Of Ostriches and Eagles   5 comments

From my last post some might suppose that my imagery of a majestic, soaring eagle for my father and a silly, flightless ostrich for myself was in some way self-denigrating.  However, the analogy was not based on my own valuation of eagles vs. ostriches (or dad vs. me), but on how I think society views each.  The superiority of the eagle seems self-evident to Americans–it was not the ostrich (or more to home, the pigeon or crow) that was stamped on the Great Seal of the United States.

As a culture we lionize and value certain traits more than others–the one who talks is more admired than the one who listens, the fast more than the slow, the take-charge more than the let-be.  But all have their unique value and purpose as well as weakness and limitation–the eagle is as awkward on the ground as the ostrich is in the air.  Each person is vital in their uniqueness, an irreplaceable expression of God himself.

We tend to slot folks into winners and losers, successful and failures, saints and sinners, or we grade them high to low, but the most heroic in the Bible have their fatal flaws, usually as the shadow presence of their strength.  The Bible presents godly people as models for us all to follow… and then presents those same people as warnings to avoid: Abraham and Issac vs. Abraham and Hagar; David and Goliath vs. David and Bathsheba; Peter as The Rock vs. Peter as Satan.  The best among us are deeply flawed, and that must be a bedrock of our theology and spirituality.  I call it honesty, the truth about ourselves, which is just as fundamental to our heart health as the truth about God, and just as fundamental to true, healthy relationships as well.

We are all equally beautiful as God’s creations and equally precious to our Heavenly Father.  May we all be graced with the eyes to see one another’s beauty.



Posted June 10, 2016 by janathangrace in thoughts

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5 responses to “Of Ostriches and Eagles

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  1. Thanks for the clarifications, my friend. I wholehearted agree with the sentiments of this post. It may just be that in the eternal equation and perspective, you may be more the eagle. I find our vision so conditioned by our culture, both the general culture and “Christian” sub-culture in which we relate, that we draw conclusions that may or may not reflect that eternal perspective. Yes, Abraham died the father of two sons, one of a handmaiden, Hagar, and the other the son of Sarah, his wife. He was buried by the oak of Mamre. He had some significant friendships. He did battle when necessary for the life of his nephew, Lot, who was a wayward soul whose offspring created a couple pagan nations through incest. Other than an encounter with Melchizedek, though, and a few visions of God speaking to him, he wasn’t much at the end of his earthly life. Such was the man who became the father of all the faithful. Hmmmm… Interesting, isn’t it?

    • Didn’t mean to post that comment anonymously.

    • Thanks for reading and commenting, Jack. Yes, as the years pass I realize more and more how deeply influenced we are in our morals, theology, spirituality, etc. because of the slant of our culture. Getting outside my own culture (in India) started that process of deep analysis for me. May we each discover the riches that come to us from welcoming perspectives different from our own.

  2. Yes, I agree as well. Our problem is that we are sinners and saints at the same time. Therein lies our struggle and it is God alone who sees our hearts and He alone will judge our “works”! Kind of scary, but glad he sees us all the same at the foot of the Cross!

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