Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Fun With Baby Blaise!

He has a nice touch. :-)
Having trouble getting these videos to work....still working on it.

My son John is loving trying to teach my grandson Blaise many things...like improvising on the piano, throwing rolled up napkins across the dinner table, and, as pictured above, kicking a ball.

Could anything be more fun than babysitting for grandkids? Maybe not. It's especially fun when there are so many other adoring adults involved. And we all agree. Cutest baby in the world. No arguments. It's great.

Monday, June 20, 2016

Sometimes You Just Have to Transplant

Some years ago I planted a dwarf hibiscus (Actually Hibiscus X Ruby Dot, I believe), also called Rosemallow, along my front sidewalk. Dwarf should mean small, right? I thought it might grow to be a foot or two. Well. It became a good three feet tall and probably had a diameter of about the same. It sprawled over the walkway, blocking a good portion of it.

But it was beautiful, as  you can see from the above photo. It would cover itself with these blooms and they were magnificent, each one so delicate and only lasting a day or two. It was a great living metaphor for the loveliness and brevity of life.

But it blocked the walk. It took over too much space and dwarfed all the other little flowers I planted along the bed. In short, it didn't fit. It had been planted (by me) in the wrong location.

So I asked my friend Sally (horticulture major) if it was possible to transplant such a big plant.  She said, "Sure. Just dig it up and move it."

I thought I might kill it, but it seemed worth a try. I moved it to the back yard in a sunny location. At first, it looked hopeless. Just a few dead looking sticks protruding from the ground. (Mind you, that's how it always looks in the early Spring. But this seemed to be the case for quite a while.)

Then, lo and behold, there were little leaves starting to emerge. It had survived!!

A few weeks later it looked like this...

I think it may like this location even better. There is a lot of sun and lots of room to spread out, without getting in anyone's way.

And finally, in all its glory.... BLOOMIMG!!!!!!

Sometimes you just have to transplant. Perhaps a metaphor for life here?

How and why might the Lord transplant us?

Sometimes he transplants us because the situation (job, friendships, etc.) we're in is not healthy. Like a plant, there may not be enough sun (too much negativity). The soil might not be right. (The situation does not bring out the best in us, does not use our gifts, or leads us to sin.) Sometimes, we might not know the reason, but follow the Lord's call anyway.

God always wants what's best for us, but our ability to see (really see!) what he has in mind is terribly limited. It's like looking through a tiny hole in a solid fence when there's an entire world on the other side. We look though a glass darkly! (1Corinthians 13:12)

When we are pulled up by the roots, it's painful and scary. Placement in a new location or situation is disorienting. Like the plant, sometimes roots are bruised or broken. We need a lot of water (grace) right away or we can wither. We need to be tended to (taking care of ourselves), and treated gently.

The Lord is always faithful and always good. We must trust him that our roots will grow. We will be fed and watered and....we will bloom again. God is good. All the time.

Tuesday, June 07, 2016

Justice for Harambe?

Harambe, a silver-backed gorilla at the Cinncinnati Zoo was killed recently to protect the life of a three-year-old boy who had fallen into the gorilla's enclosure. Thankfully, the little boy is all right, despite having fallen 15 feet into a moat and then dragged repeatedly around by a 450 pound agitated gorilla.

It was a tragedy, especially so because the gorilla was an endangered species.

As Christians we have a responsibility to care for all creation and to respect and honor the nature of all of God's creatures. When a species is endangered, it naturally deserves special protection and care.

But does that mean that a gorilla has rights? 

Merriam Webster defines a right as something to which one has a just claim: (as in) a. the power or privilege to which one is justly entitled. If Harambe has suffered an injustice, as some claim, is that because Harambe has rights tantamount to human rights?

No, Harambe is not entitled to human rights.  He is not a human and, no, animals are not persons as some are actually claiming.

Did Harambe have a right to have his life protected even when a three-year-old child had fallen into his enclosure and the child's life was in grave danger?

Harambe did not have that right. And, therefore, there was no injustice. Whether he intended harm to the child or not is irrelevant. The behavior of animals is morally neutral. He was neither innocent nor guilty. He was a gorilla. And gorillas cannot safely be in proximity with humans.

Raising the concept of justice in regards to this case is troubling. It anthropomorphizes the gorilla. Thankfully even PETA is not saying that the gorilla should not have been sacrificed to save the life of the child. But they are saying that this was an injustice and therefore someone must be held accountable. And it is the mother who is receiving their disapproving gaze.

Really? I will grant you that it is highly unusual for a child to enter a gorilla enclosure with the mom standing right there. But she WAS standing right there. She also had other children with her. I prefer to assume, not that this mother was negligent, but that this three-year-old must have been one wiry, active little boy. Witnesses say that it all happened in a matter of seconds.

Had the mother been holding the hand of each child (never mind that she only has two hands), perhaps this would not have happened. Maybe had she turned to her son one nanosecond sooner, she could have grabbed him and stopped him. The fact that she looked away for a few seconds hardly makes her a negligent mother.

That a magnificent gorilla, an endangered species, had to be killed to protect a young child is a tragedy. It would have been an even greater tragedy had the zoo not acted and the child been killed by the gorilla.

We live in a fallen world. We do our best to make moral choices and to honor God (and his creation) as well as our neighbor.

Sometimes, accidents are accidents and not anyone's fault. It would seem that this is one of those times.