Wildlife Paradox

Watching the news last night I saw an interesting example of paradoxical stories that I found a bit disturbing. The first story was about two fishermen who had taken considerable and heroic risk to rescue a doe and her fawn from drowning.

Mule deer in snow

Mule deer in snow

The very next bit was a claim by the city that there are too many deer on the west side. So apparently the city managers in their infinite wisdom could only conjure one solution, which was to unleash hoards of hunters armed with high power bows to “harvest” 200 does and fawns per year, the very animals that the previous men had gone to extraordinary lengths to rescue!

Well it did occur to them that it could be problematic to have hunters skulking about our back yards murdering these peaceful sentient creatures that many families and their children happen to adore, so they thought it might be a good idea instead to have a bunch of armed idiots stalking our crowded parks, killing the animals that are where they are supposed to be so that people can go see them.

Naturally the local bow salesman was all for the idea, and not at all concerned about the possibility of accidentally dispatching a few children and their pets. 

Well the deer are becoming problematic they say. So I did a quick study to ascertain what sort of problems deer might cause. Mostly it appears they like to eat flowers, raising the ire of city people who chose to buy homes in wildlife habitat and are now dismayed to find wildlife there. They also have a tendency to increase car animal collisions. No mention that careless drivers also have a tendency to run down children and pets…

Seriously people… Hunters wandering our parks and neighborhoods? How about some education instead? How about planting flowers that the deer don’t like? How about slowing the car down a little? One lady I tried to slow down as she barreled through a herd of deer screamed at me that she had the right to drive the speed limit… Well, no you don’t. The limit is defined as the fastest speed you can go in optimal conditions. Once there are animals, pets or children nearby the conditions are no longer optimal and you are required to slow down.

How about some common sense and a little live and let live!

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Lost Sheep

I’ve been pondering a new theory as of late, and after last night it has jelled in my mind and I think it is high time to put it down on the old electronic paper. I call this one the Lost Sheep theory, which could also probably be called the separated sheep theory but lost sounds better.

Ephesians 6:12For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places.”

Whether we like it or not, there is a war raging in another dimension, the spiritual dimension. The war is real and it is vicious and sometimes that war spills over into the physical as well. Here in the physical world there are three kinds of people, wolves, sheep and shepherds, the wolves know who they are. I think there are very few shepherds though, and we don’t always even know who we are. Which is why I’m writing this letter to the shepherds and the sheep both. To the shepherds so they will understand their role, and to the sheep so they will know to stay inside the protective circle of their shepherds.

I can’t count the number of times I have gone to work or gone shopping or hiking or on a photo trip that I have received a phone call, “You gotta get back here right away!“, plug in latest crisis… I also can’t count the number of times I have heard, “Every time you leave, all hell breaks loose!”, which is what got me to pondering this whole theory.

In the natural world predators like to look for a weak member of the herd, perhaps even one that has become separated from the rest. They seek an easy prey that they can quickly kill and drag away before the main herd or the shepherd notices. So it is in the spiritual world as well. There is a real enemy in the spiritual realm who is always looking for someone to destroy.

1 Peter: 8 “Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour. “

In many cases the sheep are your children, perhaps one might like to play alone or a teen might align with the wrong friends. In this case it also might be the father who is assigned the role of shepherd and if he isn’t vigilant his sheep will become the target for destruction by the enemy. Maybe it will be work, or television, or the internet that distracts the shepherd and allows his sheep to become separated.

In some cases though, certain people have been assigned the role of shepherd, these are pastors, youth leaders and sometimes even coaches and teachers, etc. Occasionally some shepherds are just regular people mingling with friends, neighbors, and co-workers. And these must constantly be watching to see if there is a soul who is being isolated and targeted.

The hard part in those cases is for the shepherds to figure out who they are… that’s how I got started on this idea… the “all hell breaks loose” part of it. I noticed that for certain people in my sphere of influence, if they stay in my sphere there is peace. If they become separated trouble starts. When I come back, the predators slink back into their corners of darkness to wait for a more opportune moment.

I/m sure this has nothing to do with the physical prowess of the shepherd person, but more to do with spiritual prowess and availability. Now of course to walk in that kind of power the shepherds have to be believers who are paying attention and who are not afraid to get in the fight and get a little bloody sometimes. Some may be shepherds, but if they refuse to leave their football games on television, or their video games and chat rooms on the computer or happy hour or whatever, their sheep will be left defenseless.

There have been no greater tests of my theory than what I have seen in the last few days… First came the physical attacks from a loved one on one of my co-workers, then a car wreck and the shock from that. Then last night at work, an almost indescribable nightmare… as certain wolves at work took advantage of a very rough night to close in and try destroy her completely. I saw what was going on and took steps to make sure my sheep wasn’t seen as separated, and the battle went on all night. In the end it appears the forces of good were victorious and she won the admiration of the entire team, save the jealous predators who found themselves on the wrong side of the battle line. In the spiritual realm, the enemy could see that this sheep had a shepherd watching, this sheep was no longer separated and easy prey, that there was a shepherd who was not giving up a sheep without a fight.

Fortunately for all of us, the forces of good are more powerful than the forces of darkness. But the forces of good need to be vigilant and courageous. We can’t become distracted with our own endeavors or allow fear to stop us from speaking up, or to keep us from doing our God given jobs of providing mercy and comfort to the broken hearted. As a side note, keep in mind that the predators are not easily identifiable, they can be important people in the workplace, church and neighborhoods. They can come in the form of religious people as well, self righteous and self seeking individuals who profess the words of the bible, but do not do them.

To the shepherds I say, remain vigilant. The war never ends, the enemy never rests. I just got done with a major spiritual battle earlier in the summer and I prayed… “Lord, let this be the last one, let me rest now.’. But the prayer was sin and I know God didn’t listen to it. So last night I changed my prayer to “Lord don’t ever leave me out of the fight. May You never find me away my battle station when the war in the heavens spills over into my world.”.

Diversity

The killing of Cecil the lion has surfaced some interesting animosity. It seems many people think their cause is the most important and everyone seems to think their cause is superior to those working to preserve wildlife and the environment. All causes are important and God has made all people with unique personalities and desires. All causes need the attention of of humans and God has mercifully spread out the burden by making each person different.

No one person could possibly invest time in each and every problem that needs the attention of someone so instead of disparaging someone else for working on something that is not important to you, people should be thanking others for taking care of the thing that isn’t first on your own list. That way everything can get done without overwhelming any one person with too much work to bear.

Furthermore, the people doing the disparaging are assuming the people working on one cause are not working on another when they have no idea what another person’s circumstances may be. Caring about animals for example, does not preclude someone from caring about babies starving in Africa. Caring about animals does not automatically stop someone from protesting abortion.  Caring about animals does not prevent someone from also working on behalf of homeless people. I applaud anyone who cares about something because the world is filled with people who care about nothing.

So stop making condescending posts about the causes other people are working on. Nobody knows what all someone is working towards and it is counterproductive to discourage someone who is passionate about something, whatever it is. The enemy is not other life loving people, it is the evil that is actively causing suffering and death in this world.