08 September, 2007

The Coddle Cootie

Lifeway plans to begin promoting another program aimed at assisting pastors and deacons in an often overlooked church ministry opportunity. No, it is not an evangelistic program like F.A.I.T.H. or one of the more comforting spinoffs of E.E. or Roman Road. No, it is not a discipleship program like the successful How to convert your KJV church to HCSB. And no, it does not involve an insightful book of spiritual depth such as the Prayer of Jabez or At Parbar Westward.

This new program aids in workable solutions for the most common problem that exists within every church in America—the membership’s need for coddling. The Coddle Cootie is designed to be a high-visibility, focused, people intensive ministry program to help all church members (from new believers to even the most spiritually mature) engage in positive openness about their feelings with the goal of restoration to the body. “Pastors agree, nobody is immune from the need for coddle time. It’s not a matter of ‘if’ as much as ‘when,’” said Marlene Thornburg, Coddle Cootie spokesperson.

Lifeway began testing the Coddle Cootie program during the 2006 Southern Baptist Convention in Greensboro, N.C. “The Coddle Cootie got off to a slow start,” said creator Jack Floyd Dennis. “Most people were not instantly drawn to it.” It took Sandy Blackstone, a tester from West Grenadere, Alabama, a while to warm up to the idea of even touching the bug. “Although I was hesitant, the first time I held it, I immediately felt more loved,” said Blackstone. “If it was not so…so… gremlin-looking, I probably would have grabbed it sooner. I have no problem picking it up now. My spirit is always soothed by the calming effects of Coddle Cootie.”

How does it work? The Coddle Cootie comes in an attractive Coddle Cootie Cocoon that can be placed in a corner of the church foyer so it is available to anyone entering through the front doors. Participants in the program, referred to in the brochures as Coddle Cootie Cuddlers, simply remove it from the Coddle Cootie Cocoon, hold it in their arms where it is visible for all to see, and carry it with them wherever they go on the church property. By carrying the Coddle Cootie, Coddle Cootie Cuddlers signal their imminent need for coddling. All members (and even visitors) are encouraged to coddle and comfort anyone cuddling the Coddle Cootie.

“It’s nice to get to church early and lay claim to the Coddle Cootie,” said Willy Desmond, who felt the pastor should have shown him a little more respect as he passed him in Walmart on Saturday afternoon. “Yeah, Willy laid first claim today,” said Nelson Howard, Willy’s best friend. “He had good reason. When he tried to speak with the pastor, he didn’t really seem to have time or interest. I’ve noticed that Pastor Bartlet has that attitude more and more recently. He just may be losing touch with our needs and understanding of our pains. He apparently thinks they are minor compared to all the important things he has to do. Sometimes it just hurts so bad. I hope to get here early next Sunday to claim the Coddle Cootie.”

The Cootie Cocoon is a colorful container containing everything necessary for pastors, deacons, and leadership to minister to those with a need for emotional coddling. For the most part, it appears ministers absolutely love the program. “I no longer have difficulty determining those who have hurt feelings,” said longtime deacon, Heulan Adrian. “If the Coddle Cootie is removed from the Coddle Cootie Cocoon, I just look around for the Coddle Cootie Cuddler and make it a point to give them a hug and ask them how they are doing today.”

The quickstart guide strongly suggests that the leadership choose a Coddle Cootie Coordinator (alternately called the Cocoon Curator) to oversee the distribution of the Coddle Cootie and create a necessary barrier between the current Coddle Cootie Cuddlers and the other church leaders, especially the pastor. Pastors, deacons, and other committee heads who themselves have attempted to coordinate Coddle Cootie cuddling, have unintentionally become instant targets of Cootie Cuddlers and Cootie Cuddler wannabees.

There have been some problems. For example, the Coddle Cootie at the First Baptist Church of Cold Barn, Tennessee remained in its cocoon the entire Sunday last week. One of the deacons discovered on Monday morning (through a helpful, informative conversation with his wife, who had found out from a friend in the women’s Bible study, who had found out from her husband, who had found out from his best friend, who had found out from a discussion in a men’s Bible study) that one of the members who had just arrived home from the hospital and was back at church for the first time in 3 weeks, was upset at the pastor for not recommending that she take the Coddle Cootie. "She apparently desired for someone to recognize that she needed coddling and invite her to use the Coddle Cootie rather than get it on her own. The process does have a flaw. Those needing coddling have to actually pick up the Coddle Cootie. If you don’t pick it up, we can’t help you,” said FBC Cold Barn’s pastor.

