Soaring like Eagles {Book Club}

Soaring like Eagles

Anyone else think, “Debbie’s got some opinions on eagles”—this week’s bird from Consider the Birds: A Provocative Guide to Birds of the Bible by Debbie Blue—when they got to the end of thc chapter? 

For the first time, I was a bit disappointed in a chapter because I don’t really know much more about eagles. It could be that of all the birds (other than pigeons) that we have looked at thus far, I was the most familiar with eagles. But what I’ve learned from this book and the Bible study (available here), is that more of a gap exists between what I think I know about a bird and actual information about a bird.

I will agree with Debbie Blue that, at least in American culture, eagles are woven into many aspects. Prior to reading this chapter, I had completely forgotten that I, myself, am an eagle. An Irwin Elementary Eagle, that is. Yup, the eagle was the mascot of my elementary school; and though I was in elementary school the longest (compared to junior high, high school, or undergrad), it is the mascot I forget.

Okay, so maybe Blue has a point. I did find it interesting to read the list of countries and empires throughout history who have identified with the eagle. Still, I wish she had explored the nature.

In the Bible study Emily Smith wrote for the eagle, she said:

“The eagle looks beautiful and powerful, but even a glance at their character seems to be far less attractive. They are predators. Their survival is linked to their ability to kill and destroy. If they have two chicks in the nest, it is not uncommon for the strong chick to attempt to kill the weaker one. ‘Should one chick decide to kill its sibling, neither parent will make the slightest effort to stop the fratricide.’[i] The Eagle elevates itself at the expense of others.

“The Bible may not have a lot to say about eagles, but it does have something to say about power. Jesus himself came as a dependent and powerless infant. We are told to approach the kingdom of God like a child (Matthew 18). We are commanded to love and forgive our enemies (Romans 12), which is about the furthest action on the spectrum from killing our brothers.”

Isn’t that interesting? And disturbing? A parent not stepping in to stop a chick from killing a sibling?!

In my connection group last week, we had a conversation that won’t leave me, so I know I need to pay attention.

We talked about Isaiah 40:13, which as we know is often translated “eagle” but could just as reasonably be rendered “vulture.” We wondered what it means to wait like a vulture—which I know isn’t quite what the verse says :-). It says, “But they who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength, they shall mount up with wings like eagles or vultures . . . ”

The father of one of my group members is visiting and he’s a pastor, so she asked him about translating eagle/vulture and he casually mentioned “Oh yeah, it can be translated that way.” Like everyone knew they could be interchangeably translated and Debbie Blue isn’t some radical playing loose and fast with the text. But I didn’t know about the eagle/vulture dance before reading this book. In light of the verse we talked about “waiting in ministry like vultures” and we came up with these ideas:

1. Vultures and eagles use energy differently when waiting. Eagles have to “make it happen” by flapping their wings, while Vultures can ride the thermal waves. Question: do we have both times of waiting in our life? Do we know when to wait like an eagle, meaning we need to do something?  Or when we need to wait like a vulture and ride a thermal wave?

2. Vultures have to wait for something to die to be fed (vs. eagles killing their food or their sibling!). So, often, we in ministry have to fly around waiting and watching the big picture—and then when the time is right (for a vulture, when something dies) THEN move into action. Question: Do we give ourselves enough permission to wait to be “ministry fed” or are we too much like eagles and making things happen?

Two last thoughts as we near the end of today’s post: what stood out to you in this chapter? This is what I love about book club . . . though this chapter might not have been my favorite, I know, know, know it is one of yours. I love hearing what you liked or pushed your buttons. It helps me (and us) to interact with the material, allowing it to soak more deeply into us.

Other thought: we are halfway done with this book (what?! I know). So, let’s do a short review. What has stayed with you about the pigeon, pelican, quail, vulture, and eagle? What do you recall about these birds?

I look forward to five more birds! See you in the comments,


P.S. Next bird? The Ostrich. Anyone else feel like hiding their head? Get it? A bird joke!

[i], Accessed August 24, 2016.

