March 5, 2015
Ringling Bros.' decision to phase out circus elephants should feel right to any Christian who is serious about stewardship and creation care.
Excellent piece, Josh: and the idea that we are growing in our understanding of the cultural mandate as loving God's world well is apropos. In the context of what it means to learn to love, 1 Cor 13 comes to mind: "When I was a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put the ways of childhood behind me."
On a tangent: I have had two close encounters of an elephantish kind in my life. One was at a circus. The second was the same distance (about 5 feet) away from a bull elephant in the wild while our vehicle was trapped in a mud pit. The second did much to restore my sense of awe at the wildness and power of these majestic creatures!
Thanks Bronwyn. Your second comment applies to our earlier TC piece on the future of zoos, as well. Extending this idea of animal care as stewardship even further, could we be moving towards a time when putting animals on display in zoos is considered tyrannical? Is meeting them "in the wild," as you did, a better option? Or is the best approach unobtrusive "critter cams" that allow us to spy on animals from our computers without disturbing their environment? As I wrote, we keep learning.
Thanks for this, I appreciate the reference to NT Wright's commentary. It has always seemed to be a misunderstanding, scriptures commands to "reign" and "subdue" creation as justification for bending it to our will regardless of harm it can cause, and I hope to read further how we can better interpret that.
I'm also interested in the grandparents perspective on the decision, and how we got to where we are today, when our generation sees this as the obvious answer, what do they think? Are there things happening now, slowly and subtly, that our generation isn't considering that our grandkids will see as so obviously wrong in the future?
I think there are absolutely things we're getting "wrong" now that our grandchildren will seek to change. We're in deep trouble if we think that we're finally the ones to figure everything out.
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