Richard Lair, Martin Luther, India discussed on New England Weekend


Now. Here's our speaker, Dr Michael Ziegler. An elephant is a living, mighty active creature. Elephants are the largest land animals on the planet, and they can run faster than an Olympic sprinter. Even when they're not sprinting, elephants are almost always active. For nearly 20 hours a day, they're walking, foraging grazing consuming in some cases, more than £1000 of plant material every day. Elephants are active and elephants are mighty. They are built like a tank with the power of a forklift and over the course of human history For more than 4000 years, human beings have employed them as both Tanks and fork lifts. Sometimes for entertainment to in some Asian countries, they stage tug of war contests between an elephant and people. One end of the rope is tied up to an elephant in a harness. And at the other end of the rope. There are 2050 as many as 100 men, all pulling pine pulling Against one elephant. And one elephant is all it takes. To drag 100 grown men through the dirt like rag dolls attached to a string elephants are living busy, mighty active creatures of a living, mighty active God. Living, mighty active. That's how one Christian described the faith of Jesus Christ the Messiah. Martin Luther was his name, he said. Oh, it is a living Busy, mighty active thing is faith, Faith. It's like an elephant. Sometimes we try to keep faith locked up. Traveler was walking through the streets of India one day. And he saw an elephant. Out back. In the alley. He walked around to get a better view, and he noticed that the elephant was tied up to a rope to a little metal stake hammered into the ground. And observing this Magnificent mighty creature. Tethered by that tiny rope, he wondered. Why doesn't the elephant break free? The story goes. 20 years ago, maybe 30 years ago. When she was just a baby elephant. Someone captured her and change her up to a big banyan tree. With an iron shackle around her hind foot, and she pulled and pulled and pulled against those chains for days, but It didn't do any good. She was stuck. So years later. Even as a four grown elephant whenever she feels that iron around her foot. She knows that she's stuck. Even though she has the power to break free. She doesn't use it. She's a prisoner of her own small expectations. Different versions of that story of the elephant and chains circulated. You'll hear them from motivational speakers. The value of such a story is metaphorical. The elephant in the room is that you and I are the ones captive to our own small expectations, and the moral of the story is that we're all much bigger than we think. But hold on. If you read up a bit on real elephants. You'll see that the image isn't accurate. Maybe there's a better lesson in the comparison. Yes, elephants have been captured, trained and employed by human beings for 4000 years, maybe longer. But unlike horses and cows and cats and dogs, elephants have never been domesticated. That's according to Richard Lair who worked with the United Nations who lived with and studied elephants in captivity for more than 20 years, who is the world's foremost expert on the Asian elephant? Mr Lehrer says that every elephant In captivity is genetically and behaviorally. Wild. Elephants have never been selectively bred to sift out their wildness. An elephant born and raised in captivity when released back into the wild, quickly adapts to its natural habitat, Unlike the family dog, who's wolf like traits have been sifted out through centuries of selective breeding. Elephants don't need to be taught to be wild. They are wild. Mr Lehrer explained that, uh, domesticated elephant Is simply a wild animal in Shane's. In the blink of an eye, an elephant can kill a grown man with its tusks with its forehead. With its trunk. With its mouth. With its legs or with any combination thereof. The first thing to remember Mr Lehrer warns. Keeping elephants in captivity. Human deaths are unavoidable. So this picture of a metaphorical elephant mentally tethered by a single rope. It might be useful for life coaches and motivational speakers, but it's not accurate. Even in captivity. Elephants are mighty dangerous and mysterious. And yet Under the right conditions. Elephants can form strong bonds, even affectionate bonds with human beings. We don't want to romanticize this relationship, And there's more than enough to mourn about the way human beings have exploited these wondrous creatures of God. But at the same time, a simplistic hands off approach to elephants doesn't seem to work either, especially as human. An elephant populations overlap in a place like India. Elephant Advocates in Asia denounce animal cruelty but also note how humans and elephants have lived peacefully and productively together for millennia. Sadly in a modern, mechanized world humanely caring for elephants. It's a dying art. However, even in modern times, elephants have worked in ways and in places where machines would fail. And logging operations. For example, elephants can selectively remove fallen trees in steep mountainous terrain without the widespread damage done to the environment when heavy equipment is used. After the Indian Ocean tsunami in 2004. Elephants were employed to carefully clear the wreckage. And to deftly pick through the rubble to search for survivors. In ways that would have been impossible for bulldozers and backhoes..

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