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!