Creek Bank Theology

July 11, 2007 at 7:39 pm Leave a comment

 I have just spent a couple of days camping with family and having a great time. The weather was warm in our neck of the woods so we were able to stay outside late and play guitar (badly) and sing (even worse) and watch the stars and listen to the frogs. Yes, there were some brown bottles on the ground at breakfast ….. must be like mushrooms…… just sprouted over night.

My daughter complained that the frogs were so loud that she couldn’t sleep and they were a pain. She was chagrined that I loved them! I sat by the fire listening. We were beside a small (green!!) creek and the frogs were spread along it. These were bull frogs and I started classifying them by age. There were a few adolescent honks of a higher pitch. There were several fairly impressive gronks of adult baritone. Then there were the loud tug boat blasts of the grand daddies. There were only a few of these elders and it was a thrill to hear them. (Yes, I lead a boring life…) What the young frogs produced in quantity, the elders matched or surpassed with volume and quality. I could imagine an amorous girl frog listening to pick a worthy mate and hearing the heart stopping tug boat call of a mature male and swooning on the bank. Now this could all be in my head. After all, I was fairly doped up with skitter repellent and I’m sure the DEET seeped in through the base of my skull affecting motor skills and thought processes. Still, I began to think that humanity is like the frogs on that creek bank.

Humanity has three groups. There are the young frogs that are anxious to get into the main creek of life and eagerly honk away. They may not have any experience or say much important, but they sure have lots of energy. In our adolescent stage, us frogs have a little bit of experience and sometimes even something worth saying. There is still lots of energy but adolescents tend to be rash and act first – think later. Then there are the old bull frogs. Lots of experience – not much energy. They don’t waste a lot of frogpower honking or gronking just to hear themselves, but when they let go, their tug boat GAWONK surpasses all. I’m sure some frogs get old and senile and there are younger frogs to challenge their authority or survival of the fittest wouldn’t work. (Yes, I’m an evolutionist too!) Overall, it seems part of nature that a society looks up to its elders. Our western society seems to devalue it’s elders but other societies on this earth still hold the wisdom of the elders in esteem. Our Christian tradition being based in Judaism would bear this out. Of course God was the ultimate elder (hence the old man on a throne with flowing beard).

I am reminded of a story about Sitting Bull that I found humorous. The Indians would be faced with a situation. It may have been an encroachment on their hunting ground or an imminent attack by the whites. The chiefs and elders would hold a council to determine the best action to take. I’m sure this was hard on the eager young braves who wanted immediate action. What was funny to me was that after the council had made their considered decision and plans were made, many times the young braves would rashly charge off anyway and do their own thing. All the planning was down the pipe. How human.

This is why we seek the Spirit. The Spirit speaks to our heart and teaches us over time what the wise action should be. Of course elders have had more of this learning and it stands to reason that they should be deferred to. No, it doesn’t always work that way but the wisdom of the elders should trump the rashness of youth. Isn’t this part of what God wants to teach us?

I wonder how long ago the frogs learned this. I’ll have to visit them again.

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Entry filed under: Wrestling With God.

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