The Taming of Shamu and Jesus

You parents know what it’s like to traipse through Sea World thinking, “So this is what my parents went through!” As a kid, I strolled through Sea World without a care in the world as if the whole park were mine to explore.  All the while my parents counted pennies, peeled eyes, shared drinks and hauled souvenirs.  Now I was the one doing it for our children.  “Stay with us!”  “Don’t run off!”  “You’re splitting a drink with your sister.”  “We can’t afford another stuffed frog.”  “It’s time to go.”

We took our kids to Sea World-San Antonio on several occasions while living in Central Texas.  Everyone knows Sea World is nothing without Shamu, The Killer Whale.  I remember the first time I met Shamu, The Killer Whale.  It was San Diego and I was mesmerized. Terrified. I hated him. I loved him.

Like good parents we passed down the legacy of fear that was passed down to us.  We built him (at least I hope it’s a him) up to our kids for weeks.  We sat down in the “splash zone” eagerly waiting for the rain of terror.  Imagine my surprise when the Shamu show opened with a schmutzy video about anything being possible if I just believe.  Had we unwittingly stumbled into a ballet?  What about Killer did they not understand?  We were there to see Shamu, The Killer Whale.

Shamu and friends were paraded around to Kenny G music like puppies. They’d tamed Shamu, The Killer Whale!  He’s probably not even a he.  He was nothing more than Flipper in an orca suit. Where’s the fear and adrenaline that gripped me as a kid? Where’s the ferocity?  Shamu nearly ate me as child (or so I thought) and I loved it. Send Bud and Sandy for some real piscine predators or give us a refund!

Speaking of Sea World, Dale Ralph Davis has written some very helpful OT commentaries for Christian Focus Publications. Commenting on Joshua 10, Davis unleashed this insight:

“The popular image of Jesus is that he is not only kind and tender but also soft and prissy, as though Jesus comes to us reeking of hand cream. Such a Jesus can hardly steel the soul that is daily assaulted by the enemy. We need to learn the catechism of Psalm 24. Question: Who is the King of glory? Answer: Yahweh, strong and mighty! Yahweh – mighty in battle! (Ps 24:8). We must catch the vision of the Faithful and True sitting on the white horse, the One who ‘judges and makes war’ in righteousness (Rev 19:11-16). No mild God or soft Jesus can give his people hope. It is only as we know the warrior of Israel who fights for us (and sometimes without us) that we have hope of triumphing in the muck of life” (Davis, Joshua: No Falling Words, Focus on the Bible: 82).

Hand cream?  Maybe that’s why Shamu smelled so good.

Unlike Shamu, Jesus cannot be tamed.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *