Where I lived as a boy, a common expression was, “He’s as crazy as a loon.” It probably came from a call this bird of the North Woods makes that sounds like a high pitched, maniacal laugh. Far from being crazy, the loon is well adapted for life in the forests and lakes of the far north. It is wary and watchful, a strong flyer and a skillful diver. I have tried to get close to one in my canoe only to see it slide beneath the water’s surface then resurface several minutes later a long distance away.
It is the loon’s other haunting call that is one the most unique and representative sounds of the northern wilderness. Besides its strange laugh-like cackle, it makes a long, “Ooooo-ahhhh-oooo” sound. Seeming to have no source, it floats spirit-like over the water in the moonlight. I have fallen asleep to those lonely calls, tempted to leave my warm tent to search for the birds I probably wouldn’t find.
Once, on the upper Peninsula of Michigan, I left my rental cabin and walked up a dirt road to a secluded lake. As I stood on the shore, two loons lit on the water, their heads and pointed beaks blue-black in the morning light. Their bodies were like feathery boats of light gray and black wings with white spots. They swam about gracefully with a serene appearance, looking around in every direction. Then they began to call in their lonely voices, “Where-arrrrr-yooooo?” reminding me of two parents calling for a lost child.
I long to go back to the North Woods again to, among other things, hear that siren song of the loon.
People seem to assume that things or people they don’t understand are crazy. The one laugh-like form of the loon’s call, for example, makes them sound kind of silly. But that’s not all of the story.
There is a rumor that’s been going around the world for a couple thousand years that Christians are crazy. They have weird ideas like certain things are right or wrong and that loving people, even their enemies, is the best way to live. They have the absurd belief that another crazy guy named Jesus performed miracles, walked on water, and rose from the dead.
I partly agree. It all sounds pretty far out. Yet, I am a believer, not because Mom took me to church or because I like the idea of going to a really neat place called heaven when I die. I believe because I am convinced.
First, when I see all the really crazy ways people are trying to fix the world through politics, war or domination, I see that it’s not working. The teachings of Jesus work. People who get it are more loving, hopeful and peaceful. Loving God and people, treating others as we want to be treated, works. For two thousand years people who have been hateful, cruel, and hopeless have changed to become loving, kind and joyful when they have turned to Him. Whole countries have become new, changed from barbarism to decency and democracy.
So, did Jesus actually live? Did He walk on water and rise from the dead? As crazy as it may sound, there are volumes of evidence that He did. Even Josephus, a non-Christian historian and writer of that day, knew of Him and mentioned things He did. Hundreds witnessed his death and around five hundred later saw him alive at His ascension. (1 Cor. 15:6).
So, my fellow loons and curious searchers, among the many present day books of research I would recommend include, The Case for Christ, by Lee Strobel, and More than a Carpenter, by Josh McDowell.
“For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God” (1 Cor 1:18).