I was listening to NPR the other morning and heard the most incredible business idea. It’s called “Goat to Meeting.” Turns out there is an animal sanctuary in Half Moon Bay, California, south of San Francisco that rescues farm animals from slaughter and educates visitors about the dangers of factory farming. They rely mostly on donations for their work and those donations have dropped by 60-70% during the pandemic. They needed a new solution for financial solvency. Enter their new plan for revenue enhancement: “Goat to meeting.” For a specified donation you can have Paco the llama, Juno the goat, Magnolia the cow or even Steve the rooster attend your next online video meeting. Can you imagine having a goat at Bible Study or the Gathering time on Sunday morning. The thought really tickles my funny bone.
I can’t really remember anyone who loathes all animals. Sure. There are people who are partial to dogs or prefer cats, but I don’t know if I’ve ever met anyone who despises all animals. There is something about critters that is endearing. I just bought several board books for my coming grandson. I think every one of them had animals as central the book. Children are fascinated by animals. I think most adults are as well. We look into their eyes and talk to them as if they understand every word. We stroke their fur and find we are calmed. Literally there are studies out that show we humans have reduced stress levels when we stroke the fur of an animal!
You will recall that God created the animals. The author of Genesis says God brought the animals to Adam so he could name them, and although they did not provide quite the companion he was looking for, it is assumed they would be part of Adam and Eve’s world. Animals are scattered throughout the Bible. There’s a great story in the book of Numbers about Balaam’s talking ass that saves his life when Balaam is foolishly disobeying God’s instructions. God involves a great fish (whale?) to correct Jonah’s disobedience. The eagle is referenced in the book of Isaiah as a metaphor for God’s care for us and sheep abound in both the old and new testament. Animals are assumed in the creation to be part of God’s good work and occasional servants in God’s plans. Personally I think animals are beautiful, awe inspiring, and sometimes just fun to have around (as in our household pets.)
So I am giving thanks for the animal kingdom today and for all the ways God’s creatures great and small are a blessing to us. Personally I think it would be great fun to have a goat at a zoom meeting, but in the mean time I think I’ll go find Theo (my dog) and give him a pet… or maybe a treat.
Here’s a link to the NPR segment: https://www.npr.org/sections/coronavirus-live-updates/2020/04/20/838775628/goat-2-meeting-for-your-next-video-call-invite-a-farm-animal
The company is solvent now, by the way.
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