The bear has always been a symbol for me.


That’s a photo from my cell phone of a picture that was in a newspaper at the place where I took my recent road trip.   The “Culinary” one.    I wasn’t on the menu!    I sometimes called that trip my Necessary Trip because I had to attend a dinner – wasn’t sure I wanted to, but it was the right thing to do.   This bear photo was taken two weeks before  and two miles from that dinner.

And a few miles from where I lived as a teenager for a few years.    I grew up in the beautiful city of Chicago….and then my Dad moved us out into the wilderness of the Far Far North,  my whole world changed,  and these things were in our back yard.      My grandma would take me with her to pick blueberries.  She always knew where the best wild blueberries grew, but we never strayed out of sight of her car –  because of the bear.

You  can’t always see when bear are near.

bear can't always see


But out in the wild,  out in the world,  the bear are looking at you, watching.

bear seeing you

Bear are unpredictable.   They say they’ll leave you alone if you leave them alone,  but I’ve seen some pretty gruesome photos of people who hadn’t been left alone by bear.    If you’re unaware of danger,  you can fall into danger.   If you don’t take appropriate measures in the face of danger,  then that danger,  be it bear or other enemy forces,  then the danger will soon be “in your face.”


bear talking to you

This is why the bear are such a powerful symbol to me of danger, lurking, lying in wait.   They are never so near as when you’re not expecting them.

When I returned home from my trip I saw many “bear” –  the other kind of bear, all over in the newspapers and on the television.   I’ve never seen so many dangerous problems that are not being confronted adequately.     Dangerous consequences have risen up and become stronger –

Bear snarl

This is a message  of analysis, not of solutions,  but I think the following two points may indicate the solution – solutions of proven, historic value.

The first point is that the friends I met who live, now, near that bear in the top photo really have something more serious to worry about.   As unbelievable as it seems,  there are “foreigners”  who  have introduced into their back yards, onto their property, even more vicious animals who actually hunt humans as prey.     These animals are wolves.   The settlers worked hard to rid the area of these predators and create a safe place for people to live.   Now there are so many wolves once again that my friends cannot ride bikes or hike for any distance from their home.  One woman says they cannot go cross country skiing very far in their own back yard.  She said,  “I never go out alone without a pistol.”   That surprised me very much.

 To deny danger when there really is danger is an act of eventual suicide.       Certain people are telling us that wolves are good.   Wolves are not dangerous.   “If you leave them alone,  they’ll leave you alone.”

The second point is this:    Leaders come forth from  out of the society which they lead.     If there are dangers lurking within our society and snarling ever closer at us from without,  then we need to be the kind of people who are strong,  have a firm sense of identity,  and who have moral certitude.

We must be confident that “strong” does not mean bad;  it means capable.   Capable of doing good, if we desire it,  capable of protecting ourselves and our own families, if we are courageous.

A firm sense of identity helps us understand others, who also have a right to their own unique identity.      Knowing our own identity, knowing our  past, our qualities and characteristics doesn’t  make us “haters,”  but rather makes us appreciate our uniqueness and value the uniqueness of others.   We are worth saving and protecting!

And moral certitude comes from humbly discovering our Creator and the way He set up this world, always measuring ourselves to His expectations.    Serving God never means harming others,  but rather living in His love,  according to His guidance, and  cherishing likewise ourselves and others.

A long time ago a wise prophet declared that if we act like immature, selfish children, we will get leaders who are unprepared for their job, floundering around in their inexperience and unwillingness to do the hard work of leading a nation.     If we act immorally and give in to inappropriate passions,  our leaders will be more interested in satisfying their own passion for power and pleasure.     If we keep wanting to indulge ourselves,  our leaders will be the kind who indulge themselves – at our expense.  If we live lives of ease and weakness,  our leaders themselves will lack courage.   (That wise man was Isaiah in his first few chapters.)

So, I see a world in trouble.   I see a world with dangers stalking us from every corner of the woods.    I see children at play,  picking wild blueberries, unaware of the danger they are in.

Bear Trees a Man

The bear seems like an appropriate symbol.






Explore posts in the same categories: 2013 Conflicts, Bears as Metaphor, Christian Analysis, Current Events, The necessity of Virtue

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