Outside my window is the last sparkle of ruby-throated hummingbirds darting in and out of my flame-colored honeysuckles. They are fueling up for fall migration, when they will travel from my house in Illinois to the Gulf of Mexico and on into Central America. There, they'll siesta until spring, when they'll sail back on winds to make the long trip north, once again appearing to sip nectar from my flowers and feeders.
For me, the hummers are just another part of my backyard's colorful kaleidoscope. For renowned theologian, pastor, and avid birdwatcher John R. W. Stott, however, hummingbirds — indeed, all birds — reveal something more. In the newly issued collector's edition of The Birds Our Teachers: Lessons from a Lifelong Birdwatcher (Baker), Stott finds myriad metaphors for our relationship with God and our faith in the wide world of birds. Call it orni-theology, if you will. Stott does.
From the Old Testament (think of Noah releasing the dove) to the New Testament (the sparrows in the parables of Jesus), the Bible abounds with aviary imagery. By taking another look at this imagery and helping us understand bird life better, Stott wants readers to gain a richer experience of what God might be saying to us through them. Stott fans who are not birders will enjoy this book for its accessible theological musings; birders who know nothing of theology will appreciate the lush photos and accounts of Stott's global birdwatching trips.
For his love of birds, Stott credits his father, who loved natural history, taking his son on walks in the countryside while telling him to "shut my mouth and open my eyes and ears" to observe the wildlife around him. In his 87 years, Stott has traveled extensively and birded wherever he's ...1