(Note: I agree with Duncan today. I don’t need to add to the cacophony on the events in Boston, but “feel like talking about anything else is just weird.” So I’m pre-empting this week’s Left Behind Friday post and replacing it with the following. Feel free to ignore the idiosyncratic theologizing in the post below and just enjoy the links.)
Job is a play about the meaning of suffering and justice, beginning with a series of unsatisfying monologues suggesting possible explanations, each of which gets refuted and rejected in turn. And then “God” shows up. God is a character in this play — a deus ex machina without the machine and/or the tidy ending. We expect this God character to give us the right and final explanation, but after reinforcing Job’s prior refutation of the earlier foolish arguments, God basically just says “Trust me.”
That’s the gist of God’s argument, anyway. But about midway through a very long speech, God gets a bit distracted. The speech starts out as the basic sort of thing that experts often say when having to explain something too complicated for a lay audience to grasp. It’s that impatient thing they do when we ask such experts a graduate-level question before we’ve mastered even an introductory notion of the subject. Instead of answering the question, they just recite their qualifications and credentials as experts — reassuring us that they know what they’re talking about and that we’ll just have to take their word for it because we couldn’t possibly understand. That’s an annoying thing for experts to do, even when they’re right. Or maybe especially when they’re right.
And that’s how the character of God starts off, just listing all the incredible things he’s created as a way of bolstering his authority and trustworthiness. But then it starts to get away from him a bit. God starts grinning goofily at the thought of all these amazing creatures and the argument morphs into more of a reverie about just how freakin’ cool all this stuff he created has turned out to be.
It’s like part-way through this theological discourse, the character of God wanders off and just starts surfing the Web, laughing with delight at animal videos on YouTube.
I can relate to that. One video leads to another and before you know it an hour has gone by.
Here, for example, is a video of a baby giraffe standing up for the very first time. It’s mother’s name is Petal.
And here is a video of a baby elephant playing in the surf.
Penguins live on ice. Ice is slippery. Here is video of penguins falling down.
Here is a deer playing in a mud puddle.
This is a dik dik — a baby dik dik.
And this is an itty bitty baby octopus.
And this is a picture of a baby pig. In a sweater. And socks.
And here are some otters, chasing a butterfly.
And here is a sea lion pup, hanging out in the lobby of a hotel.
And here is a video of a monk seal named Onaona, who spins like a top.
Here are some videos of young polar bear cubs learning to crawl and to walk.
This desert rain frog, from Namibia, is pretty cute even before it makes that amazing sound.
Naked mole rats are not cute, but they are fascinating. (I once got to hold one.)
Some marine ribbon worms are quite beautiful, others less so, but just look at them.
Here is a stunning time-lapse video of Yosemite Park.
The God of Job would have loved YouTube.
I think the author of Job is right about this. I believe that this is what God is like.
Except, of course, that God doesn’t need YouTube. We Christians believe that God is omnipresent and all-seeing. So while I might get caught up watching this sloth hugging a cat for the few moments in which this was captured on video, God is able to watch all the sloths and all the cats all the time.
And, like the author of Job, I believe that this is what God does. All the time. Because God loves all the sloths and all the cats, and all the puppies, otters, ribbon worms, naked mole rats, elephants, giraffes, rain frogs, polar bears, sea lions, seals, dik diks, pigs, leviathans, behemoths, penguins and octopi.
And the beetles too. I think Haldane was right, that God is inordinately fond of beetles.
I think God is inordinately fond of everything.