Rabbits have always only been incidental to the scope and purpose of our organization. After all, we weren’t the ones who named that fateful room where the Inklings regularly met in the Eagle & Child pub “The Rabbit Room”—we were merely the ones to name our organization after it. And while we at the Rabbit Room feel no particular antipathy toward the bright-eyed and bushy-tailed among us, we’ve acquired a certain reluctance over the years regarding the rabbitification of all our organization’s doings. Quite frankly, it’s become all “rabbit this” and “rabbit that.” Can you honestly say you’re not tired of encountering that joke that begins “A priest, a minister, and a rabbit walk into a bar…”? Well, believe us—we are. We’re tired of that joke.
In addition, as we’ve sought to understand the kind of messaging and metaphor which most compels Generation Z to join in the work of a nonprofit like the Rabbit Room, one resounding lesson has reared its bunny ears time and again: they don’t like rabbits. Why? We’re not sure. But one thing we do know: they like frogs.
Now, you may react with the same skepticism and distaste as we did at first: Frogs!? Are frogs really a step forward from rabbits? And we’re here to say: absolutely they are. In fact, they’re an enormous leap forward. But in order to understand this paradigmatic shift, it’s crucial to be reminded of what an unsung-yet-influential role frogs have already played in the life of the Rabbit Room.
The Rabbit Room team has decided to take the biggest leap yet in our young organization's history—the leap from the cabbage patch to the lily pond.The Ribbit Room
While it may not be immediately obvious to you, dear reader, the amphibians among us have contributed significantly to the growing body of literature and art which constitutes the Rabbit Room canon. In Kenneth Grahame’s The Wind in the Willows, for instance, we’re presented with Toad, a character whose thirst for adventure embodies our organization’s core conviction that both leaving home and returning home are indispensable facets of narrative storytelling as well as humanity’s spiritual journey. Chris Wheeler summed it up quite well in his 2019 blog post: “Say what you will about Toad (and there is plenty to be said), but his motivations begin and end with longing—the longing for adventure and the longing to return home after said adventures.”
Or take the most famous green, slippery friend among us: Kermit himself. Given the search for a figure emblematic of such values as an unwavering commitment to collaboration in the face of seemingly impossible circumstances; love of theater and storytelling; and, perhaps most of all, legendary songwriting as glimpsed in his culture-defining “Rainbow Connection;” who could possibly find fault with the Rabbit Room’s choice to finally associate itself with such an upstanding figure as Mr. the Frog rather than the very paragon of frivolity and sabotage, Bugs Bunny?
Those who have been following the Rabbit Room’s work closely will surely find themselves remembering in this moment the legendary performance of “Rainbow Connection” by Rabbit Room collaborator Jeffrey Overstreet at Hutchmoot in 2013. The wisdom of frogs has long been with us.
If the examples above are not enough to win you over to our side of the pond, consider the parable of abiding commitment to relationship that is the Frog and Toad series; the old fantasy trope that when a princess kisses a frog, the frog becomes a prince, revealing to her the authenticity of her true love (a highly honoring portrait of the amphibian according to the most accomplished of literary critics); or even, on a more lighthearted note, the playful dance of Warner Brothers’ Michigan J. Frog—an enduring icon of classic cinema (and, we might add, a noteworthy early example of frog employment in the entertainment business).
With all of these considerations in mind, the Rabbit Room team has decided to make the biggest leap yet in our young organization’s history—the leap from the cabbage patch to the lily pond. In an effort to more equitably represent all of God’s creatures, we are changing our name from The Rabbit Room to The Ribbit Room. Who knew that a single vowel could make such a world of difference?
In celebration of this long-overdue shift, we will be announcing over the course of this year several new offerings from The Ribbit Room. For instance, we will be launching the Ribbit Room Lilypadcast Network, a new arts conference aptly titled Toadmoot, and the upcoming Andrew Peterson album, Metamorphosis Letters, Volume II.
But we are perhaps most excited to share with you the first book to be published by Ribbit Room Press: Every Amphibian Holy, a book of new liturgies from Douglas McKelvey, specially written to support the life and faith of frogs. Examples include “A Liturgy for Beholding the Lilypads of the Pond,” “A Liturgy for the Transition from Water to Air,” and “A Liturgy for when Being Green is No Longer Easy.”
What an exciting transition this will be! We can’t wait to have you along with us on this journey from rabbit to frog. Stay tuned for more pond-side announcements as we leap ahead and metamorphose into an entirely new phase of this organization.
The Ribbit Room