Dec 30 2012

Senseless Killing

turtle 1 crOver the past few months our nation has witnessed several tragedies as one deranged person after another engaged in senseless killing. The murder of innocent people in Colorado, Oregon, Connecticut, New York and other states has left many shocked and grieved, wondering what has become of the human race. Why would anyone think another person’s life was dispensable? Why would anyone kill just to be killing?

coyote 153I was reminded a couple of days ago that senseless killing goes beyond humans murdering one another. While in Tennessee visiting friends I noticed an article in the Nashville paper that told the story of a Clemson University student who was doing research on the shrinking number of box turtles. This student purchased a realistic looking plastic replica of a turtle and placed it in the middle of a two-lane highway. He then hid and watched for a number of hours. What he saw was driver after driver intentionally swerve so that they might run over the turtle. This same university student went to a school and asked a class how many of them had ever purposely run over a turtle or been with someone who had. A large percentage of the class raised their hands.

The senseless killing of turtles is not an isolated incident. Our country has a long history of reckless behavior toward animals. At one time the West had millions of bison roaming the land. This majestic species was almost elminated because people shot them just for the fun of it. Wolves, coyotes, grizzly bears, and numerous other creatures have, likewise, been victims of senseless killing. Once again I have to ask, why would anyone kill just to be killing?

bear 6I believe that the Bible teaches that all life is precious. I would even say all life is sacred since it comes from God. It is obvious that we live in a time when life is not held sacred by all. For far too many people life is cheap–human and otherwise. This is not the way it is supposed to be. This is not what God intended. I realize that the Scriptures say “There is a time to kill and a time to heal.” (Ecclesiastes. 3:3) Perhaps in battles against evil lives must be sacrificed and I realize that animals must also be killed for food, but even in such circumstances the sacredness of all life should be maintained. Life is not cheap; it is a priceless gift of God.

Because of sin and evil there will likely continue to be far too much senseless killing. There is a lot of discussion right now about how we can stop the madness. One step in the right direction is the affirmation of the sacredness of life, something taught by all the major religions of the world. When it comes to seeing Creation–all of it–we must learn to acknowledge both its inherent goodness and its divine right to exist. This is not the message that is being conveyed by most forms of media today. In light of what we see happening all around us, let us pray that soon changes. In the meantime, it will be up to people like you and me to spread the word. Life is sacred and senseless killing must stop!


(I photographed the box turtle in Kentucky, the coyote in Wyoming, and the grizzly bear in  Alaska.)

May 26 2010

A Tale of Two Turtles

MNP desert tortoise 554In his most recent posting Rob talked about the intensive search we made for a desert tortoise while we were in Mojave National Preserve earlier this month.  For three days we looked for this elusive creature.  As Rob noted, our diligence paid off and the last day we were in the park we finally found a tortoise.  I was thrilled to get to see and photograph this iconic reptile.

This past Saturday I was working in my office at the church when two boys entered and showed me the box turtle they had just found.  They wondered if I might like to photograph it.  Needless to say, I did.  We took the turtle outside and I took several images of it before giving it back to the boys.  You can see photos of both turtles here—the desert tortoise that took days to find and the box turtle that was basically laid in my lap. 

box turtle 263Over the years I have discovered that seeing God in Creation is similar to my experience with these two turtles.  Sometimes it is quite easy to find God in His handiwork; at other times it requires time, effort and much searching.  The same thing can be said of my search for God in other areas.

I have no doubt that God wants to reveal Himself to us.  He truly loves us and wants us to know Him and love Him too.  He made Himself known most fully through the sending of His Son long ago but He continues to reveal Himself through the Scriptures and through Creation.  At times He makes it easy for us.  There’s no way we can miss His presence.  At other times I think He makes us work a bit to see how much we really want to see Him.

Through the prophet Jeremiah God said, “You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.” (29:13)  Sometimes the reason we fail to see God in His Creation is that we’re not looking hard enough.  Perhaps we’re expecting God to do all the work.  God is certainly out there waiting to be found but there are times when we must do our part too.