Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Something Primal

I have never hunted.  I don't necessarily see myself as ever wanting to hunt.  But, this morning, while I was running the thought crossed my mind.

I had been running nearly 4 miles (which is the distance at which I ended as I ran past my house upon my return home).  I was back in my neighborhood and just tracing a round-about oath to get my full four miles.  As I was running up the street two over from my own, I saw the neighborhood fox.  I had clearly startled it into action and I watched it run up one street and turn a corner.  When I turned the same corner (still a bit behind it), I saw it turning into a neighbor's yard.

What passed through my mind?  Well, on a very non-hunting note, "What time is it Mr Fox?"  A classic children's game.

What else passed through my mind?  First, if I had another person with me, we could surround it and drive it to a place where we could hunt it down.  Not that fox would be all that big game or yield that much meat, but this is a direct thought from the book Born to Run, by Christopher McDougall.  It occurred to me that what I read in all parts of my life (not just in church) affects what I think.  I started thinking about the description in the book of persistence hunting and tried to imagine myself in the wilderness.  Not an easy image to conjure up but an interesting one. Maybe running without a shirt at the track has also contributed to my thinking along these lines.

What else passed through my mind?  Have seen the move and now read the book, The Hunger Games, I thought about Katniss.  While in many ways the themes of the book and the movie are very disturbing, the main character would not have survived were she not a good hunter. I thought about how not quiet I am as a runner sometimes (although sometimes I do startle people when I run quietly up behind them).  And I thought about what it would take to combine my running with other skills to survive.

When I realized that I'd spent about a minute thinking about hunting a fox, I just thought to myself, "That is very primal."  I don't often think things that I consider completely primal.  Things that are aimed only (or at least primarily) at survival.  I don't know that I'd be much of a survivalist.

But to bring it all back to a spiritual side (other than thinking of how much my mind was off in a different direction than it usually goes that didn't feel very spiritual at all), I did do a search to find something about hunting in the Bible.  In the spirit of my recent read of The Hunger Games, I actually found something about Hagar's and Abraham's son Ishmael.  It brings me to Genesis 21:20:

"God was with the boy as he grew up. He lived in the wilderness and became an expert bowman."

This verse mentions an important person in thd Old Testament becoming an expert bowman.  Expert bowman were what the Roman emperor tried to use to kill St. Sebastian.  An expert bow-person was the main character in the hunger games.  And, if Abraham's one son was an expert bowman, then hunting must be okay with God.  A reminder that the interpretation of the commandment about killing really only goes as far as people.  (Which isn't to say that being vegetarian or vegan is a bad thing.  Just that it isn't Biblically necessary).  It is also interesting because he lived alone out in the wilderness.  Who was with him?  God.  And when I run, even when I am in an urban area, sometimes it feels I'm so far from home that I might as well be in the wilderness.  And sometimes I am with friends and acquaintances.  And sometimes not.  But I am never along--God is always with me, wherever I am.

So, just the hunt for a verse to go along with an issue that I thought about after seeing a fox at about 5:10 this morning was enough to get me thinking and wondering and providing me with an important reminder that God is always there to lead me.  On my path of (as I mentioned yesterday) trying to be Jesus for the least ones, trying to make sure that my worship is more than just a song, and (as I mentioned earlier this week), trying to make sure take I take my role as prophet as seriously as I take other roles I have.   

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