If the ivory-bills . . . .

I’m sure a buncha’ y’all saw the news about the Ivory-billed Woodpecker. It means a lot to me, and I’ve been thinking about it a lot recently. I imagine there’s a number of thirty- and forty-something University of Georgia grads who heard the news and first thought of James Kilgo, late author of Deep Enough for Ivorybills.

Ivory Billed Woodpecker, by Audubon Also known as the “Good Lord” bird because of its size, the ivorybill was long thought extinct until news of a confirmed sighting very recently. A victim of deforestation and collection, this largest of the woodpeckers needs lots of marsh with dead and dying trees to live and feed. (The bird was found in Arkansas, not Louisiana as predicted.)

I think there’s something deep within the Southern psyche about lost causes and overstated nobility. (Demosthenes, anyone?) Jung would have made much of all those ornithologists vainly searching for the Uberfogle — but then the dang thing proved not to be extinct after all.

Makes one ponder.

Makes one who has pretty well committed himself to the restoration, reclamation, or preservation (pick one) of Universalist Christianity ponder.

If current readers haven’t noticed, I’m making a decision of how much Universalism as a cause means to me. I’ve been content to say less and less about it. But perhaps I need to get back in my skiff and keep looking. . . .

Later. Dan Harper has his own take on the ivory-bill story.

By Scott Wells

Scott Wells, 46, is a Universalist Christian minister doing Universalist theology and church administration hacks in Washington, D.C.

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