Rev. Austin Miles, a chaplain in Northern California is a writer and historian. He is the author of Santa's Surprising Origins, a story that received worldwide circulation and resulted in him being cast in the 2004 Hallmark Christmas Movie titled, Single Santa Seeks Mrs. Claus. He played the mall Santa who magically received the gift of sign language.

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Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Society • Jesus and Animals Part 10: Personality of a FLEA? Leading to THE Big Question

Any person who does not know what it is like to bond with an animal is to be pitied. Rev. Austin Miles.

We reviewed elephants in part 9. From the largest creature with personality, consider now the smallest—the FLEAS!  Yes, even fleas have a personality.

A strange cultural landmark in New York City was Hubert’s Dime Museum on W.42nd Street that operated from the 1920s to the mid to late 60s. Inside, one could see oddities of nature that would be seen in carnival side shows.

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Dragonfly That Revealed A Man’s Character.

However, the BIGGEST attraction consisted of the TINIEST performers: the world famous flea circus that cost an extra 10 cents to see. Even with that hefty extra flea fee, they always played to a packed house.

The circus displayed fleas walking the tight rope, juggling and balancing items like regular circus foot jugglers, feats of strength showing a flea lifting 30 times its own weight, playing hockey, riding a merry-go-round and pulling another flea in a little matchbox cart with wheels.

Yes, fleas could actually be TRAINED to perform. There would be 300 trained performing fleas ready. Fleas live for about a year. The do not begin training until they are six months old. The training lasts 3 months. They perform for three months and then….die.

The trainer-director of the flea circus, who made quite a lot of money with his attraction actually started from scratch. (OK OK…just couldn’t resist that.)

Animals are very sensitive to spiritual activity. The dogs we have had over the years respond to prayer and sit quietly with us as we do our devotions. One poodle named Deputy, that we had for 18 years, would actually ask for prayer when he was older and frail. He would come in, sit in front of me and extend his head toward me waiting for me to put my hand on his head and pray for him.

While traveling with The Royal Lipizzan Stallion show where I served as chaplain and earned my keep by giving the historical narration for the performances, I was asked to pray a blessing on the horses before leaving on tour.

The barn where they were kept was hectic. Dogs were barking, chickens were cackling, birds on the beams chirping, and the horses were snorting and whinnying. Entering the barn, my hands were stretched out and the prayer began. Immediately every creature in that barn became absolutely silent for the prayer. When it ended with ‘amen,’ all the noise resumed.

A lesbian horsewoman on the show was instantly possessed with hatred for me since I was a Christian, and worse still, a minister. Throughout the tour, she made jabs at me wherever she could. Then the defining moment.

During a performance in Florida as she was performing, she cued her horse to began running right toward me on the performance floor, trying to make it appear that this was out of control. The horse came within a few feet of running me down when suddenly, to the astonishment of the audience, all four of the horse’s feet swept out from under him and the horse came crashing down to the floor as the horsewoman was dumped to the floor unceremoniously in her fancy gown.

The horse was frantic as they got him to his feet and could not be controlled. The horse was clearly upset.

A closed circuit TV monitor captured everything that happened in the performance. I asked that the tape be played back in slow motion. As we saw the horse about to run over me, all four feet went out from under him. We played it back for the audience a couple of times.

The horse absolutely did not slip and fall. It was as though an invisible Hand knocked its feet out from under him. The reason the horse was so upset was that it KNEW that something supernatural had happened.

Everyone on the show concluded that it was God’s Hand that knocked the horse down, saving me from injury by a vicious woman

Animals can see into the spiritual world. Many examples could be cited including an evil spirit that was felt by a woman in her living room, as her cat panicked and tore right through the window screen.

Animals are beings created by God. To hurt one unnecessarily is an offense to God. I very much appreciate the Buddhists for the fact that they respect the life of ALL creatures. They will not even harm a bug.

I appreciate Gordon Ramsey, the short-fused Chef of Hell’s Kitchen, who was so appalled after going on a ‘shark finning’ boat ride and witnessed how the fins were cut off the sharks while they were alive that he has taken an active role in meeting with Chinese Restaurants and convincing them to stop serving Shark Fin Soup, one of their biggest profit making dishes. Ramsey said, “That was the worst case of animal cruelty I have ever witnessed.” Good for him.

It has also come to my attention that more LIBERALS are protective of animals than CONSERVATIVES. This means no more negative comments. Indeed, I plan to go out and hug a liberal every day. Even Ellen, should I see her. Anybody who demands a stop to animal cruelty is OK with me.

I had coffee recently with Rev. Ron Bowman, pastor of Antioch Covenant Church in Antioch, California. As we talked in his office we heard a strange sound in the foyer. It was curious since we were the only ones in the church.

Following the coffee chat, we went from his office out into the foyer, heard the sound again and glanced up to see a beautiful dragon fly who had become stranded inside.

Pastor Ron opened the front door of the church, then walked over to where the dragonfly was, and with a newspaper in his hand, gently guided it out the open door to freedom. THAT is my kind of a minister….my kind of man. One who respects the life of all creatures.

See Part 11: The BIG Question: Do Animals Have Souls?

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