The program is currently designed to help those who have the need for occasional coddling. Nothing yet has proven to be successful in helping those in need of constant coddling. Experts say the only inroads to helping those with Constant Coddling Deficit Disorder, or CCDD, remains switching churches every 6 to 12 months. “By changing social associationas approximately once per year, a victim of CCDD is able to find a fresh set of smiling faces and open ears to help with his or her pain,” said Agrawl Apun, Assistant Professor of Emotional Disorders at the University of Kentucky.

With this need in mind, Cootie creator Dennis informed TBNN that the next version, the Coddle Cootie Constant Companion, is more technologically advanced and is intended to be carried at all times, even when not at church. The Coddle Cootie Constant Companion version will play a calming song to the tune of Jesus Loves Me

If you're feeling down and low
Grab me and your needs I'll show
Don't be shy, please be direct
They'll feel your pain through this insect
I'm Coddle Cootie
No need to worry
I'm Coddle Cootie
Hold me, you'll see who cares

There are also plans to insert a cell phone within the new version. "We want pastors, deacons, and other ministers and members to have a way to immediately reach the person in need of coddling," said Dennis "even when they are not on the church property." Equipped with a phone, the Coddle Cootie Constant Companion Cuddler should be reachable 24/7. The church leaders and members will be able to call the Coddle Cootie Cell and know their ministry efforts are getting straight through.

Preliminary help guides for the Coddle Cootie Constant Companion include a list of important things that Cootie Callers should remember when calling the Cuddler:

(1) Put no pressure on the Cuddler to do ministry. This could lead to negative consequences.

(2) Assure them that everything will be okay and you totally support them 100% no matter what they do.

(3) Try to schedule a time to meet them at work or home. Or, have a reaffirming meeting in a neutral coffee house, a movie theater, or their favorite restaurant.

(4) If you determine that there is any hint that anyone has hurt their feelings in the slightest way, try to arrange for the perpetrator to call the victim cuddler. Encourage the perpetrator to give the cuddler time. They may not be emotionally ready to talk to the perpetrator about it, but they still need to know that he or she is thinking about their pain and concerned. Encourage the perpetrator to call each day and not stop until the victim cuddler feels 97% better.

(5) Church leaders should place a followup call each day to the Cootie Cuddler. If possible, send at least two quick emails of reassurance.

So, the next time you visit a church, check to see if there is a Coddle Cootie Cocoon in the foyer. It’s a good sign that this church is not only ready to minister to you, your spouse, and the needs of your family, but they are signaling something much deeper. A Coddle Cootie in the foyer signals that this church is also prepared to coddle your every bad feeling, every bad feeling of your spouse, as well as every bad feeling of everyone in your family.


www.millerpla.net said...

It recharges its battery while it's in the coddle cootie cocoon, so no one ever has to let go of it.

I think they should have different "skins" for the Coddle Cootie, or maybe the fur could just be fiber optics that change color...

But none of this will help solve the problem of having to pick it up, hmmmmm... maybe more people would pick it up if it wasn't "so gremlin looking" :)

Maybe if they had more than one coddle cootie, people wouldn't feel as if someone else had "stolen" the coddle cootie from them by getting to church first. :)

Brother Slawson said...

Just in case anyone didn't notice, I am carrying around a Coddle Cootie all day today. It really helps my feelings if you post comments, good or bad. The main thing is I need attention. I've noticed that Tom and Elder Eric get a lot more comments than I do. ::sad look:: I'm thinking of calling up my pastor and sharing this pain of mine with him for a couple of hours today.

Cristy said...

Ahh, Brother Slawson, I just wanted you to know that you are one of my two favorite brother-in-laws. I think that you are very funny. Please keep up the good posting! :) OH, and have a grand day.

Darrin said...

I'd post a deeper comment, but the article is so long that I'll need to read it in place of my "quiet time" tonight. (Just kidding.)

Anyway, I'm confused - until recently I thought Tom WAS Brother Slawson.

