Know When To Hold ‘Em, Know When To Fold ‘Em

26 02 2008

It’s a phenomenally phenomenal phenomenon.  Or something like that.  My simple little humble blog has found a niche in an area that I never expected.  Amidst my random observations related to my experience as a pastor and Christ-follower, I happened to mention the “dogs playing poker” picture in a passing attempt at levity (see the original art piece that I’ve included below).  The result has been a massive influx of surfers who searched the phrase “poker” or “dogs playing poker”.  I could have guessed the popularity of the former…  but I never would have thought the poker playing pooches would have such a following

I’ve also discovered that, contrary to my previous mention, there is a known origin to the painting.  Here’s the quiki wiki:

Dogs Playing Poker(DPP) refers collectively to a series of sixteen oil paintings by C. M. Coolidge, commissioned in 1903 by Brown & Bigelow to advertise cigars. All the paintings in the series feature anthropomorphized dogs, but the nine in which dogs are seated around a card table have become derisively well-known in the United States as examples of manly working-class taste in home decoration. Critic Annette Ferrara describes DPP as “indelibly burned into (the American collective-schlock subconscious) through incessant reproduction on all manner of pop ephemera.” – taken from Wikipedia

God bless the internet where even the most inane or archaic information can be made known.

Poker itself is actually a sticky subject for one in the ministry such as myself.  There are some circles where any card playing is still considered to be of Beelzebub.  When I found out that my daughter had gained a taste for the game, I became a bit concerned that next she’d be racking up tens of thousands of dollars in gambling debts.  I’ve learned that can’t happen when you bet with M & Ms. the original dogs playing poker

So, to all my new-found web friends, I welcome you in with a bit a chagrin.  I can’t help but wonder what some of you think when you find that a poker search leads you to my humble blogarena.  No, I don’t play poker.  But yes, I have, in my past, played the dime slots.  I garnered quite a jackpot and decided to parlay it into a bigger fortune.  Instead, I lost every, uh, dime of it including all the coins I originally brought with me.  But that sad tale is from a long ago far away time.

My gambles today tend to be on people, which is a much riskier investment.  I seem to wear my heart on my sleeve which can be especially painful when you lose your shirt.  But every once and a while you help someone in some small way and you see something in their eye that wasn’t there a moment ago.  That’s when this ministry work really pays off.  It’s more of a thrill than anything else I’ve ever encountered in life.  I tend to believe that Christ meant it when he told us to feed the hungry, care for the sick, and bring justice to the trampled-upon.  It’s not glamorous work, but it’s a great way to live a life.  I also suspect it’s common ground where we can all meet and agree that there is still much work to be done.




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