with everything they’ve got that “it is the power of God unto salvation."

The world wants to see, no, needs to see the world is dying to see men and women and young people who are ready, willing and able to show the world what it means to “stand for Truth — and for the One who is Truth — in an age of compromise.

The world needs to see, no, needs to see the witness of people who understand and make it their goal to follow Paul’s admonition to Timothy when he wrote:

“Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a workman who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly handles the word of truth.” (SECOND TIMOTHY 2:15 | NIV) “Work hard so God can say to you, ‘Well done.’ Be a good workman, one who does not need to be ashamed when God examines your work. Know what his Word says and means ... and do it.” (SECOND TIMOTHY 2:15 | THE LIVING BIBLE)

The world needs to see folks who know God and the power of His WORD. People who are letting the WORD wash them (EPHESIANS 5:25-26) and people who are letting the WORD of God sanctify them ... who are letting the WORD of God mature them and bring them into a place of holiness ... people who are willing, above all other choices available to them, to set themselves apart for God’s exclusive use (JOHN 17:17).


Which brings me to what I'm wanting to focus on in my next few blog postings ... from PSALM 1 ...

The book of PSALMS is an ancient Hebrew hymn-book. A nd it’s filled with all kinds of music. Duets, choir anthems and solos ... and it’s music that’s written for all kinds of occasions — in thanksgiving, in confession, in depression, in joy, in pain.

116 out of the 150 of the Psalms have superscriptions. These are little sub-titles that tell us something about the occasion of their writing ... or about who wrote them, or who they were written for, or other interesting facts. PSALM 1 doesn’t have one a superscription, but that’s okay, because it’s kind of like the front door or the main entrance to the entire book of PSALMS.

PSALM 1 is a message about the results to two choices: choosing righteousness and faithfulness OR choosing unrighteousness and compromise. In this world, for every action, there’s an equal and positive reaction — I won’t take credit for that deep, profound, statement ... because actually a fuzzy haired mathematician from the Princeton Institute of Advanced Studies, named Albert Einstein said it a long time ago — but what’s true in the natural is also true in the spiritual — and as GALATIANS 6:7-8 puts it this way ...

“Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows. The one who sows to please his sinful nature, from that nature will reap destruction; the one who sows to please the Spirit, from the Spirit will reap eternal life." (see also PROVERBS 11:18; 22:8).

So on the one hand we have righteousness and faithfulness and on the other hand we have unrighteousness and compromise. The choice is up to us. As we get into this study we’ll see about what it means to be righteous ... about how to make that your goal and then what the results of that choice will be.

But what about compromise? Since this PSALM is warning us to stay away from it, what does compromise mean?

Compromise here doesn’t mean the kind of “give and take” needed for negotiation to take place. Rather, it’s “actively choosing unrighteousness.” It’s allowing ourselves, in small ways, to lose ground with God and gain ground with the world. It’s like decay. And especially, for Christ-followers, it’s putting on an outward air of spirituality when inwardly we’re dying and eroding because of sin we’re allowing to have a foothold in our lives.

Compromise is a form of blasphemy — because usually when people are doing it, they’re in denial that they’re doing it ... they’re just going along like everything’s great between them and God ... but it isn’t. Scott Peck has this definition for blasphemy ... “Blasphemy is using the name of God, when you aren’t in relationship with God, for the purpose of pretending you are.”

When I was a kid my family rented a very old house in SE Portland ... in 1962 it was 107 years old ... it a couple blocks north of 34th and Hawthorne. When we moved in my mom and dad loved the house because of the way it looked — three stories, Victorian trimmings, tall ceilings, ornate lighting fixtures, etc ... But it didn’t take long before we noticed that everything wasn’t what it seemed to be.

When we’d spill milk in the kitchen it would all run into one corner ... a tilting floor. When we tried to open the windows in the Spring, they’d stick half-way up ... uneven walls. One day when my mom was out on the front porch ... she went through the front porch ... dry rot.

I’m here to tell you ... this house wasn’t even in the category of “fixer-upper” ... it was more like a “tearer-downer”. If Bob Villas saw this house he’d say “This old house gotta go.”

And the reason was that the foundation was made of wood and for years it had been eaten away by termites to the point that the whole house was shifting and sagging. Basically the foundation was gone — and the termites were now in the walls, clear up to the second story.

And you know what? That’s the way it is with compromise. Slowly, almost imperceptibly, one rationalization leads to another, which triggers a series of equally damaging alterations in a life that was once stable, strong and reliable. And that’s what David is writing to here in PSALM 1 ... as he’s urging you and me to resist even the slightest temptation to compromise our convictions.