Randall Gerard writes back...

Location: Out West

An old-fashioned guy grappling with new-fangled ways.

Thursday, May 25, 2006

When life gives you lemons...

We've been praying for a long time that God would show us clearly whether or not we should move. At the same time, we've been making plans and taking steps to do exactly that, and the sooner the better. And then God reminded us that we are not in charge of our lives, and all of our plans need to have the disclaimer "if God so wills" attached to them. As it so happens, we may have been acting presumptuously, and not walking in faith.
Yesterday morning a surgeon removed two tumors from my wife. We haven't heard from the lab yet, but her doctor is already making plans for chemo-therapy 'as a precaution'. And suddenly, leaving a job with medical benefits, a generous salary and lots of time off, no longer seems wise. We are in a daze, but the family and friends around us have turned it up a notch. I haven't cooked or had to worry about my two youngest children all week. Our church and my wife's family has anticipated and supplied every possible need we have. Guys from work even (!) have added their hugs and prayers to the constant phone calls we've recieved wishing us well. Truly our cup runneth over.
Maybe the community we've been craving is - right here. Maybe we were too blind to see it until now; or, even worse, just took it for granted. But God has opened the eyes of the blind, has caused the lame to walk, and we are confident that He is well able to heal my spiritual blindness and my wife's body as well. We look forward to more gracious lemons from the Most High. They make a fine bitter-sweet lemonade; quenching yet also sobering and instructive.

Friday, May 05, 2006

At least we're pro-dog life...

Our community is in an uproar over the impending deaths of 42 dogs in the local animal shelter. There was an out-break of some wierd upper respiratory junk that local vets haven't been able to contain. But they think the virus can be passed from dogs and carried by humans to more dogs outside the pound. Thus the decision to euthanize the current canine residents, and hopefully prevent the spread of this disease to the general dog population.

Well. You'd a thought by the press coverage that the city fathers had decided to close all the bars or something. The pound administrator is being picketed, vilified, pilloried and asked to resign. It hasn't quite progressed to the tar-and-feathers stage, but the reaction from the community has been surprisingly strong and negative. I think it's safe to say the hapless administrator couldn't get elected dog catcher in this town. Oops, too late.

One of the things I find amusing about this tempest is our bias in favor of dogs. Pigs are smarter then dogs, but we eat them, so it's O.K. to keep them in cages and turn them into eating, pooping machines that never see the sun, never root in the dirt, never wallow in a mud hole. Every time I see a steer standing in a feed-lot, in belly deep manure, being fed ground-up feathers and guts and injected with hormones and drugs, trying to sling a tail with a ball of manure the size of a basketball on the end... well, it makes me sick. That same steer is electricuted and bludgeoned to death, and he knows it's coming because he can smell the blood and hear the bawling up ahead in the death chute. But we cry over dogs who are mercifully put down by lethal injection, while technicians pet them and murmur sweet nothings to them. Thank goodness we never developed a taste for dog flesh.

And what of chickens forced to live without half their beak? Or bred with no feathers to make them easier and cleaner to butcher? We've so ruined turkeys that they can't even reproduce naturally anymore. The Tom is so breast heavy, he can't mount a hen without toppling off. We should be appalled at this! Our problem is not that we honor and respect dogs for their friendship and loyalty; but that we refuse to honor and respect other animals just as much.

Yes, it'll cost us something. But efficiency and low quality food isn't all that and a bag of chips anyway. We spend fortunes on McMansions and tin-foil cars, isn't it time we cared about the animals who provide our food? Their lives are already short; they don't have to be nasty and brutish as well. And no, it's not because they have 'rights'. It's because WE, as God's image bearers, are 'humane'. Or, at least we should be.