My children love the zoo. Surrounded by the concrete wilderness, there comes over them a sudden instinct to act and speak and even gyrate in ways that are animal-like. It’s an exercise in mimicry and communication.
Children love connecting with wild beasts — so they slam their little hands on the glass, rattle cages, and make all those goofy noises. It’s an attempt to draw the notice of animals. And, of course, the beasts that respond are the crowd favorites.
Even if it’s just a lion simply staring into your eyes for three seconds through glass, that’s a chilling victory. That’s a connection that satisfies a child’s primitive longing to connect with a ferocious and deadly animal.
Not so with the sloth. The sloth is an ugly, gangly, hairy thing, with long legs and arms, and stretched, yellow claws. It just hugs a tree. Minds its own business. Bothered by nothing. Tuned into nothing. Sorry kids, there will be no engagement, no meeting of the minds. The sloth is napping. Again.
The Bible does not paint a more flattering picture of the sloth in our lives. The biblical images and slogans are unforgettable: