Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Love Thy Anemones

Love Thy Anemone

What a delight to run into my friend Toni from our Aquarium shift among the 60,000 people at the Oakland Women’s March!  Check out her great sign! 

Every Thursday morning Toni and I (and our shift) spend four hours trying to help a few thousand Aquarium visitors to (in the words of its mission statement) “be inspired to do ocean conservation.”  With this one simple homemade sign Toni inspired many thousands more.  Thanks, Toni.

I was pleasantly surprised to see so many pro-science signs at the March.  “Science Trumps Opinion.”  “Tolerance, Reason, Facts – Make American Think Again.”  “Climate Change is Real.”  (Did you see the photo of the scientists at the Antarctic holding signs like “Penguins for Peace”?!)

Love thy anemone!  We could just leave it at that.  Our Blue Theology gospel for the day is that we are called to love all of creation, and that includes anemones, those amazing sea animals that look like flowers (hence their name) and carpet the reef like a vast multicolored ocean garden.

But if you want to do a little more scriptural analysis of Toni’s pun, she’s right up there with Jesus on the use of parable and paradox.  Anemones look and act strange, maybe scary, but they are not our enemies.  And even if they are, according to the sign/text, we are supposed to love them.  Amen.

Oh sure, like their cousin sea urchins, anemones can sting.  But that’s how they get dinner. If you attach to a rock for life, how are you going find food, and how are you going to escape predators?  A gentle sting (it doesn’t hurt humans) snags a yummy fish or repels a predatory crab.

Likewise I think we often label as “enemies” those whose ways of surviving (finding dinner and not being someone else’s dinner) are different for our own.

But when we encounter someone that seems like an enemy (or actually is an enemy,) Jesus and many others urge us not to fear or hate them, but to love them.  Love thy enemies.  And thy anemones.  Consider the anemones of the field.  Love and protect them.

I write this Blue Theology column each Wednesday.  I also write another weekly column, “On the Road Again,” about walking, pilgrimage, caminos.  This week I tell there another story about the March and a different sign I saw, a quote by Voltaire! 

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