October 28, 2008


My husband is home. =) We are all very happy about that, dontcha know?

Sunday we splurged and bought passes to Sea World (from Costco, where they are significantly cheaper), then spent the day there just the three of us. We had such a good time! Caleb is old enough now to watch the animals and is even showing a curiosity and interest in them. So after the Shark Encounter, the Seasame Street Playground, and lunch, we decided to try a show. We don't generally take our son to shows because he generally doesn't sit still. But since it was way past nap time, we decided to try our luck and hope he'd be too tired to climb around much.

Thus, 2:30pm found us sitting in the bleachers at Shamu Stadium waiting for "Believe" to begin.

Now, I just want to say that I have a lot of respect for the trainers who work with the killer whales and other animals featured in amusement park shows. The time and effort that goes into these 30 minute productions is incredible and the results are awe-inspiring and amazing. We certainly Oooed and Ahhhed our fair share on Sunday.

That said, I was disappointed with "Believe." Why? Because of the not-so-subtle humanistic tones it incorporated. The theme of the show is about believing in your dreams, in yourself, and making your dreams come true. Not a bad theme at first glance, right? Well, I could write a whole 'nuther post about why those goals are misdirected, misinformed, and faulty. But what really smacked me upside the head Sunday was the secondary but powerful theme of being one with nature.

Sea World has taken evironmentalism to a whole new level. Now I'm all for renewable energy, recycling paper and plastics, and being a good steward of the earth's resources. But this show pushed the equality of animals (the killer whale specifically of course) and humans like nothing I've yet seen.

A number of things bothered me about the show, but mostly I didn't like the music. I may not be a professional DJ, but having Zoo passes for four years and Sea World passes for two has taught me a thing or two about animal shows: you always use catchy, loud, upbeat music. The crowds love it; they clap along and cheer. They sway and stomp. Kids jump up and down.

Not so with "Believe." The only catchy song happened when the crowd chanted "Shamu, Shamu" and then waited to be splashed. The rest of the music was slow, reflective, inspirational, and - dare I say? - worshipful. That was how Jason described it. And that was exactly the mood it created. "The earth is our mother" flashed across the big screen at one point. "Two species trying to connect as one" went the lyrics to one of the songs that played while the trainer, dressed like a killer whale, spun around in circles with his trainee. "One heart, one world . . . "

On and on it went. As Jason put it, the show was designed to feel uplifting and inspiring, but uplifting to what? To animals and humans? To our own power? To creation? That was the obvious purpose, but for the two of us who know better, the show felt just a wee bit empty.

So now "Believe" has got me thinking. What would it look like to have an animal show where, instead of worshiping creation, we worshiped the Creator? Think of it. The killer whales would still jump and spin and splash, but maybe to the tune of "Indescribable" by Chris Tomlin:

"From the highest of heights to the depths of the sea

Creation's revealing Your majesty

From the colors of fall to the fragrance of spring

Every creature unique in the song that it sings

All exclaiming

Indescribable, uncontainable,

You placed the stars in the sky and You know them by name.

You are amazing God

All powerful, untameable,

Awestruck we fall to our knees as we humbly proclaim

You are amazing God"

Instead of the Circle of Life and We Are All One mantras, these words could flash across the big screen:

"Who defined the boundaries of the sea as it burst forth from the womb? . . . for I locked it behind barred gates, limiting its shores . . . Have you explored the springs from which the seas come? Have you walked about and explored their depths?" (Job 38:8, 10, 16).

"For since the creation of the world God's invisible qualities-his eternal power and divine nature-have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse." (Rom. 1:20).

"The creation waits in eager expectation for the sons of God to be revealed. For the creation was subjected to frustration, not by its own choice, but by the will of the one who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself will be liberated from its bondage to decay and brought into the glorious freedom of the children of God." (Rom. 8:19-21).

Then, for the finale, a rock version of "All Creatures of Our God and King." =)

Sound a bit campy? Cheesy? Well, friends, if Sea World can get away with Kumbaya and millions pay to watch it, why couldn't we create a show that would inspire us to look at God as the Creator and the Glory of the animal kingdom?

I wish such a thing were possible. Giving glory to God and viewing man as separate from the animal are rather unpopular ideas in our culture. If I had the money (and such an endeavor would require a lot of it) and the time, I would love to create my own Noah's Ark Theme Park/Zoo.

Hmmmmmm . . .

Maybe I will someday. And if not here on earth, maybe I'll get that chance in heaven.

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