Written by Matt Fitzgerald
"The wolf will romp with the lamb, the leopard sleep with the kid." - Isaiah 11:6
The leopard's claws exist so she can tear flesh efficiently. Remove her hunger and who is she?
A vegetarian leopard is like a sophisticated liberal who loves Ted Nugent. God wants coastal progressives to dance down the aisle of a heartland Walmart singing "Cat Scratch Fever" with anti-choice evangelicals who think global warming is a hoax.
Could you do that and still be you? Have you heard Ted Nugent recently? Or maybe when peace becomes real, the composer won't be as interesting as Sweaty Teddy. Instead all our anthems will be toothless, harmless, written by Kenny G.
This is why George Bernard Shaw thought heaven would be "more dull than a day at the seaside." But Shaw makes an old mistake. We assume that God must fit our categories, only moreso. But God is not a more extreme version of humanity. God is wholly other. Jesus wasn't born in order to make the familiar better known.
God doesn't fit our categories. She upends them. We resist. I need my old high school friend to wear his MAGA hat, so that I can be his urbane opposite. Just like he needs me in order to be a "real American." Stanley Hauerwas makes it plain. "How will I know who I am without my enemies?"
We should ponder that question, because God is going to make leopards vegetarian. That means radical, limitless transformation. It means change so profound the categories we use to define ourselves break down. We might lose our identities. That's disturbing. Or thrilling. Either way, it won't be dull.
Oh God, the transformation you promise is unnerving. But look at the mess we've made. So trembling we beg you, transform us now. Amen.