Death And The Pillsbury Doughboy

Recently, on a hot afternoon in Arkansas, a woman was sitting in her car in a grocery store parking lot when she heard a loud pop followed by a sharp pain in the back of her head.

When she reached behind her to probe the damage, she felt something warm oozing down the back of her head. She concluded that she had been shot and in her hands she was holding the remnants of her brain.

To avoid any further bleeding and the possibility of her brains rushing out of her head, the woman held her hands tightly over the wound. Her only hope was that somebody would walk by her car, see her in her critical condition, and call an ambulance before she passed out and died.

A few long minutes later, a voice behind her asked, “Ma’am, are you OK?”

“I’ve been shot in the head,” she cried out, “and I’m holding my brains in.”

“Lady, I don’t think those are brains.”

The inquisitor then opened the rear car door and reached to grab something…

“A canister of Pillsbury biscuits in the back seat exploded from the heat and some of the dough hit you in the head.”

When people share their near-death experiences, surely this woman will talk about how the Pillsbury doughboy changed her life.

Death Is All Around Us

Death greatly impacts our lives. We all think about it, dream about it, and do anything we can to avoid it. We work out and eat right in order to delay its inevitable arrival. We lament the departure of our loved ones while watching movies that glorify the living dead, whom we call “zombies.”

Woody Allen once said, “I’m not afraid to die. I just don’t want to be there when it happens.”

Death is so extreme, so painful, so…final. When someone dies, you can’t go back and revive the person.

In Ezekiel 37, God escorts Ezekiel to the middle of a valley.  All around them, as far as the eye could see, are piles of bones. Not comatose bodies that can be revived. Not even decaying carcasses.  Dry bones

God and Ezekiel wade through the sea of bones before the Almighty asks his companion, “Can these bones become living people again?”

Assuming this was a trick question, Ezekiel replies, “God, you tell me!”

I can imagine Ezekiel was thinking What do you mean, “Can these bones become living people?”  I’ve seen you do some amazing things. You’ve given me words of prophecy that have been fulfilled. You’ve provided for me and protected me. But let’s get serious—raise the dead? From these dry bones?  God, I’m leaving the answer to that question up to you.

Later, God tells Ezekiel, “These bones are the people of Israel. They say, ‘Our bones are dried up and our hope is gone; we are cut off’” (v.11).

At the time, Israel was enslaved by the vastly superior Babylonians. Israel’s strongest and smartest were living in Babylon while the poor and uneducated were struggling to stay alive in what was left of their war-torn country.

The chances of Israel rising from the ashes was about the same as the chances of the dry bones returning to life. All hope was gone.

Then God instructed Ezekiel, “Prophesy to these bones and say to them, ‘Dry bones, hear the word of the Lord!’”

Soon Ezekiel heard a rattling sound from the bones coming together. Tendons appeared, then flesh, then skin. Bodies appeared everywhere, but they had no life.

The God instructed Ezekiel a second time: “Prophesy to the breath; prophesy, son of man, and say to it, ‘This is what the Sovereign Lord says: Come, breath, from the four winds and breathe into these slain, that they may live.’ ”

Suddenly, the bodies began to move. They stood to their feet fully alive. A valley of dry bones transformed into a vast army.

Where are you in this story?

How often do we encounter situations when we expect life, but instead, we experience death?

  • A miscarriage
  • You get laid off from your job
  • A bad investment buries you under an overwhelming load of debt
  • Your marriage fails to live up to your expectations
  • A lifelong dream dies a slow death

I have good news for you.

Just because you’re surrounded by dry bones doesn’t mean they’re going to stay that way. Regardless of what you feel and see, God knows your situation and he’s already at work. The results may not appear like you expect, but God is good, he’s powerful, and he knows what he’s doing.

Like the woman in her car who thought she was dying,  you may think you’re holding your life in your hands, but it’s only the remains of a Pillsbury dough mishap. Your life is in God’s hands.

