Wednesday, March 3, 2010


Chinese farmer Fu Haiwen has a strange duck: it has chicken feet and is afraid of the water!
Fu said he bought the duck in June but did not notice its unusual feet for ten days, reports Laibin News. It was only after he noticed it acting differently to the rest of the ducks that he examine closely and was surprised to see it did not have webbed feet."never went with the other ducks to swim in the river," he explained.

This poor little creature is a stranger in a strange land like so many us who lose tract of our true origins. Our modern world is full of such children, wandering after strangers and strangnesses, things, ideas, places, objects, addictions, who will serve as substitutes. Soon these lost chickies will look, walk, talk, and feed on a world they were not born to. Soon they forget they are chickens. After a while they walk like the odd ducks they are following. One just has to turn on almost any television station and watch the duck parade.

How He must miss our wanderings.

As Christ following adults we know better, yet daily we lose our way, and begin to bond with strangers.

Why is it so easy for  strangers to capture our minds, our hearts, our bodies, and even, our souls? Richard Rohr, contemporary theologian, once described humans as mimetic intelligences, as the advertizing world so well knows. We become what we mimic. We copy what we see.  We are copycat learners, or, well,..copychicks.

Have you ever noticed how a new fashion, for instance, the layered look, which at first sight seemed so oddly unfinished, letting what seemed like underwear hang out, evolved into the norm?   Soon we begin to like it, admire it, want it, have to have it. Trends are born out of our need to mimic. We follow what we look at faithfully like quacking ducks with chicken feet.

In our postmodern world there is no lack of streetside venders, showing off their wares. I lose "track" often to my own meanderings and once in a while get really lost to such snake charmers. I have to remember that I become what I look at long enough. I must be really careful what I look at. I moment by moment have to re-focus my mind's eye on whatever is lovely, true, pure, beautiful, as Paul reminds.

My ugly yet charming snakes are unhealthy foods, giving into worry and anxious thinking, gossip, shiny new goods, temporary comforts, wanting what I want when n how I want it, and so on and on - an addiction to the slippery sirens of the senses and the world, the will, its pleasures and its burdens. What are your charming snakes?

Mother Hen,
cluck over me
never let me out
of Your warm, feathering
I am at home
never more
than when
I am tucked
in the giddy crush
of Your unbearable wing

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