Skunk, by any other name, would smell…badly.

IMG_20150103_172451138Epistemology.  Hermeneutics. Higher and lower textual criticism.  Big words that describe the study (in one sense or another) of God, trying to answer questions like: Does God exist?  What is He like?

I would like to posit my additional contribution to the discussion: Humor.  Who but a creatively funny Deity could conceptualize the duckbill platypus?  I see Adam now, while he was naming all the animals:

“What was He thinking??”  (Adam’s reaction, however, is unfortunately not recorded.)

Here’s another example: the skunk.  Who else would have the sense of humor to create an animal whose main self-defense was to assault the olfactory nerve of its antagonist?? 

(I wonder if this was also the occasion of the first expletive, post-Garden, of course…)

Several years ago, my husband and I were out for a summer’s evening stroll in the dark along our not-very-well-lit-street in our small Midwest town.  It was quiet, which is something I
love about 
this place.  Sometimes you have to pick your way gingerly along the sidewalk while passing the houses that line both sides of this secondary main road, since much of the concrete is broken up with time and tree roots.  No matter.  No hurry.  Strong husband to hold onto.

As we were coming back up the street to our house, still a block or so away, I noticed something moving in the grass.  I stopped, thinking it might be a wounded bird or bunny or some other creature in need of assistance, because it wasn’t running away.  (Yes, I sometimes stop to remove turtles passing in the road so they don’t get, well…you know.)

Suddenly, my eyes grew more accustomed to the darker shades of the ground.  The undulating colors of black with a distinct white stripe hit my optic nerve, which translated to my brain, which interpreted that this was not an animal in need of my assistance.

Unfortunately, the recognition process took a little too long…

On the other hand, recognition also releases adrenaline (thankfully) and we somehow sprinted most of the remaining distance home.  The odor had only been sprayed on our lower legs and shoes, but without thinking, we tracked it onto the front room floor…

It wasn’t terribly funny then, but some of my friends continue to giggle when it comes up.  That’s okay.  It reminds me of a God Who makes sin so horribly offensive as to repel us immediately when we recognize it.  Some sin is sneaky; it hides in the darkness and looks inviting.  The writer of Hebrews talks about those “who have their senses trained to discern good and evil.”   We can learn the smell of it.  Like Paul said to Timothy, his young protégé, “FLEE youthful sin.”  Not simply stroll away, unless you want to track the offensive smell into your spiritual house.

What the skunk teaches me: when you learn the scent of sin—run, or it will cling to you and you will track it everywhere. 

Only, it won’t be something to laugh about.

Author: dawnlizjones

Tends toward TMI, so here's the short list: guitar and banjo (both of which have been much neglected as of late), bicycling (ibid), dogs, very black tea, and contemplating and commenting on deep philosophical thoughts about which I have had no academic or professional training. Oh, also reading, writing, but I shy away from arithmetic.

10 thoughts on “Skunk, by any other name, would smell…badly.”

  1. That was great Dawn. Funny and useful at the same time. The comparison between sin and the smell of a skunk was really good, and extremely vivid.

    I’m a Satellite installer, you know, and going under houses is a regular part of my day. Only came face to face with a skunk once. Fortunately was able to back out before we were no longer face to face if you get my drift.

    Liked by 2 people

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