Matthew Henry John Bartlett

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Sunday 24 April, 02005

by Matthew Bartlett @ 11:26 pm

In A Generous Orthodoxy, which my friend Fred lent me, Brian McLaren said:

Some people I know once found a snapping turtle crossing the road in New Jersey. Snapping turtles are normally ugly: gray, often sporting a slimy coating of green algae, trailing a long, serrated, gator-like tail and fronted by massive and sharp jaws that can damage if not sever a careless finger or two. This turtle was uglier than most: it was grossly deformed due to a plastic bottle top, a ring about an inch and a half in diameter that it had accidentally acquired as a hatchling when it, too, was about an inch and a half in diameter. The ring had fit around its midsection like a belt back then, but now, nearly a foot long, weighing about nine pounds, the animal was corseted by the ring so it looked like a figure eight.
   My friends realised that if they left the turtle in its current state, it would die. The deformity was survivable at nine pounds, but a full-grown snapper can weigh 30. At that size the constriction would not be survivable. So, they snipped the ring. And nothing happened. Nothing.
   Except for one thing: at that moment the turtle had a future. It was rescued. It was saved. It would take years for the animal to grow into more normal proportions, maybe decades. Perhaps even in old age it would still be somewhat guitar-shaped. But it would survive.
   A ring of selfishness, greed, lust, injustice, fear, prejudice, arrogance, apathy, chauvinism, and ignorance has similarly deformed our species. When I say that Jesus is Saviour, I believe he snipped the ring by judging, forgiving, suffering, dying, rising and more. And he’s still working to restore us, to lead us, to heal us. Jesus is still in the process of saving us. Because I have confidence in Jesus as Saviour, I’m seeking to be part of his ongoing saving work, sharing his saving love for our world.

2 responses to “”

  1. Tim says:

    Except that the turtle could blame some careless humans for its deformation when we don’t have anyone to blame but ourselves. But the turtle analogy is a nice hippy twist.

  2. Rob says:

    DO you have a picture of the turtle?

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