I have often talked about the pheasants which come into our garden. To be honest, they are all body and no brain, rather like those humans that live out in Hollywood and call themselves actors. OK, I have to admit that when the sun shines on their plumage, pheasants do look almost as beautiful as parrots but they really don’t have much between the ears.
Here in North Devon we have a regular problem of pheasants confronting cars in the middle of the road. They’re not very adept at sensing danger and a great many of them get run over. So being a very innovative parrot, I came up with a plan to educate the local pheasants about the danger of crossing roads. I gave them all a road safety lesson from the top of the garden bird table, and then to see what they’d learnt, I asked them one simple, multiple-choice question. And this is what I asked:
You find yourself standing in the middle of a busy road, and a large chunk of metal is speeding towards you at 60 mph. Do you:
A) Continue to stand in the middle of the road, gawping, as you try to work out what’s about to squash you?
B) Pretend you haven’t seen it and hope it goes away?
C) Puff up your chest and flap your wings as this should scare it off?
D) Run for your life and don’t return?
Well, after a great deal of head scratching, the pheasants came up with a split result. They all answered “A”, “B” and “C” in equal numbers. None went for the “D” option. And so I came to the rather sad conclusion that pheasants need to evolve for another couple of million years before being ready for another lesson. Instead, I’ve decided to employ my own brilliant brain to develop some technological wizardry. Yes, I’m in the process of designing the brand new “Pheasant Harness” which comes complete with some super-strong magnets. Opposing magnets are fitted to the front of all cars meaning that the pheasants are automatically propelled to the side of the road before any harm is done!
Of course, my human readers may laugh at this story, but are humans really any brighter than pheasants? Or are they actually less intelligent? Because the humble pheasant can’t work things out but humans can, and yet they still make choices that cause harm to themselves and others around them. Some choose to smoke tobacco or take drugs or play “chicken” on live railway lines, or poison themselves with too much alcohol. Others invade neighbouring countries even when they know it will cause terrible suffering and hardship for everyone concerned. And in times gone by, some humans even chose to put Jesus to death and to release a notorious villain instead. And today, there are those who can’t be bothered to go to church or to find out about God, even though they’re vaguely aware that Jesus offers them a ticket to Heaven. So while pheasants are simply rather “dim,” humans can be brighter but make the most irrational of choices. And that probably includes my owner! (In fact, there are some days when I think I should be his “owner” rather than the other way round).
Imagine how things would be today had we not been created by a God of love, but by a God of anger and punishment. Along the lines of an old Dickensian school master, armed with a cane and strap. What hope would humans have every time they get things wrong? Mercifully, God’s not like this, and I’m reminded of something that St. Augustine said a great many years ago:
“God loves each of us as if there were only one of us.”
(St. Augustine: 354-430: Theologian, philosopher and Bishop of Hippo Regius in Roman North Africa).
So the wonderful news for today is this. Pheasants can be excused because they still need to evolve. And God’s love can save the rest of us from ourselves; His love can negate our foolishness and stupidity if we allow His spirit into the engine room of our souls...
“He may look like an idiot and talk like an idiot, but don’t let that fool you. He really is an idiot.”
(Groucho Marks: 1890-1977: American comedian).
“Two things are infinite, the universe and human stupidity, and I’m not yet completely sure about the universe.”
“I’m all in favour of keeping dangerous weapons out of the hands of fools. Let’s start with typewriters.”
(Frank Lloyd Wright: 1867-1959: American architect and writer).
“For the wisdom of this world is foolishness before God.”
(1 Corinthians 3:19).
“For the foolishness of God is wiser than man’s wisdom, and theweakness of God is stronger than man’s strength.”
(1 Corinthians 1:25).
About my book:
“The Random Thoughts of a Christian Parrot” is published in hardback, 176 pages in length, full colour throughout and featuring more than 100 photographs. The ISBN is 978-1-5272-9810-1 and copies cost £12.00. The book includes a Foreword written by the Bishop of Crediton plus a total of 83 reflections which can serve as your “parrot thought of the day.”
Copies are available from Amazon, some bookshops or direct from me! If ordering direct, please enclose a cheque for £12.00 made out to the “Oakmoor Group of Parishes” and send it to: Coco the Parrot, Parkstone, George Nympton Village, EX36 4JE, U.K. Postage and packing is free!
100% of proceeds will go towards funding the work of local North Devon parishes, and particularly a new Outdoor Church initiative located on the edge of Exmoor. My book will make a great Christmas present for friends and family!
This is what others have to say about my book:
“I grant you, a book by a feathered friend is novel, but with this parrot, faith finds its wings. It is intelligent, kind and spiritually perceptive – more than can be said for some religious functionaries. I wonder if dog collars come in parrot sizes?”
(Dave Tomlinson: Priest, author and broadcaster)
“The mix of humour, challenge, biblical text and photography along with the views of our perceptive parrot, make this book a unique reflection on our twenty-first century lives.”
(Right Reverend Jackie Searle: Bishop of Crediton)
“Sometimes human wisdom just isn’t enough. Standing or flying outside our messy, confusing, but glorious lives, Coco the parrot helps us to look afresh at the things that really matter and the ways we can re-connect with God’s love – so that we too can soar!”
(Giles King-Smith: Acting Archdeacon of Barnstaple)