Bringing the Text to Life
David Harum, that famous character in Edward Noyes Westcott's David Harum: A Story of American Life (New York: Grosset & Dunlap, 1898) claimed that, "A reasonable amount o' fleas is good fer a dog - keeps him from broodin' over bein' a dog" (284). In that same vein Sir Francis Galton, the great English scientist of the 19th century wrote, "Well-washed and well-combed domestic dogs grow dull; they miss the stimulus of fleas."
Obviously the flea-carried quality being lauded here is that tiny creature's ability to take its otherwise self-satisfied, snoozing host and irritate it to attention. We all need fleas of that sort: small outside agitators that keep us from becoming predictable, complacent and plodding.
We need "fleas" to nip at our conscience, to irritate our assumptions, to disturb our expectations. One of the primary areas of our lives that should be well-infested with bothersome bugs is our faith. Too often we are content to let our faith become a matter of Sunday...