# 1 The Porcupine

May 6, 2016


People fascinate me because we are walking contradictions. We are sacred but broken beings. Simultaneously wondrous and wrecked.


Having said that, I have concluded that there are 4 basic relational patterns we employ as we wondrous wrecks make our way through this world. While we may adopt any one of those four patterns, depending upon context or circumstance, each of us has a baseline or ‘default’ relational pattern that characterizes the way we typically relate to God and to others.


I'd sum up those 4 patterns this way: Porcupine, Puffer fish, Puppy Dog and Person. Today, the Porcupine...


The Porcupine is the person habitually injures those around them, keeping people at arms length with exceedingly sharp and rather stubborn quills.  I can be a pretty good porcupine.  When my quills emerge, you'll walk away from me typically feeling relieved that you escaped further injury and determined to be more diligent in avoiding me in the future. More often than not, porcupines grew up around other porcupines and if you peel back our quills, you will find many scars from wounds sustained before we'd developed adequate protection.


Every encounter with me is a competition, a contest over mastery and supremacy. I am the bully, the name dropper, the swaggering power broker. The currency I wield may vary greatly. It might be religious, athletic, financial, physical or academic in nature.


If you dare challenge me, even in 'victory,' you'll walk away feeling ashamed that you became me. If, on the other hand, you acquiesce to me, you feel degraded and diminished. It's a lose-lose for you.


We porcupines live alone, if not literally, then practically. We are lonely because we don't understand soul-ology. We don't realize that people are more than bodies. They are souls and the soul is always a new born baby, defenseless, alert to any threat. Danger is, to the soul, what a lion is to a lamb.


While I may meet others, I rarely, if ever, truly encounter others.


I confuse impressing others with knowing others because, I've concluded (or life has taught me) that ' knowing' is not worth the risk.


King Herod was most likely a porcupine. He wanted to be entertained by Jesus, hoping ‘he would perform a miracle’ before him. That’s how we porcupines relate to Jesus. We don’t want to know Jesus, we just want him to perform for us. To do what we want him to do.


We have a difficult time concluding our myriad prayer requests with, 'nevertheless, not my will, but thine be done.'


That's because, we are, after all, the end, and he is the means.


Next up: Puffer Fish



Greg Porter




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