Sep 23 2014

What’s In A Name?

Maine 1000p-19Recently I spent a little time in Maine. My mother as well as my sister and her family live in Brunswick, just north of Portland. Before heading back home to Southern California, Vicky (my wife) and I went to Acadia National Park. While this was not a photo trip, I did, of course, spend some time photographing both in the Brunswick area and in Acadia.

I sent a group of photos to Chuck. This is one of his favorite places. It was my favorite place while I was there – my favorite place is always the place where I can be out in nature spending some time being close to and connecting with God’s Creation. Connecting with nature, and God, means for me, being aware of the totality of nature from bugs to landscapes, and photographing it all. Chuck liked my pictures and said he was glad I got to photograph some “creepy crawlies.” Kidding, I said that we lovers of God’s Creation don’t call minibeasts “creepy crawlies.”

Maine 1000p-13But this got me thinking. When Genesis says that God looked over his creation and said it was all good, I don’t think He said, “And those creepy crawlies are okay, too.” “Creepy crawlies” is a judgment of God’s Creation based on our prejudices, not God’s.

Maine 1000p-05The poet Maya Angelou used to emphasize how much words matter. I think they do. What words we use to describe our world affects how we see it, and this definitely affects how we see nature. How often have deserts and wetlands, for example, been called “wastelands” or “worthless” as a justification for destroying them? Or how often do you hear about a desert being “restored” or “reclaimed” or “made useful”?  I find it hard to believe God looks at His world with those descriptions. Once you spend some time in a desert, you discover what an amazing ecosystem it is with everything perfectly aligned to the environment. Just as it is. Without our help. Imagine that!Desert1

Proverbs 18:21 says “The tongue has the power of life and death, and those who love it will eat its fruit. (NIV)”  I like the translation of this version by The Message, “Words kill, words give life; they’re either poison or fruit – you choose.” And of course there is Psalm 19:14, a verse memorized in so many Sunday School classes, “Let the words of my heart and the meditation of my heart be pleasing in your sight, O Lord, my Rock and my Redeemer.”  Now I really can’t believe giving prejudicial names to any of God’s creation, from spiders to people, swamps to mountains, is something that would be pleasing in God’s view.

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– Rob

The pictures you see here are, from the top, sunrise at Cadillac Mountain in Acadia National Park, a daddy-long-legs (also called a harvestman), a jumping spider, Death Valley, and a tussock moth caterpillar.