Aug 9, 2009

The Greatest Show on Earth...

I am convinced that the greatest shows on earth are at Sea World.    I don’t know if it’s the allure of aquatic animals, their size, or the perfection in their training, but I have always enjoyed watching the performances.  This summer, we went to Sea World with my brother’s family and saw almost every show. What a joy!

In the dolphin show the delphinus delphis leapt high out of the water to jump over high objects.  Then they swam around the front of the tank and flipped their flippers soaking the audience. Since it was hot in San Diego, the water felt good.  The sea lions balanced balls on their nose.  They dove into the water to pick up objects. Then they soaked everyone too.

But the great-granddaddy show of all is SHAMU.  The 9000 pound killer whales swam and jumped to a perfectly timed and choreographed production.  The movable movie screens behind the tank were sequenced to show movie clips in sync with the Orcas. How cool! And the most amazing part of the whole performance was this:  They didn’t eat the humans in the tank with them.  I mean they are, after all, killer whales.

I really thought about this difference between animals and humans at the Pets Rule show.  In this show dogs, cats, pigs, and birds all performed some amazing stunts.  They counted, they read and they solved puzzles.  But while I believe there are some smart animals out there, I had to remember that the animals at Sea World were just simply trained to go through the show.  They weren’t really solving complex problems.  They were reacting to get dog treats.

I remember my grandfather telling stories of how when he was a kid the boys his age used to do horrible things to animals.  I don’t think they were mean, I just think that one hundred years ago, people thought differently about animals.  When my grandfather was young some animals were shot if they got too close to the chicken house or if they ate the crops.  But beginning in 1942 with the release of Disney’s Bambi, over time animals have been portrayed as anthropogenic creatures trapped inside non-human bodies.  As I watched the Pets Rule show, I was convinced that most of the kids will grow up believing that these animals are nearly human.

Maybe they are.  Not because their brain is equal in capacity to ours but because we place such high value on animals today.  Our dog Emily had an encounter with a rattle snake in our back yard this week.  Fortunately the snake was about 9 years old, so it knew to conserve its strength and Emily didn’t get bitten.  My kids asked what would happen if she had been bitten.  My immediate response was, “I am not spending five thousand dollars to save a dog”.  But as I went to sleep that night, I wasn’t so sure.  She is my baby, after all.

God saved His less-than-godly creatures.  He loved them so much He paid a very high price to rescue them from the snake of this world.  

Pastor David Hook

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