Photo and Commentary ©2022 by Robert Howson
Tuesday, November 22, 2022

We humans seem to have a tendency to become complacent with the ordinary. In contrast, we become excited about that which is unusual or rare, but in so doing, we run the risk of missing out on that which is right in front of us. One of the most ubiquitous birds of the neotropics is the Blue-gray Tanager. And our apathy toward this species is bolstered by the fact that it is not sensitive to human activity, but is common in our gardens, and thrives around human habitation, even nesting on our buildings. Our laidback response to this delightful powder blue bird is to nickname it “Blue Jean”, which we in the U.S. are likely to translate into something as comfortable as a worn pair of Levis.

Because its diet is quite flexible, eating a variety of fruit, nectar, and insects, it is a popular bird in zoos in North America, including our own here in Seattle. However, that does not mean it does not have a discriminating pallet. Studies have shown it can detect a change of 0.09 percent of protein variation in its food.

Paul offers us good advice about how we should deal with the commonplace, with the routine that occupies much of our life. “So here’s what I want you to do, God helping you: Take your everyday, ordinary life—your sleeping, eating, going-to-work, and walking-around life—and place it before God as an offering. Embracing what God does for you is the best thing you can do for him. Don’t become so well-adjusted to your culture that you fit into it without even thinking. Instead, fix your attention on God. You’ll be changed from the inside out. Readily recognize what he wants from you, and quickly respond to it. Unlike the culture around you, always dragging you down to its level of immaturity, God brings the best out of you, develops well-formed maturity in you.” (Romans 12:1-2 The Message)