As a young girl, I never could get into the whole baby doll scene, changing diapers, fake bottle-feeding, ventriloquist burping, etc. I think it’s because my dolls never responded to me. They never spoke my name or hugged my neck. Maybe if I’d had one of those mechanical baby dolls that talk and move their heads, I could’ve immersed myself in pseudo-mommyhood with a little more abandon. Maybe not. Many years ago, my daughter Hope got a mechanical dog named Go-go for Christmas. Go-go was programmed to respond to a list of command sequences. With just a few hours of study and a pound of batteries, you could get Go-go to do almost anything you wanted. Hope played with Go-go non-stop for a couple of days before the incessant, monotone barking suddenly stopped. Both relieved and confused, I went to Hope’s room to see whether she needed more batteries. I found her toe-to-toe with Go-go, shoulders and pig-tails drooped. Go-go was stuck in an eerily unnatural pose like some kind of taxidermied animal. When Hope turned to me, I saw that her eyes were beginning to fill with tears. Utterly disillusioned and dejected, she whined softly, “I want her to run to me.” “Sweetie, that response isn’t in her programming,” I explained gently. Plus, the dog didn’t have any legs, just wheels, a fact that had apparently escaped my daughter’s attention. Without a word, Hope carried Go-go to her closet and tucked her away in the “for garage sale” bin. I didn’t argue with her. I knew how she felt. She wanted a pet that would obey and show affection of its own volition. She wanted to love and be loved in return. You know, I have to laugh when I hear people talk about Christians as if we are all the same, like mindless, mass-produced talking dolls or wheelie-popping mechanical dogs. It just makes no sense. Why would the infinitely creative Almighty waste His time making unthinking, unfeeling robots void of free will when He could enjoy the intimacy of a real and dynamic father-child relationship? No, God desires unsolicited affection, heart-felt devotion, and genuine worship freely given. He wants us to run to Him.