Photo by Kea Mowat on Unsplash


  1. Johnna October 17, 2016

    Thank you, Amy for another great post. I love, love this book. I didn’t dislike this chapter, but I do notice a different tone. And if I understood you right, you’re saying Blue doesn’t discuss the nature of eagles as much as she does other birds? I didn’t notice that… but I really started quite clueless about birds before this book. What I love about the book so far is the way she so naturally and organically ties in concepts of nature, care of Creation, huge theological (mis)conceptions about Jesus/God and specific birds. She’s constantly pushing me to think outside the box, go to the edge, allow God to be bigger than I ever expected or imagine. My question for those who struggle with the eagle chapter… is part of it because she’s questioning a VERY sacred image for Americans? After living overseas now for about 8 years, I’m regularly challenged to view the U.S. in a different light than I did when growing up. The “eagle effect” has led to a superiority complex, a savior mentality, a narrow view of seeing how Jesus can work, limited language and imagery concerning the Spirit and many other problems. Coupled with a stance on war and politics that does not always match well with other countries, it is plausible that the eagle effect has left destruction in its wake in many places. I’d love to hear people from Australia, the UK, other countries and nationalities give their perspective on how they see this chapter. My hope is that it is healing to hear an American speak of the troubling aspects of linking the eagle too closely with God and/or spiritual matter and the pondering of having a different global reputation that is closer linked to a vulture or other bird. My concern is that many of us Americans will have trouble hearing the nudges of correction because we are so tied to the imagery ourselves. I’m not sure if this is a reason why this chapter might be difficult for some to handle, but throwing it out there as a possibility. I find it refreshing because I think it points to a lot of cultural mishaps I’ve experienced over the years… even situations where I was acting far too much like an eagle in a given situation and needed to give my host country/culture sisters and brothers space to speak, act and respond. On another note, Velvet Ashes is such a huge part of my self-care/spiritual food between the posts, the book club and the Connection Group. Thank you for this resource! I can imagine my first two times overseas would have been much healthier if I’d had a resource like this!

    1. Johnna October 17, 2016

      (Oh and just as a caveat, bringing up Australia and UK specifically because of the similarities some see they have with the U.S. I really want to hear from all backgrounds, not trying to single out one or two!)

      1. Amy Young October 17, 2016

        I’ve got a gal in my CG from Ireland and last week we asked her about Irish conceptions of the eagle — I admit, I was surprised how similar to America’s it is :). I like diversity!

        1. Johnna October 18, 2016

          Oh funny that it’s similar!

    2. Amy Young October 17, 2016

      Now you’ve got me thinking about the difference between “dislike” and “disappointed.” :). I think I was disappointed because instead of being invited to the edges to think about things differently, I felt shoved :). As you said, “She’s constantly pushing me to think outside the box, go to the edge, allow God to be bigger than I ever expected or imagine.” It’s not so much that I’m struggling with this chapter, it’s just that I know I won’t be thinking about it as much as I the others — this chapter felt more about Debbie and not enough about the Bible, the bird, and topics that get me thinking.

      I just felt “meh” — it was fine, but not wow! (I just read the ostrich chapter today in prep for next week and . . . back to the tone of the other chapters :)!)

      1. Michele Womble October 17, 2016

        Amy, I was disappointed as well. I wanted to know more characteristics about the eagle – so I googled it and made a list – I posted it below. I didn’t actually study any of them, but just – you know – they ARE there, and there was a LOT that she could have talked about. That she didn’t. I probably won’t be thinking about this chapter so much, either – but I WILL be thinking about some of the things on my list – and maybe adding to it. I’m not done with the eagle.

      2. Johnna October 18, 2016

        Oh yeah, you clearly said disappointed, not dislike. 🙂 I see how it can feel like being shoved. Well it certainly got me thinking and writing… Excited for the ostrich. (And I loved your bird joke).

    3. Michele Womble October 17, 2016

      Johnna, I think the chapter was thought provoking, and certainly there is something about the symbolism and what it means to us that we need to think about it. I just think that she could have mentioned it and still actually talked about some positive characteristics of eagles (of which there are many – I list some in my post below). In the other chapters, (at least the ones I’ve been able to keep up with) she talked about positives and negatives and what those things could tell us about God and ourselves. In this chapter – there was nothing positive about the eagle for us to learn about God and ourselves except how people came together to save them from extinction. I’m glad she talked about the negative – I just wish she had talked about the positive, too. The negative side of power – but the positive side, as well. God IS powerful, after all, and for us that’s a good thing. (see my second post below.)

      1. Johnna October 18, 2016

        Good points! Now I think I need to read the chapter again to see the things I missed. But will probably save that for the next time I read the book! Thanks for posting the list. I need to check that out!

