Friday, October 06, 2006

"Saving love is in the heart of everything..."

Brian McLaren has written a really beautiful and interesting tribute to Steve Irwin, the Australian "crocodile hunter" of television fame who died in early September of a stingray sting. McLaren calls the audacious conservationist an "unlikely missionary."

I confess I've never really watched Irwin. For several years, we've either had no television reception or (when we briefly did have cable) our lives were very full as we had an infant at the time. Still, I know many people found his program on "Animal Planet" fascinating and fun, and many people were shocked and grieved by his death. My attention was brought to it by my good friend (and faithful blog-reader!) Erin.

And now that I've read McLaren, I find myself wanting to go watch one of Irwin's shows. They must be available somewhere on video...?

McLaren (theologian and author) was a fan of Irwin's. Here's the heart of his piece, for me:

I know this might sound strange, but I think the man was a kind of missionary. He knew why he was put here on this planet; he knew his mission, and he knew it was more than a job. It was a vocation, a truly spiritual calling, an invitation and solemn duty to join in the care of God’s sacred creation.

What characterized Steve’s mission? Saving love – and especially for the creatures that are often misunderstood, despised and hated - crocs, sharks, snakes, spiders, and their kin.

Saving love, I’ve noticed, is at the heart of most good things in the world – musicians with a saving love for an almost forgotten genre of music, archeologists with a saving love for the artifacts of ancient civilizations, citizens with a saving love for their city, doctors with saving love for at-risk patients, teachers with saving love for at-risk students, social workers with saving love for at-risk families, pastors with saving love for at-risk sinners.

There seems to be a clue there, perhaps even a revelation, that saving love is in the heart of everything.

The whole piece is worth reading. It can be found here: McLaren tribute

Saving love for creatures that most need love. This does indeed sound like a resounding echo of the gospel!


Erin said...

Thanks for that, Beth. A really nice article, and I agree with him. There was a certain purity to Steve Irwin, and certainly a passion, and one I think is certainly consistent with the call for stewardship of the Earth. I watched his wife being interviewed by Barbara Walters and was struck by how soulful and devout she seemed. I'd never really seen her much before; she impressed me.

The Crocodile Hunter site is here, and it lists some of the DVDs and such that are available. There was also his movie, which I picked up at a video rental place for a couple bucks a few months ago. That one you can probably find in a store pretty cheap.

I think Steve-o and Hagrid would make quite the pair. I can just see Steve wrestling blast-ended skrewts and making kissy-faces at Norwegian Ridgebacks... :)

Beth said...

Love it! The notion of Steve and Hagrid, that is. Come to think of it, when I read that McLaren article, his description of Irwin did sound a bit like a loveable half-giant we know... :-)

It's sad how much the world can look down on and even mock child-likeness and excitement.

Thanks for the link to his site -- I really might have to see if I can check out one of the programs. Sarah is starting to like freaky creatures a bit :-) though I suspect I'd need to prescreen in a big way before deciding if I'd let her watch anything like that.