Thursday, February 16, 2012

Elephants - Another Lesson in Love

Did you know that it has been documented that elephants grieve the loss of others in their herd? Did you know that they are among nature's smartest creatures? (Check out more on "elephant cognition" here: )

What fascinates me is how they take care of others in the herd. Here is a video of several elephants "rescuing" a baby elephant in danger of drowning. If you're too busy to see a minute of gentle "trunk-assisted" attempts to bring the toddler to shore, skip to the halfway point.

I continue to be amazed at the beautiful complexity of nature our Father has engineered. I'm a big fan of "benevolent" species, with dogs, dolphins, and now, elephants topping my list of favorites. I'm equally amazed, however, at how quickly (and frequently) humans can forget basic levels of kindness and compassion. We may be on the "endangered list" of benevolent species.

Such a loss of basic human concern has been evident in so much of the media's treatment of the death of Whitney Houston. I understand the public's fascination with celebrities, but I also know at the heart of this media frenzy, is a grieving family who does NOT need to be the opening segment of "Entertainment Tonight."

Her death was tragic, but she was still a human being deserving of some kind of dignity immediately after her passing. Instead, she becomes the subject of scores of entertainment, news, and news magazine programs, not to mention the rest of the media world (i.e. internet!). That would be fine if the focus was on her contributions to the entertainment industry (which are mentioned, of course), but the media goes far beyond that. Even before her body can moved to her hometown, headlines talk of "a life of squandered opportunities," "Whitney's appearance at a club the night of her death," "exclusive photos of the bathtub where she died," etc.

I realize there are lessons to be learned from Whitney's life and death, but is it too much to ask that people wait until after the funeral to begin that process? I know it's too much to ask of the media to "behave" appropriately so soon after a celebrity's death, but it does remind me how Christ-followers can be "media outlets" of their own, with lives publicizing compassion, understanding, caring, and above all else...LOVE. How desperately the world needs the good news of Christ's love, and most won't go to the Bible on their own to find out. First they must "see" there's love to be found, and they are looking at the qualities of our lives as a reason to investigate a different path than the one they're on.

So don't let elephants show us up as a species! Find some way today to be genuinely compassionate and helpful to someone in need! You may be just the stimulus someone needs to find out Jesus really does love them, too!

You can be loving right now, by pausing to pray for Whitney Houston's daughter and the rest of her family who are trying to grieve with 100's of photographers and media vans sitting outside their house.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Love Like Jesus Loved

Just saw this video at Hyper Pixels Media. Pretty important reminder of how important it is to respond to Christ's love by loving Him and others! (Go here for more videos:

Friday, February 10, 2012

Are Humans Earth's Best Species? - Sometimes I Wonder!

I'm a fan of dolphins (especially the bottlenosed variety!). I saw Dolphin Tale recently and enjoyed it much more than I had anticipated. It's been a long, long, LONG time since I've seen an episode of FLIPPER so it was a reminder of just how remarkable these mammals are. During the opening titles of the movie, there were shots of dolphins in the wild blowing air rings and playing with them. I thought, "hmmm, nice CGI special effect, but not very realistic. Why did they show something like that anyway?" Well, I found out that they put those shots in there, because they really can blow those rings and play with them. See for yourself...

Few animals in the wild have as powerful a reputation of being "playful and benevolent" as these noble creatures.

They are smart. They are highly social, living in family units called "pods." They can fish together. They care for one another, staying with an injured or ill individual, helping them to breathe by bringing them to the surface. Dolphin attacks on humans are extremely rare, but there have been documented cases of dolphins circling swimmers to protect them from nearby sharks, and of dolphins chasing sharks away. They can teach each other behaviors, as in the case of female Indo-Pacific bottlenose dolphins who teach their offspring how to cover their snouts with sponges to protect them while foraging for food.

All in all, as a species, they seem to get along better than we do. We know they communicate with each other. I wonder if they lie to each other? I wonder if they tear each other down with their clicks and whistles? I wonder if they worry? Maybe they do, but if they do, I don't want to find out. I like having a species sharing our planet that inspires me to act like a better human being.

Paul reminds us of the life Christ came to manifest in each us in Romans 12:9-18,21: 9 Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good. 10 Be devoted to one another in brotherly love. Honor one another above yourselves. 11 Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord. 12 Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. 13 Share with God’s people who are in need. Practice hospitality.14 Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse. 15 Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn. 16 Live in harmony with one another. Do not be proud, but be willing to associate with people of low position. Do not be conceited. 17 Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everybody. 18 If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone.... 21 Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.

If dolphins can get along so well with each other, and us, then shouldn't we be able to? Our Father hasn't only made it plain in the scriptures as to the best life possible, but He's given us all we need in Christ to make that life possible...TODAY! So go and have a "dolphin-like" day...TODAY!

Oh, here's a trailer for the film (From the folks who made "The Blind Side!")