  2. M'Lynn October 17, 2016

    Funny to me this week that the bird I came away thinking most about is the TURKEY! Her comparison of what our country might look like, what we might look like, if we identified with the turkey rather than the eagle is food for thought. The author writes, “Many people across the world are recognizing a need for a new paradigm if we hope to continue life on this earth–a paradigm that acknowledges the value of limits rather than pursuing unchecked power and expansion. How about adopting a slow bird with a sweet song for a new national direction.” All politics and references to our “national direction” aside (you can get that on Facebook…hahahaha) I’m nodding along with this statement as something I desire in my personal life. It’s chiming in with Kimberly Todd’s post for the Grove last week as she yearns for simplicity in every day life. A life that “acknowledges the value of limits rather than pursuing unchecked power and expansion…a slow [life] with a sweet song” The author also hits on this theme earlier in the paragraph “Big and fast and strong are not sustainable values.” I saw something on my Instagram feed the other day from a ministry I follow, and maybe this wasn’t the intended message (or maybe it was), but it basically quoted scripture and interpreted it as “wanna go faster??” I’d reference it here, but can’t connect today (thanks for nothing, VPN…haha) And I just wanted to yell at my phone…no!!! I don’t want to go faster! And I don’t want to use Bible verses to fuel some urge to press through and keep trucking on at an unsustainable pace. So…yeah…the TURKEY!!!

    1. Amy Young October 17, 2016

      M’Lynn, I need to run, so this will be short and I’ll be back, but your comment reminded me of a post on limits and freedoms and I’ve spent the last 20 minutes hunting for it! Now that I have found it, I feel compelled to scratch the itch I’ve been pawing at . . . and put myself out of my obsessive hunting. 🙂

      1. Johnna October 18, 2016

        Cried my way through this article you referenced. Apparently I don’t like limits. 🙂 Married, mother of a three year old with another on the way, I was very fearful of the limits marriage would put on me. In my early thirties, I reluctantly began to admit to myself and others that I wanted to be married, and I also began to face my huge fears and some personal struggles I was given a gracious opportunity to look at differently and for which I received deep healing. Now I struggle with the limits of motherhood. I don’t always take the time to read, much less write in, the comments, but today it has been good for me to reflect and release. Thank you again, Amy!!

      2. M'Lynn October 18, 2016

        Thank you for hunting this down! I so needed this read today. “Our limits point us to God. They say, “This is where you end. You are not limitless, only I AM. I give you limits to remind you who you are so you remember who I AM.” YES!!! And, I love that in that post you said you had much more to say, but the conversation would unfold over time. Indeed it will! How great is that?

    2. Johnna October 18, 2016

      Perfect timing for those who celebrate Thanksgiving in Canada and the US. I want to be more turkey-like, especially of the “pardoned” variety. 🙂

    3. Jenilee October 18, 2016

      Ah! All kinds of VPN, google hangouts, apps… issues here too!!

    4. Michele Womble October 18, 2016

      I keep thinking about the turkey, too, M’Lynn! I’m pretty sure I am one!

      I get what you’re saying (and what she said ) about Big, fast, and strong. I don’t want to go faster, either, and I’m very slow even with my times in the word – I like to stay in one place for a LONG time, letting the words sink in – but it’s too easy to get caught up in doing that “faster ” and bigger –

  3. Michele Womble October 17, 2016

    I was disappointed with this chapter, too, and I was kind of dreading having to share that I was, so I was really glad, Amy, when you said it first. I appreciated her thoughts about how the symbolism of the eagle might be …over-rated or even dangerous….but…I was hoping for something different. In light of the fact that Is. 40:31 (among other passages in the Bible) could still be referring to an eagle, it seemed appropriate to mention some of the characteristics of eagles that would be positive….

    so I googled eagle. And there’s all kinds of interesting things that can be looked at from a spiritual perspective.

    Eagles fly higher than any other bird.
    From what I read, eagles do make use of thermal waves when they soar.
    Their incredible eyesight (I am always praying for God to give me eyes to see).
    they see colors more vividly than we do and more shades of color than we do. (Lord? Are You listening? I’d like some of that, spiritually)
    Their eyesight is so good that they can see fish below the surface of the water – clearly. (Something we have trouble with.)
    They are great fishers. (I don’t have to point out the spiritual analogy.)
    They are the only birds of prey that don’t look back (over their shoulders) before striking. (brings to mind Lot’s wife- or Jesus setting His face toward Jerusalem?)
    They carry their young on their backs as they teach them to fly, carrying them AND catching them on their backs until they learn (Lilias Trotter talked about this in A Passion for the Impossible) (so many references to God carrying us like this)
    They (mostly? generally?) mate for life.
    One site said they lived in high places.
    I even found a site that said that eagles love the storm, and when other birds fly away from it, they fly into it, using the storm and the wind to soar. (So much we could say about that!)