Another side-note - I'll try to get a webpage eventually so my name can be in blue too.

Team Tominthebox News Network said...

People, people, people...(sigh)

How many times do I have to go through this. Tom is not Brother Slawson. Brother Slawson is my BROTHER, like my real life, biologically connected son of my father, father of some of my nieces and nephews, brother-in-law to my wife, and two other brother-in-laws, and son of my mother. He is seven years older than I am, and we grew up together.

So we are two distinct persons but one blog. The Tom is not the Brother Slawson. The Brother Slawson is not the Tom. But Tom is part of Tominthebox and Brother Slawson is part of Tominthebox.

Just in case you're wondering, Eric Elder is a real other person too, though we're of no direct blood relation that I know of.

I guess I'm going to have to post a picture or something.


Brother Slawson said...

Hey! Like, is Kristy (I can never remember how to spell your name, sorry) the only one who knows how this Coddle Cootie is supposed to work????

Like... I get back from a 7 hour bike ride (reflecting on how I am a special person no matter how mean people are to me) and there's more discussion about (a.) who I am than (b.) actual coddling. I mean, Tom! My own flesh and blood. I'm holding the Coddle Cootie... me... I'm holding it... and... like... I see you took opportunity to write all those words without ::sniff:: a single ::sniff:: "how are you doing today?" I'm trying to decide now whether to read another chapter of "Purpose Driven Life" or watch the LSU game.

Cristy said...

Dear Brother Slawson,
I hope that you are feeling better, even though you did spell my name wrong, and it was clearly printed in the above comment. You daughter is the one with the "K", I'm the one with the "C". I also have to ammend my comment because you are actually on of 3 of my favorite brother-in-laws. But don't worry, I still think you're funny. I might however steal the coddle cootie from you because I'm feeling hurt that you still don't know how to spell my name!


Elder Eric said...

Man, I wish I was a Slawson.


nora said...

Brother Slawson, while I will reluctantly admit that the Coddle Cootie song was so amusing that I laughed out loud, I am not comfortable with your tampering with the lyrics to that sacred melody. If you need further guidance, I am sure that the KJV or VHS-only folks can set you straight on what is and is not appropriate.

Legalistically yours,

Anonymous said...

As a pastor I can only say I'd split a gut laughing if it wasn't so true!

But please everyone . . . the plural is brothers-in-law, not brother-in-laws; as in multiple persons, not multiple laws. :-)

gjs said...

Or maybe, given the family context, it should be brothers-in-Slaw.

Brother Slawson said...

Oh goodie! More than 10 comments ::feeling the love::.

Thanks guys ::passing the cootie to Christie::

You know, it technically could be "laws" since we are in different countries...::thinking about it::

Definitely going with the Cocoon recharger!
NOTE: TBNN can count for 49% of quiet time on Saturdays.
Eric, you are definitely a brother in Slaw!
Nora, I've checked into it. Unfortunately, the Cootie info is DVD-only... but there are no drums in the music.

Anonymous said...

Anyone in the family thinking of naming their son "Cole" . . . just wondering.

Brother Slawson said...

It was my nickname for a while. Also "slawdog" was a common nickname in the family.
Rarely do we have a gathering on a holiday that we don't hear "Pass the slaw.... son."

Becky said...

"Tom... Brother Slawson isn't taking turns...."

Can I hold the coddle cootie?
Just so you know, I am a first-time visitor who doesn't yet have a regular blog I read. Statistics show that if I don't get my turn with being coddled, I may find a more "seeker-friendly" site to browse. ;)

Anonymous said...

Unless your congregation is very large, I would be careful about having more than one Coddle Cootie. If they are anything like the Comfort Crickets that I have seen carried about at times in prominent display at work and social gatherings, they thrive best alone, are very competitive and may become combative when in close proximity to others of their species. Also, the combined drain on the gathering's empathic reserves may reach unsupportable levels, prompting many to reach for their Callous Crocs.

P. Putney

Brother Slawson said...

By all means, Becky... please take the Coddle Cootie. And, since you are a first time visitor, please consider all we have to offer at this blog. We are very much like a supermarket here. We have everything. No need to shop anywhere else. We are very customer sensitive.

Putney, too funny: Comfort Crickets and Callous Crocs