Little Cindy Lou Who didn’t seem to mind that the Grinch stole her Christmas tree.
Neither did the other Whos in Whoville. In fact, they gathered in Town Square to sing their traditional holiday melody beneath the bewilderment of the green cat-like figure perched on the precipice of Mount Crumpit.
We can read the story with confidence because we know how it ends. We know the Grinch’s heart grows three times its original size that day and he returns everything he has stolen. He even joins the party by cutting the roast beast at the banquet table.
Perhaps the church has read this story too many times. We look around our congregations and notice that something is missing, namely our college students. Like the Whos, we continue our singing as if nothing were wrong. In our story, however, the Grinch isn’t going to bring anything back. If we want them back we are going to have to fight for them.
Interestingly, many have sought to find religious themes in the writings of Theodor Seuss Geisel (Dr. Seuss). As a son of Christian parents he certainly would have been exposed to the gospel. As a student at Dartmouth College and then Oxford University he would have attended chapel services, which at that time were still mandatory. However, the lack of an explicit Christian testimony throughout his life seems to illustrate our modern day dilemma: students often silence their faith when they enter the university.
We are in big trouble if we respond in the same way as the Whos in How the Grinch Stole Christmas. We had better recognize Who is missing and we better care and respond in love. Perhaps we should consider another famous Dr. Seuss story: Horton Hears a Who. Like Horton, the altruistic elephant, we should seek to understand what these students are experiencing. We should listen to their stories. We should notice. We should care. We should act.
Let the adventures begin.