    I also wrote some thoughts about power and vulnerability but separated them into second comment. (See Below).

    1. M'Lynn October 18, 2016

      Great list! Thanks for sharing! My personal fave is their eyesight. As I’m very much dependent on my corrective lenses, I look forward to having perfect vision one day in heaven. And…thankful also He gives us spiritual eyes to see!

      1. Michele Womble October 18, 2016

        That may be why the thought of great eyesight means so much to me, too – because my eyes have been bad since high school (and are declining in other ways, now).

      2. Michele Womble October 18, 2016

        I think my favorites (for now) are that they don’t look back and that they fly into the storm.

        I think not looking back was on wikipedia – although I can’t remember for sure now. And I’m not sure about flying into the storm (how true they are, I mean, since one of the characteristics I found is under some doubt now) but I love the picture that both of those things generate. Once they’re committed they “don’t look back” ( most birds of prey look back – you know, to make sure nothing is about to grab THEM) and supposedly eagles don’t.

    2. Michele Womble October 18, 2016

      The one about carrying/catching their young on their backs as they teach them to fly might not be true. I’ve been googling it and have found different opinions on that – and it WASN’T on wikipedia. 🙁

      But how dare it not be true if Lilias Trotter used it as an example! (A Passion for the Impossible – book club a few months ago.)

    3. Patty Stallings October 19, 2016

      Thanks, Michele! Lots to think about!

  4. Michele Womble October 17, 2016

    I appreciated the thoughts on vulnerability, and certainly this is part of the story and part of our faith. I understand her concern about “power”. She said “power is not neutral” – and I agree. But then I feel like she threw power out altogether – and I can’t agree with that.

    I am so glad that Jesus made Himself vulnerable and was born as a baby. I’m glad that He went to the cross – and that He taught us to forgive and be humble and be merciful – another way – to serve.

    But I am also glad that He is powerful.

    I am so glad that He hung on the cross not because He was too vulnerable to do otherwise, not because He was helpless to save Himself, but because He, in spite of the fact that He was fully powerful to save Himself, chose not to so that He could save us.
    And was fully powerful to defeat death and hell and raise Jesus.

    I am glad that He is powerful. I’m glad that I can say I will hide myself in Him, my rock, my fortress, my Deliverer – because I know He is powerful – strong and mighty to save.

    No, power is not neutral, and it can be dangerous.
    But a righteous, powerful God (also not neutral – and yes, dangerous) is beautiful – glorious.

    We’d not have much hope otherwise.

    1. Johnna October 18, 2016

      Yay! I find this so encouraging. Grateful for the added traits of the eagle and the balanced view of power. I am particularly struck by the eagle carrying and catching the baby learning to fly. I have never heard that or thought of it!

      1. Michele Womble October 18, 2016

        I’ve been googling this more and there are conflicting reports about it – Ah google – it was one of my favorites, too – and Lilias Trotter even described it in her book! – but now I can’t find out if it’s really true or not.

        But even if I have to “take back” this one, there’s still a lot of positive to examine.

    2. Amy Young October 18, 2016

      This morning on a FB group for writers, the host (Ed Cyzewski) posted this:

      “I’ve been thinking about this scripture verse this morning:
      “But I will come—and soon—if the Lord lets me, and then I’ll find out whether these arrogant people just give pretentious speeches or whether they really have God’s power. For the Kingdom of God is not just a lot of talk; it is living by God’s power.”
      1 Corinthians 4:19-20, NLT
      As a recovering arrogant talker, I need to remember that the Kingdom of God isn’t powered primarily by words but by God’s power.”

      Made me this of our chat here in the book club.

      1. Michele Womble October 18, 2016

        oh! I love it! The Kingdom of God is living by God’s power.

        Scary as that may be sometimes.

