This is our cat "Darth Maul." Darth is a very cool feline, friendly and gracious, but he typically maintains a stealth presence when the camera comes out. Yesterday evening I caught him napping on a wall in the garden so he gets to make a rare blog appearance today.
Officially, I'm a dog guy. My best friend when I was growing up was a Golden Retriever named Lassie (or, as Rebekah always says, "Saint Lassie"). Then, until a couple of years ago, Mozart the Bichon Frise played the part of enthusiastic side-kick before simply wearing out at 16. The newspaper column about his passing remains #1, to this day, in terms of overwhelming reader response.
Darth was dumped outside our house ten years ago, right about the time the StarWars "Episode I, The Phantom Menace" came out. The cat was black, mysterious and took up lodging in the Maul household - so the name Darth Maul was a no-brainer. He turned out to be a lover, though, not a fighter, and he effectively redeemed the name. In our neighborhood, he's more famous than the the film-maker's vengeful Sith.
There's a lot in a name. It's one reason the Apostle Paul changed his from "Saul" once he became a Jesus follower. But I'm more attracted to the idea of redeeming a name; I think such an approach requires us to be more honest, both about who we have been and who we intend to be in the future.
My name is Derek Maul. I want people to see that name and automatically understand something of the truth of what it means to follow Jesus. I don't want any confusion about the Gospel on my account. I'm fully aware that I am an imperfect vessel and that I am supremely ordinary. But that's the exact point I made, right at the beginning of "GET REAL: A Spiritual Journey for Men": My ordinariness is the perfect vehicle for the glory of God... It's the exact venue where God purposes to shine... My ordinariness is God's opportunity.
So is yours. DEREK (Suddenly missing his old dog, Mozart)