Stump: The Bear by Angel Ku

Stump is a blogging project of Claremont Presbyterian Church

The bear is a wondrous creature. Able to outrun a human being, hibernate in the winter, and catch a salmon mid-jump as it bodysurfs with its brethren along the waterfalls of the Sierra Nevada. That last part may not be completely true, but it achieved its purpose if it gave you paws. Get it? Pause, paws?

Anyway, there is a very interesting story in the bible that involves the prophet Elisha being insulted by a group of small children. In retaliation, he does not lob small objects at them or shout at them to “get off his damn lawn”. Instead, he chooses to send an envoy of mammals to forcefully and violently teach them a lesson about insulting the bald. That is to say, he sends a duo of she-bears to smite 42 of the children, many of which probably did not agree with the situation, the situation being composed of both the name-calling and the subsequent death by large furry creature.

One of my good friends, a non-binary young woman–she doesn’t identify with either gender but still chooses to be referred to as female–named Quinn, once asked of me questions about my faith where she brought up this story. She wondered why the Lord would agree to the wish of this man and send two bears to maul 42 boys (she also asked if the number had any significance; I replied that it was the meaning of life.)

I was a bit confused. Then, I came up with the answer. As a symbol, bears represent power. Elisha was blessed by the Lord, being a prophet, and had at least some power. That is to say, if he invoked the name of the Lord when requesting something, chances are it would happen soon.

Power is a dangerous thing. It can be used wisely and misused. In this story, Elisha was more than a little bit miffed that he was being insulted, and thus, used his power to send two she-bears to mass murder relatively innocent children. Somewhat reminiscent of when King David used his power to send Uriah to the front lines in order to marry Bathsheba. Both represent misuses of power, and this is what I said to Quinn.

The bear signifies power, and the ability to misuse it. The bear can use its strength to find food for its young and to help them hunt; the bear can also use its strength to murder an inordinate amount of children for a small slight on the state of a person’s cranial growths. The difference is in the intention: does it use its power for good or for evil, as cliché as it sounds. We all have our own bears, and we always have a choice. Do we use our bears for selfless or selfish reasons? I’d like to think the former is the better answer.

Angel Ku is a student at Cal State Long Beach. He has many hobbies but is not particularly good at any of them; these include video games, guitar, reading, drawing, and surfing TV Tropes. Many of them at the same time, which probably explains the lackluster performance. When not partaking in his hobbies, he can usually be found partaking in his hobbies. How’s that for a Logic Bomb?

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