(Pastor and radio show host, John Kirkwood, reviews Doug Giles’ Hunting Manifesto titled, Rise, Kill and Eat: A Theology of Hunting from Genesis to Revelation)
For God so loved the hunter, that he stocked his game farm with prey, that whosoever will Rise, Kill, and Eat shall not hunger but have lasting memories, a delicious meal, and gratitude to our bountiful Father. – Doug 3:16
Is the God who is present at every sparrow’s funeral also the Lord of the Hunt? Should not the follower of Christ be a “Thou shalt not kill” – “Turn the other cheek” – “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you,” pacifist, vegan, PETA supporter? Let’s face it, this isn’t the age of Laura Ingalls Wilder and we’re not living on the Ponderosa with Hoss and Little Joe; so isn’t it time we stow the bluster, hang the musket on the wall, and order the Arugula with Roasted Squash on Endive?
Rise, Kill, And Eat: A Theology of Hunting From Genesis to Revelation is the culmination of all that is Doug Giles – the artist, the hunter, the unashamed Christian. Not meant to be exhaustive, the book explores the scope of hunting as it appears in Scripture and the undeniable principle that God declares about the relationship between man and animal – “Animals don’t have rights, but men have responsibilities.”
You don’t have to be a Christian or a hunter to appreciate this book, though in either case you will find a lot to challenge the common myths that affect both worlds. In a style that is both unique and unforgettable, Giles tears down those strongholds that mealy-mouthed Christianity and self-loathing Gaia worshipers have erected to waylay both the hunter and the informed believer. Giles brings out that not only is the God of the Bible cool with hunting, He’s sponsored it. It’s even part of His plan.
Consider Noah’s floating game farm, God tells Noah to let them off the ark, let them populate a bit, and then put them on the menu; or as Giles puts it – “Imagine that: God Almighty was the first game rancher, who conserved species, not for the purpose of petting them in a menagerie, but rather for the express purpose of consuming them with fava beans and a nice Chianti.”
Well, there are arguments in this book that disarm the professing Christian some are devastating even to your run of the mill anti-hunter – “Here’s another FYI for the vegetarians,” adds Giles, “For you to have your precious vegetables a farmer had to kill rabbits, deer, wild boar, birds and other animals that prey on your special grub. It’s true. Ask a farmer. I dare you.”
Even the pragmatic atheist can see the benefits of hunting to conservation, the feeding of the homeless, the protection of crops, and what most people ignore – the legacy of bonding that is passed down from parent to child. You can hunt alone and many of us have, but there is nothing like hunting with friends and beyond that, there is no substitute for the memories that are inaugurated between a father and son. Daughters too, as in Giles case, are becoming more and more the norm and time in the field with dad is fondly remembered and oft times life-changing.
Another keen observation of the author is about the patriarch Isaac and his wish for his last meal – “Matter of fact, when Isaac was about to take the big dirt nap, the adios snooze, the eternal siesta, his last request was not to have one more round of kum-ba-yah with Todd the quasi-male worship leader; but rather for his oldest boy to go out into the woods and shoot and kill him some tasty grub.”
I must confess, as a Christian pastor and a sometime hunter, I opened Rise, Kill, And Eat: A Theology of Hunting From Genesis to Revelation with the idea that I would learn about hunting but not so much about theology. I was wrong. I did learn about hunting but was surprised to learn a great deal about theology. Not that I hadn’t studied these well-known accounts before, but I had overlooked some important points that Giles brings out in nearly every chapter.
For example when God provided skins for Adam and Eve after the fall, Giles points out that, “because this event took place prior to the flood, the meat was wasted because no meat was consumed until after the Noahic flood (see Genesis 9:1-3). OMG, what will the bunny lovers do with that revelation?”
So I learned that the God of the Bible isn’t nearly as principled as the noble savages in Dances With Wolves or the Blue Waif Smurfs in Avatar – because we all know that the Na’vi would have sharpened those Ram’s horns, that God apparently wasted, and used them against the humans who were raping their exoplanetary moon to mine unobtanium.
Artistic and informative, all of Doug’s wisdom is shot through his double barrel sense of humor that will enrage some as much as it woke my wife when I belly laughed while reading it in bed. Sam Kinison made me laugh, the Stooges and RENO 911, too, but I don’t laugh at written words. Doug’s writing is the exception.
And one last confession: I am a kindle man. I buy almost all my books as e-books and I cringe when I find that a book that I desire is only to be had as parchment through snail mail. But this book must be had in the hardcover. Why? Giles is more than a mere wordsmith, he is a theologian, a cyber-guru, and a hunter, but first he is an artist. Not to say, I don’t also have a copy of the book on kindle – it is much easier to share quotes that way and if you’ve already bought the hard copy, the Amazon member will have the kindle version for a mere $1.99. The images are carried over to the kindle version but the e-book doesn’t compare to a hardcover version on gloss paper.
If the Mende tribesman in the jail cell in Amistad could detect the gospel message by merely looking at the pictures in the Bible, then even the most ardent anti-hunting Cyclops can discern the respect and admiration that Giles has for the animal kingdom simply by looking at the stunning works of art that line the pages of Rise, Kill, And Eat. The book is as persuasive as the artwork is formidable, and Giles swaggers with both pen and brush.
From the Cape Buffalo to the Kudu, African tribesman to David and Goliath, the artwork throughout the book is original and much of it is available at Giles’ Art Gallery.
And did I mention the Foreword was written by the great Ted Nugent?
The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of Barb Wire.