Happy New Year!
My new ebook will be available on Amazon.com. It's called "Lessons From A Hippo Hiney and Other Pop Culture Parables."
Zoos are places where the world comes to you. You can adventurously safari in your kakis with a chilled Coke in hand, yet still get your lawn mowed on the same day. As I am always on the hunt to discover the hand of God in Creation, I was delighted to learn something of human nature from the backside of a very large hippo.
The hippopotamus is the third largest creature in the world with a mouth second in size only to the whale. Though they are web footed, they don¯t swim well but they like to remain submerged under mostly water. Did I mention their built-in poop spreader?
In the wild, when you have to relieve yourself, you just go. Curiously, guys seem more sympathetic to this practice than women. I imagine it must be terribly difficult for women to find a clean restroom in the jungle! Anyway, my family and I watched the Hippos on display in The River¯s Edge section of the St. Louis Zoo with some amusement and discerned a back to natural lesson about the effects of tale bearing after viewing a busy Hippo tail.
Hippos have a short, stubby tails and when they have to poop, their little tail starts whirling madly becoming an efficient manure spreader. This action spreads its waste over a large area both in water and on land. Smaller creatures that feed on this nutrient rich waste are attracted likes bees to pollen. Truly, they enjoy a muck feast!
It¯s true that God spreads a table in the wilderness but when this feast is served up, I think I¯ll fast!
Behold, the hippo hiney! These river pigs can weigh up to 7000 pounds and when the Hippos¯ tail starts to whip, beware standing too close or you¯ll get covered in¯ let¯s choose a family friendly euphemism.. letmesee¯ perhaps, dung, sludge, ooze, or better, muck! Whatever you call it, when the muck hits the hippos¯ tail now whirring like a fan, beware! It will soon hit you, too. Hippos are natural muck-spreaders. Likewise, when a talebearers tongue starts to wag, don¯t stand too close! There are things much worse than manure you can be slimed with.
A talebearer is a polite Biblical term for a gossip, or a rumormonger, someone addicted to spreading waste by-product, i.e., a gossip. Even as some creatures are addicted to feasting on waste products, so some people are addicted to feeding off the sludge of human behavior by dining on gossip. That¯s why newspaper tabloids are so popular. They are a legalized form of scandalmongering.
What does God have to say about this? Plenty. Leviticus 19:16, ¯You shall not go about as a talebearer among your people.¯ Who among the people of God doesn¯t long to hear, ¯Well done you good and faithful servant?¯ Yet God puts gossips and his faithful ones at polar opposite ends of the spectrum of his pleasure. Proverbs 11:13, ¯A talebearer reveals secrets, but he who is of a faithful spirit conceals a matter.¯ Churches freak out about pierced tongues yet regard tongues that pierce with gossip as just a normal part of Christian community!
But isn¯t that salacious gossip just yummy ear candy? Sure. According to Proverbs 18:8, ¯The words of a talebearer are like tasty trifles, and they go down into the inmost body.¯ Feast away on the pain and misery of others but the day will come when this same pack of predatory gossips will have a feeding frenzy at your expense!
When God forgives sin, he dumps it into a place some call ¯the sea of his forgetfulness¯. When you see some dung-tongued individual oozing slimy gossip, be sure they have been deep-sea diving trying to resurface what God has already decreed forgiven and forgotten. They are quite literally muck-spreaders.
Is it coincidence that hippos pass gas through their mouths?
When someone¯s tail, I mean tongue, starts wagging, make a godly choice. Don¯t join in the festivities. God hates gossip. He even had a pet name of sorts for Satan, the accuser of the brethren: the slanderer! Proverbs 26:20, ¯Where there is no wood, the fire goes out; and where there is no talebearer, strife ceases.¯ If you will neither hear nor repeat gossip, the fire that would have eventually turned and burned you one day will also go out, and no one will be hurt.
And if you try to silence a gossip, and they refuse to turn from their sin, take¯s God¯s directive and save your life. Proverbs 20:19, ¯He who goes about as a talebearer reveals secrets; therefore do not associate with one who flatters with his lips.¯ In other words, don¯t be the companion of a gossipmonger! A gossip¯s tongue is like a hippos tail; when it starts to vigorously wag, be sure the muck spreading is about to start. Stand clear if you want to stay clean!
Bryan Hupperts ¯ 2003 - 2012