Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Lessons from the Kill

It was dark as I was kneeling down over the doe that I had shot. The sun had set an hour before and when I knelt down over this life that I had taken I was transfixed for a moment. I have come to terms that the way of the earth is that death overcomes all of us. I was contemplating my own mortality as I stroked her neck. Someone once said no one leaves this life alive, and it is true. It is a humbling thing to pull the trigger on a deer, precisely because it reminds us that in order for life to continue death must also have its way. This is a spiritual lesson as well- without the death of Christ there would be no life for us.

There are those who like their meat to come on styrofoam plates, with all the blood soaked up by hidden absorbant pads. We like to think that our world is clean and sterile. It isn't. It is a rough and tumble world with all of nature "red in tooth and claw" as the poet said. We are the ones who bring the order to the chaos, who build the gardens, and subdue the earth. It is our call- as the representatives of God on the earth to do our best to guard the species that he has supplied for us to enjoy. And that is the perspective that I take- we are stewards of this earth.

The doe lay there cooling from her life. The haunting reminder of life's cost. It is, I suppose, natural not to think of her death as we partake of the life. So when I am eating my venison steak I will not be thinking long about this doe. And perhaps that is why Christ calls us to remember his sacrifice- lest we get caught up in this Life that he has given and forget him, and his sacrifice. Remember me- that is what he said.

I am thankful that the hunt ended with meat for my family, and a time of fellowship with family and friends. And in this thanksgiving time- I am thankful for all that Christ gave me-for no man took his life... he laid it down voluntarily.


Brent said...

Read your blog.Someday you should go to Arkansas with me talk about hunting and fishing. Heck I got three deer with my car and the season hadnt even opened(not really funny but true).
I'm told this is a way to contact you. WE shall see.

Pastor Dave said...

email me at

Paul M. Harrison said...

My friend Joe stepped on a grasshopper a few months ago for no reason which made me sad, but I wasn't sad fighting colds, washing my hands with anti-bacterial soap, or eating BBQ chicken wings at Famous Daves.

My beautiful girlfriend Kelly is Vegan, but more for health than animal rights reasons. We watched a documentary on YouTube called "Earthlings" which showed the factory farming and abuse of animals, and I couldn't eat meat for two weeks.

I have found that all of life seems to be run on the double-standard of survival. I can eat your babies but I'll kill you if you try to eat mine. And if the inevitable suffering of animals is natural for survival, it's just as absurd in the courtship and mating habits of animals!

I have always been obsessed with and afraid of the absurd suffering in this world, which at times has driven me to suicidal nihilism and breakdown. Being disabled and in chronic pain since the age of 17, I understand struggle. This has always been for me the most powerful agrument for atheism and evolution.

Yet, somehow, there is a transcendent beauty and purpose to things that just won't allow me to undermine my life with nihilism. It is self-defeating. Even false hope and faith in the unknown seems a natural coping mechanism and is better than affirming nothingness. Optimism seems a virtue after all, unless you are Joel Osteen. Then you are just obnoxious.

We aren't dust yet, so while we are still living, we have to believe life is essentially good and worth something. Every living thing struggles, and biblically, groans for renewal. A mature view of God's providence I think must take absurd suffering into account. How this makes sense in light so many biblical promises of God making sure things go well for you I don't know. I can't listen to Rich Mullins without imagining him flying through a windshield and being run over by oncoming traffic.

Nothing makes an atheist faster than being sold a delusional view of God with your hope and optimism high on false promises that leave you crashed to the ground in disillusionment. Yet another example of learning best through blood.