I'd like to interrupt my regular theological broadcasting for this special theological report on monkeys. Yes, monkeys. This is not only because I feel in almost every circumstance monkeys deserve their own headline, but also because it gives me another opportunity to talk about one of my strongest theological convictions.
Over all my years as a vegetarian, I have perfected my theological answer when people ask me why I don't eat animals (they say "meat" but let's be accurate, shall we?), but frankly, it all still comes down to the fact that I really, really love animals and don't want to eat them. This is not unrelated to my theology, of course, but instead is my way of living out of the conviction that God also loves all God's animals passionately (including us human animals, thankfully), and therefore part of our Christian identity includes recognizing our deep interconnectedness to the whole animal kingdom, and also loving and caring for other animals as an expression of our love for God.
So, whenever I go to another place, I also really enjoy taking notice of the special creatures that live there--different bird species, little lizards (I don't know what kind they are, but they are all over the place), a little green toad that wandered into the building last night--I hoped his skin wasn't poisonous as I scooped him up & put him outside, millipedes, and, of course, monkeys. Paying attention to and rejoicing in the wonderful diversity of God's good creation is another way of glorifying God and loving God's creatures. It's a discipline we all need to practice more--not only when we travel, but also close to home. So, enjoy the monkeys--I certainly did, as I watched them play, groom, cuddles the babies, & argue this morning. It was a special blessing to start the day.