At this point in our Lenten journey, death is all around us. We see the hopelessness of our own condition. But remember that Easter is coming.

Michael co-pastors The Neighborhood Church in Littleton, Colorado with Eugene Scott. If you live in the Denver, Colorado area, please join the for worship on Easter Sunday. You can learn more at http://www.tnc3.org.

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6 Comments

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6 responses to “Death And The Pillsbury Doughboy

  1. Linda G.

    When I was done laughing (dough vs. brains in the poor lady’s hands), I must say this was an excellent (and for me, timely!) post. Leave it to Klassen! Thanks Mike; I needed that!

  2. I love the story, too, Linda. Hilarious–and a timely word for me as well.

  3. Georgie-ann

    I love the little Pillsbury Doughboy,…he’s an appealing tyke!

    Just like the Earth itself, we have personal peace when we accept the inevitable seasonal cycles and the regular events of life as they unfold for and before us.

    Spring, summer, fall, winter, spring again, and so on,…there is an invisible “Something more” behind all the patterns — (filling, ordering, and replenishing the patterns) — and also wiser and so all-knowing. Death is ultimately NOT the “final” that we picture in the short run, nor is it ever the “last word” either. If we are patient, and yield our ever-so-exacting, demanding and dictatorial human hubris, our sinful self-focused power-hungry “tunnel-vision,” our limited mental understandings and rationales, and our stubborn fixated me-centered emotions, we just might catch a glimpse of this enduring “Something more:”

    Romans 8:35-38

    35 “Who shall ever separate us from Christ’s love? Shall suffering and affliction and tribulation? Or calamity and distress? Or persecution or hunger or destitution or peril or sword?

    36 “Even as it is written, ‘For Thy sake we are put to death all the day long; we are regarded and counted as sheep for the slaughter.’

    37 “Yet amid all these things we are more than conquerors and gain a surpassing victory through Him Who loved us.

    38 “For I am persuaded beyond doubt (am sure) that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities, nor things impending and threatening, nor things to come, nor powers,

    39 “Nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation will be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

    Now, THERE’S a Scriptural Promise you can take to the “spiritual bank!”

    Our modern scientists are bent on shredding every last bit of our visible/”studiable” lives into the smallest of shreds, pieces and tiny bits imaginable, as if we can learn “something more” from this compulsive atomic dissection process,…to “solve a mystery” that has been eluding us,…to find an infinitesimally small “god particle” that will somehow end up explaining everything! Is “it” going to speak to us?

    Let me ask you a relevant question: Are we usually better off AFTER the dog has torn up the newspaper into shreds, or BEFORE he mangles it, as far as being able to decipher and understand the intended meaning being communicated in that newspaper? Could we possibly currently be so overly fixated on extracting data from random minutia — (and continually “looking in all the wrong places”) — that we will fail to understand anything at all that is relevant to the broad experiential questions and integrated consciousness that is necessary to understand the real meaning of life,…and the beyond?

    Our souls languish,…while our minds are co-opted and duped,…distracted and dismayed,…and ultimately disobedient.

    PROFESSING THEMSELVES WISE, THEY BECAME FOOLS:
    Romans 1:20-25 (excerpts)
    20 “For the invisible things of him since the creation of the world are clearly seen, being perceived through the things that are made, even his everlasting power and divinity; that they may be without excuse:

    21 “because that, knowing God, they glorified him not as God, neither gave thanks; but became vain in their reasonings, and their senseless heart was darkened.

    22 “Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools, …

    25 “for that they exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshipped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed for ever. Amen.”

    REVEALED TO LITTLE ONES:
    Matthew 11:25 “At that time Jesus began to say, “I thank You, Father, Lord of heaven and earth [and I acknowledge openly and joyfully to Your honor], that You have hidden these things from the wise and clever and learned, and revealed them to babies [to the childish, untaught, and unskilled].”

