Human and Animal Relationships Bring Us to a Deeper Understanding of God
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Christian Living

True Christian living requires us to live according to Kingdom standards which bring Heaven to earth

Human and Animal Relationships Bring Us to a Deeper Understanding of God

In his address to the 2004 Convention of the Episcopal Church of North Carolina, our Suffragan Bishop here in North Carolina, Gary Gloster, offered an unusual and deeply moving example of how human and animal relations bring us into a deeper understand of God.

He told the not-often-enough-repeated story of the Jewish Theologian, Martin Buber, and one of the formative experiences of his childhood.

Martin did a hitch on a farm grooming horses. Over time, he became quite attached to the animals and began to look forward to his stall time brush, combing and chumming with them. One particular day he was grooming his favorite pony when he suddenly began to realize how very much the horse enjoyed the attention. Stopping to savor this insight, it struck him that, for him, the horse was no longer an "it," just something else to be maintained like the grain stalls or the plumbing. Moreover, Martin knew that the horse had also developed a deep personal affection for him - that beyond combs and apples and one-sided conversation, the horse genuinely enjoyed Martin's company.

Out of this intuition sprang Martin Buber's lifelong fascination with God's love of humanity as an "I-Thou" relationship, a revelation that arose from his amiable bonding with a non-human creature.

Reflecting on this strange and wonderful "enlightenment" when someone told him he was just being "sentimental and anthropomorphic," Martin - in good rabbinical fashion - supposedly offered the quote from the Book of Job, "Go to the animals and they will teach you."

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