  5. Jenilee October 18, 2016

    I can only echo the thoughts of others here because I was feeling the same way! The whole tone of this chapter felt different, almost angry? Not that I didn’t like it or couldn’t shake my head yes at times but I felt like the depth was missing of what would could LEARN from the eagle not just what we shouldn’t want to learn from the eagle. Thankful for the ladies above who googled and added some depth! Still love this book and can’t wait for next week.

    I did love when she was talking about Jesus coming in weakness as a baby. She says, “It is something that slowly helps us realize that we have no need to protect ourselves. We don’t need to defend ourselves. We don’t have to hide who we are. We can be honest about everything. James Alison says, “Confession is the long slow process of being disarmed.”

    But what I felt like she was missing was that He will come again in POWER. He is powerful with eyes that search the earth. All seeing, all knowing, all powerful. And I think the eagle shows us that quite well.

    1. Michele Womble October 18, 2016

      YES! He WILL!

      I did like the discussion of vulnerability – I thought it was appropriate to talk about vulnerability and weakness when we talk about strength and power.

      But like you said, I felt like she was angry about power (and there is a foundation for that anger) and missed the opportunity to talk about the righteous, holy, power of God.

  6. Elizabeth October 18, 2016

    Hey all! Honestly I skimmed over the anti-American sentiments because I kept thinking, this is completely written to an American audience! In a way the other chapters weren’t, and as a global citizen I kept thinking non-Americans might not appreciate this chapter being so America-centric. And, being an American, I’m already very familiar with the pitfalls (and glories) of American patriotism, so I didn’t feel like talking about it any further.

    I was drawn, however, to her discussion of why we aren’t ok with our smallness, our finiteness. I underlined that whole section! I am just beginning to understand what it means to live in a body. I know, I know, I am 35 years into this body-living thing, and only now beginning to understand the sacredness of the body — spurred on by conversations with and book recommendations from my Anglican friends, reflecting on my Czech Catholic heritage after my Grandma died, and delving further into what it means to recover from my teenage eating disorder (I thought I was fully done; turns out I’m not). Anyway, that’s why I liked that particular passage, not for what it says about the eagle, but for what it say about US, and about how God views our frail yet marvelous bodies. I underlined the bit about incarnation for the same reasons.

    Isn’t it funny how we’re all drawn to such different ideas? But also how so many of us weren’t huge fans of this chapter. Ha!

    Also, I did notice the ancient definition of hell as Averno, “a place without birds.” Is that not fascinating? A place without the sounds of life. I never realized it before, but yes, birds give us the sounds of life. It’s not good to be without that sound.

    1. Michele Womble October 18, 2016

      “I didn’t feel like talking about it any further” – yeah, ha! Maybe that’s part of the reason I was disappointed.

      I did appreciate her thoughts on us not being ok with our smallness and finiteness – I also liked that she said we’re not ok with not being in control.
      We are limited. But our limits also give us certain freedoms. I was thinking recently about Russian and English grammar (have I mentioned that I love language?) And how Russian language has certain rules (noun endings – cases) that can be difficult and give a certain rigidity to the language in one sense – but those rules and rigidity allow the language to be very free and creative and to soar (see, I worked the eagle in) in another sense ( Strict noun endings that tell you what sentence part the noun is allows freedom in constructing the sentence – I don’t have to follow the strict subject verb direct object structure. I can put my subjects, verbs and direct objects anywhere i want to practically, and everyone will understand, because the LIMIT is on the noun itself. Where in English – the nouns are easy – no endings, etc to define sentence part – btu the trade off is I have to structure my sentence rigidly or no one will understand me.) so limits in one area allow freedom and beauty in another – our smallness, weakness finiteness, in certain areas maybe allows us to be strong, eternal, and significant in other ways (just not the way s we usually want to be.)

      And yes, I loved that, too, that hell is a place without birds – totally fascinating.

      Do you write about your teenage eating disorder? Would like to read more about it if you do.

      1. Elizabeth October 19, 2016

        I’ve written some, yes. The following link was my first “full story” blog post. At the top it links to the blog post that inspired it, and at the bottom it links to a revised version that showed up on the blog To Save a Life. It’s long, and it’s a couple years old, so it doesn’t include some of my recent processing, which apparently isn’t up for public consumption yet — although I’m up for talking about it here if you want 😉

        Here it is

  7. Emily Smith October 18, 2016

    Ha! I remember writing the Bible Study companion this week and really enjoying the chapter. In actually going through it this week, I realized what I didn’t really use — the book. I probably could have taken the title “The Eagle: Power and Vulnerability” and written the same thing without having read this chapter. I think I loved where this chapter took me more than I loved the chapter itself.