    STRAIN GNATS, SWALLOW CAMELS:
    Matthew 23:23 “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you pay tithe of mint and anise and cummin, and have neglected the weightier matters of the law: justice and mercy and faith. These you ought to have done, without leaving the others undone. 24 Blind guides, who strain out a gnat and swallow a camel!”

    NOTHING NEW UNDER THE SUN:
    Ecclesiastes 1:9 “That which has been is what will be, That which is done is what will be done, And there is nothing new under the sun.”

  4. Georgie-ann

    Gradually, “moderns” have basically been proposing more and more insistently that “living life” is a(n indisputable) science and calculated “knowing” process,…more or less,…a science where even more science — continually adding on — will keep on proving that an unending “progress” is definitely within our engineering capabilities (social, political, mechanical, pharmaceutical, medical, etc. etc.) and control,…mind control, information control, diversion control, blah blah blah,…if you “love” our hypnotic gadgets and techno “promises promises” depicted in ever-glowing sensational electronic technicolor, and bargain basement prices, just “hang tight” and “stay tuned,” as the “best is yet to come”,…

    Pardon me, while some of us have our doubts,…

    “Living life” — if anything — is much more of an “art” and a growing process in wholeness, than a picky, mathematically driven, (or “proven”/demonstrated), science. (Actually, numbers can be made to lie, seemingly rather easily, in the hands of deceivers and manipulators!)

    The more expanded, interactive, broad spectrum, inclusive, elevated, inspired, infused and spiritual the level of one’s “art” is in this — or any — matter, the greater the satisfaction and happiness quotient, the greater the deeds and the “miracles” one will find and experience! God’s math multiplies and increases exponentially in grandeur and proportion. “You can’t out-give God,” it is said!

    Luke 6: 38 “Give, and it shall be given unto you; good measure, pressed down, shaken together, running over, shall they give into your bosom. For with what measure ye mete it shall be measured to you again.”

    The math of human mind-control and calculations constantly divides substance, reducing quantities to percentages, which are never enough to go around, or sufficient to fulfill the level of our greed and wants, and so also “justify” puny-minded and artificially applied limitations to life and living, rather than following a “God-trusting” path.

    With God, quantitative “less” might actually become much “more,” when compared to the “godless” quantitative more, designed and manipulated, controlled and dispensed, by the self-satisfied but unbelieving.

    And “we can’t have it both ways.” We must choose “who we will serve,”…God or mammon.

    Joshua 24:15 “And if it seems evil to you to serve the LORD, choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the River, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you dwell. But as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD.”

    God, the Creator of all substance and Life, can afford to be generous, and can always make more. The modern scientific, atheistic philosophers, on the other hand, only wish they could,…they are little “God wannabes” and are fighting an unattractive, pathetic and losing battle,…

    Matthew 10:7,8

    7 “And as you go, preach, saying, ‘The kingdom of heaven is at hand.’ 8 Heal the sick, cleanse the lepers, raise the dead, cast out demons. Freely you have received, freely give.”

    (… dare I say? … “only in Arkansas?”)

    (-:

  5. Georgie-ann

    One thing I noticed, in thinking about this, is that our modern “escape hatch” — (but NOT a spiritual one, for the most part) — from the ultimately depressing scientific, egalitarian, and atheistic “dreariness of it all,” seems socially to be “humor.” Some, as always, is pretty catchy and we laugh. Some is kind of pointed and mean-spirited, so not all of us laugh. A lot has become very “low, debased, tasteless,” and basically disgusting, and we wonder why anyone is laughing, and why it proliferates and seems to be so “well-received,” box office sales wise, and culturally speaking. (Of course, the uninterrupted inertia of the “downward spiral” causes it to sink ever lower and lower, all by itself.)

    Humor satisfies (temporarily) a lot of people,…and I won’t factor in the now chronic and pervasive societal inebriation factors, which undoubtedly add to the (still temporary) effects.

