The People of the Rock

This was inspired by an exchange with John Pavlovitz

Once upon a time there was a community called Waterica which was comprised completely of water. Everywhere you looked, there was nothing but beautiful, blue waves. Of course, beautiful water can also be dangerous, because just like you and me, the people of Waterica could only breathe air. They spent most of their lives either swimming of floating on the buoys their culture devised for staying above water.

The leaders of Waterica divided themselves into two primary parties, one a conservative party and one a liberal party, but they agreed about most things. Of the few issues that got between them was the shape of their buoys. One group insisted that round buoys were best, while the other insisted that square was the only way to go. A few people liked triangles, and some even created their own shapes, but for the most part it was a world of circles and squares.

One day something happened that changed Waterica forever. A leader came along who insisted that rocks made the best buoys, and he had a special kind of rock that he insisted would make life better for everyone who had one. The people of the round buoy group laughed at him; after all, everyone knows rocks can’t float. The people of the square buoys weren’t so sure. Some of them really liked the new leader, and because they liked him they decided that rocks must surely be the best buoys. They cast aside their square buoys and started buying the rocks from the new leader. They bought hats, t-shirts, swimsuits and flippers with the rock logo on them.

There was a problem, of course. Rocks actually do not float, so many of the People of the Rock were drowning while trying to keep their heads above water. As more and more people died, the leaders of the Round and Square parties decided to have an election and vote about whether or not to allow the rock leader to sell his buoys and continue to lead people astray. The election caused a lot of anger and hurt feelings, but at the end of the day the majority of Watericans voted to banish the rock leader and his sinking buoys.

The rock leader wasn’t about to go quietly, though. He insisted the election was fraudulent and that most actually preferred rocks. He noticed, however, that fewer and fewer people were showing up to his rallies and the sale of rock buoys was dropping. He began to swim around, looking everywhere for the people who had supported him, but all he could find was an occasional hat or t-shirt floating just below the surface of the water.

The People of the Rock were no more. They had all sunk to their deaths insisting that rocks made the best buoys, refusing to listen to anyone who suggested otherwise.

Though he was all alone, the leader continued to insist that rocks were the best until he, too, sank to his death.


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