60 Minutes did a story about elephant poachers tonight. It's more of a complicated thing than you might think. The zoo keeper who let me into the elephant cage to shoot this video had this to say about it:
"Imagine that your kids were starving to death because you didn't have any money, but if you could hunt and kill one elephant you could feed your kids on the money from the tusks. I understand why they do it even though I wish they wouldn't." I thought this was a very empathetic statement from the guy who has been taking care of the elephants at a major zoo for over twenty years. Tonight on 60 Minutes they interviewed some guys in Africa who were caught after they killed 14 elephants. They pretty much said that they were poor and did it to get money for their families. They had no idea what people did with the tusks after they sold them. I'm against killing endangered elephants to make jewelry (or for most any other reason), but it says something about impoverished men who will literally go and tackle a live elephant to feed the ones they love. Like I said, it's complicated.
When we set out to teach our church on generosity I had no idea how much I would learn about elephants. I've also learned a lot about God as an economic God. Normally Dave Workman posts some thoughts on his blog after the weekend services and I've tried to do the same here when I teach. I had the unique opportunity for this particular message to write three essays exploring some issue related to the topic at hand. You can find them at www.tacklingtheelephant.com. If you are interesed in reading them, just click the direct links below:
Debt Forgiveness as Kingdom Proclamation