    Just looking at the qualities in Romans 12…I know that I don’t obey all of those commands and show those qualities all of the time. But imagine if we all did. When I think of people who portray these qualities much of the time, they are powerful and strong, but they are not violent or dominant.

    I wonder if maybe our language capability is getting in the way and if in The Fall or at the Tower of Babble our language was broken just like everything else. I know I’ve often connected two ideas that need to be pulled apart “power and dominance” “vulnerability and weakness”
    I’m having trouble breaking apart power that brings death and destruction and power that brings life and renewal. Because somehow the All-Powerful God came in weakness. Jesus describes himself as gentle and humble. He is at the center of life. Renewal and restoration are at the heart of the gospel message.
    What I am walking away with is the thought that maybe my word categories need to be rearranged. I don’t know that “power” is the problem, but maybe it is all the other ideas and words we have thrown alongside power. And Jesus coming as a baby, walking among us with gentleness and humility, and dying to save us needs to flip what we think we know about power on its head and re-shape it into something completely new.

    1. Michele Womble October 18, 2016

      My comment below is supposed to be a reply to you, Emily. I thought I hit reply but I guess I didn’t?

  8. Michele Womble October 18, 2016

    Emily, I love the studies that you and Amy and Caitlin put together as a companion to the book. I confess that while I love the book, I would not like it nearly as well without the companion Bible study. Part of that is my expectations – I expected the book to be more of a study than it is. Not that I expected it to be all study. I AM enjoying the book – I especially liked the Quail chapter, so far. But just wanted you to know that I really appreciate the work that you ladies put in to writing the studies.

    I LOVE how you put this: “I know I’ve often connected two ideas that need to be pulled apart “power and dominance” “vulnerability and weakness” ”

    Unfortunately, earthly power really is most – if not all – of the time dominating, cruel, evil, self-serving. We think of it that way so much because that’s what we see. And she talked about that well. I just kept waiting for her to say “…but” and talk about God’s power

    I’m saving this quote from you: “And Jesus coming as a baby, walking among us with gentleness and humility, and dying to save us needs to flip what we think we know about power on its head and re-shape it into something completely new.”

    and add “what we think we know about vulnerability” to that, too.

  9. Michele Womble October 18, 2016

    I was disappointed in the chapter, and as Amy said I also thought I wouldn’t be thinking about it much, because it wasn’t that memorable to me. But. Obviously I’ve been thinking about it a LOT, and it may end up being the most memorable to me not so much because of what was in the chapter as because of what WASN’T. Funny how that works.

    I have more thoughts about it that I’m dying to share (or at least one) but I think I’ll be quiet for awhile. I feel like I’m dominating the conversation right now, and I don’t want to be THAT PERSON.

    In my defense, part of that’s because I’m sitting here thinking while at least half of you are still asleep. 🙂 Over on the other side.

  10. Day Twenty: Receive Power October 21, 2016

    […] have loved the discussions I have had this week about power over at the Velvet Ashes Book Club. I keep thinking that we might have gotten the definition of power all wrong. Power that manifests […]

  11. Malia October 23, 2016

    So much to think about in all these posts–thank you!

    I’ve kept coming back to the eagle this week for a couple reasons. First, my kids’ elementary school is running their anti-bullying campaign, and the theme is “Stand Up and Be a Guardian.” Our school’s mascot is the Guardian, and it’s represented by a traditional Korean soldier (as we are in Seoul)…but of course the emphasis is on defending what is good rather than force. What a seamless message to link the school mascot to the school’s values. Second, we’ve been hosting a volleyball tournament, and I kept wondering if other schools are able to do the same, with names like Dragons, Falcons, Warriors…and Eagles. I had never before thought how we can subconsciously adopt values synced with labels we wear. Should schools/teams be able to say “Be a ______” with all that mascot insinuates? Do we take on qualities of our mascot or do we create the image ourselves? Maybe it’s both.

    While some images can be redeemed by emphasizing good qualities (thanks for the great list for eagles, Michele!), some just cannot. So this makes me want to be double careful what I identify with and what I allow my kids to mimic (not necessarily mascots, over which they have no control, but possibly action heroes and dress-up). This discussion also makes me wonder what bird I would put on a family crest should we ever become fancy enough to create one. Hm…

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