    I’m only mentioning it to “take note” of how it can become an accustomed and highly intriguing diversion, that seems to somehow “break through” and “take the edge off” a lot of the “official masks” that are worn in our society. And, thereby, we become temporarily “satisfied” that we are now experiencing “a level of comparatively penetrating revelation and truth” and exposition of some of the “supposedly hidden” motives of those who are “surreptitiously” controlling our lives,…See this?,…we’re not fooled,…we’re “hip” to what’s going on!,…we laugh,…ha ha,…ha ha some more,…and go to sleep,…and then “tomorrow’s another day,”….

    Well,…yes, it is,…the problem being that it simply becomes “another day just like all the other days,”…and basically nothing ever changes very much,…we just hold on to an illusion, for the insightful moment, that it might,…it could,…but it essentially “never does!”,…it’s a pacifier,…a repeating cycle — entertaining enough certainly — but basically “going absolutely nowhere” spiritually,…

    (-:

    I just wanted to make note of that (“entertainment”) trap,…

    (-:

  6. Georgie-ann

    I love/enjoy humor as much as anybody, but I’ve been noticing, — (in some long term personal interactions and friendships) — that there are those who seem to “get stuck” in that mode. They are quite satisfied with their own performance ability to “smooth over difficult situations” with a joke, or two, or three,… But over time — (as we are aging-out here) — they seem to have actually lost the ability to consider some situations in the light of the objective personal growth and responsibility, learning and adjustments that they apparently still need to be making personally concerning their “own selves,” others and life,…especially “spiritually speaking.” The force of “denial” in some cases, is stronger than one may have previously imagined,…

    It’s certainly “no secret” that old people get “stuck in their ways,” but it’s very strange to have to acknowledge that you are seeing “it” happening to yourself and your friends before your very eyes! Or, — one also wonders — has it always been this way, more or less, and we just never really noticed, with the successful “cover ups” and the rationalizations, the refusals to “deal with” some of their more “obvious” issues all along? It’s so easy to “talk a good game,” to sound “spiritual” and accountable, to agree to good-sounding thoughts and ideas,…and we positive hopeful believing faith-filled Christians are so easy to con and pull along for the duration of a good-sounding show!

    But, all of a sudden, this talent and “coping mechanism” may begin to wear a little thin,…we might even be a little shocked at what we find “in residence” lurking underneath!

    Believe me, the dramas of life never end! I thank God always for His mercy! We always need it, but as we age, I think we need it and appreciate it even more! Our eyes may be opening in more revealing ways to things we’ve always just kind of taken for granted and at face value, going along with the flow, keeping the peace, assuming that we are in the world but not of it.

    Romans 12:2 “Do not be conformed to this world (this age), [fashioned after and adapted to its external, superficial customs], but be transformed (changed) by the [entire] renewal of your mind [by its new ideals and its new attitude], so that you may prove [for yourselves] what is the good and acceptable and perfect will of God, even the thing which is good and acceptable and perfect [in His sight for you].”

    One of the most “haunting” portions of Scripture for me has always been this one:

    Luke 17:30-36
    30 Even so will it be in the day when the Son of Man is revealed.

    31 “In that day, he who is on the housetop, and his goods are in the house, let him not come down to take them away. And likewise the one who is in the field, let him not turn back. 32 Remember Lot’s wife. 33 Whoever seeks to save his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life will preserve it. 34 I tell you, in that night there will be two men in one bed: the one will be taken and the other will be left. 35 Two women will be grinding together: the one will be taken and the other left. 36 Two men will be in the field: the one will be taken and the other left.”

    This says to me, that even the people that we might think we know well, that we may not know them as well as we think we do. (And it really gives me the chills!) Well, I continually thank God for the peace He can help keep between us, and I pray for that message of Salvation to work its perfect work in the renewal and transformation of our minds and hearts, spirits and souls. Lord, have mercy on us. Help us to have mercy on one another. May the stiff-necked repent. May God’s will be done. May the hearts of men, women, and children everywhere be turned to the Lord.

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