I am a parish minister currently serving the Eliot Church of Natick MA. Eliot Church is a Community Church affiliated with the Unitarian Universalist Association and the United Church of Christ. Any statements made and postions held in "Unity," however, are solely mine(of course, they may be used with appropriate atribution). Therefore if you disagree, please do not blame the church!

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Dead Fish and Such (Or my Dan Harper Moment)

Not too long ago (I believe it was the Saturday before Halloween). I stopped to sit on the park bench at the dam across from my house. It was cold and the rain was threatening to make its appearance at any moment. I, however, wasn't entirely alone. On the other side of the dam, one of the Herons that make their home on the Charles was busy catching fish. First he stood stock-still and then, thrusting with his beak he poked at the water in front of him. Finally, he was successful and spent the next twenty minutes stabbing his catch to death before gulping it down.

The other denizen of the opposite bank was not so lucky. While the Heron was exhalting in its dinner, a fisherman cast his line twice, and then got it tangled on some rocks. Ah, well. Maybe there was something for him in the fridge.

I thought of this moment today thanks to the church air conditioner. This particular appliance gets very little use from humans and, therefore, has become the home to a family of birds. They are quite loud today. I don't mind. The sound reminds me of my country childhood, of the various suburban nature preserves, and of the urban parks and greenhouses that have been a part of my life. In particular, it reminded me of the Lincoln Park Conservatory in Chicago, similar to the one on Belle Isle in Detroit. No doubt the wet weather today helped me make the connection, too.

I realize that nature doesn't exist for my happiness but, still, it brings me joy. I hope that it brings you joy, too. Winter is coming, and coming soon.

I am a big fan of good science and have never really understood why many faith leaders are so bent out of shape about Darwin and others who have called into question some of the stories in scripture. I would hope that their trust in God is greater than that. Why would we think that any human being (Yes, the bible was written by humans. This is indisputable.) could reduce the wonder of the world to the written page. It cannot be done. Modern discoveries do not prove God's non-existence so much as prove our limitted understanding. I hear the voices of the birds and the rain on the roof today and stand in awe of all we do not know of the complexity of this creation.

In the past, I have written a bit about Natural Selection and made it the topic of my summer reading. The reviews of the books I read can be seen here and here and here. My buddy Dan Harper has a post about the Christian Conservatives and their approach to science here.