Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Day 51 - Persuasion vs. Deception

First things first, there is need to crown a winner in the name that fly competition that I presented last week. Names came in from all over the country (Minnesota and North Carolina to be more specific). America has voted, and the winner is... Lauren with her submission of "Woody Troutpecker". I am currently in contact with her father to notify her of her winnings. And now on to today's topic.

I have a metal sign that I'm going to put up in my "man cave" whenever I get to fixing the place up. It states something to the effect that "fishing lies are spoken here." The sign is pretty campy and runs the typical course of fly fishing decoration/humor that many people share about our sport. And while I am of one mind to find the humor in it, the other half finds it a little offensive. I mean let's be honest who wants to be called a liar?

Now I can understand where this mindset can come from. There's a saying that "fish grow over time." And to be honest, I've fallen victim to this idiom on occasion. I think this action comes not from any deception but lack of judgement. I don't carry a measuring tape, so I truly can't be sure how big it was. I mean who to say it wasn't 14 inches versus 12 inches?

When I looked up the definition of "angle" as in angling for fish, it comes up with an "attempt to get something by sly or artful means". Again, we joust around this idea of deception. Maybe it's just the negative connotation that modern society has given the word deception, or maybe it truly is negative. However, I can't say that this doesn't rub me the wrong way. I'd like to believe that I'm a pretty honest person. Someone whose character can't be called into question. And yet, I actively participate in a sport that engages in deception. I'm kind of a walking contradiction of terms.

Not to get too preachy on anybody (what do you expect when I'm married to a pastor and have an undergrad in Biblical Studies), but in the Gospels (Matthew 4:19 & Mark 1:17) Jesus states that if Simon (Peter) and Andrew follow Him, that He will make them fishers of men. This puts my faith under the bus, if we follow the above thinking of fishing as deception.

Personally, as a Christian, I can't believe that Jesus's intention is to deceive people. I'm sure there are people out there that believe that, but I whole heartily disagree with them. I believe that the intent was one of persuasion. The goal was not to deceive people, but to persuade people. There's a big distinction here: deception requires the use of trickery or possibly even lying, persuasion doesn't need to have those things. Persuasion is actually the ability to prevail over someone to do something. In some cases, lying and deception are used, but in others its just urging an individual.

I can go along with this clarification. I'm no longer considered a deceiver, but an urger. My intent when fishing is to urge the trout to take my lure. I'm persuading the fish that they want to bite my lure. If the fish had any brains, it would see that there is a hook there. Is it my fault that the fish isn't smart enough to know the difference?

Somehow, all of this feels like some sort of legal loophole. I ultimately maybe trying to justify my actions. Maybe I truly am a liar and a deceiver of fish (and humans) and don't want to give up fly fishing due to a conflict of faith. Yet, if that is the case I'm sure I'm not the first Christian to show up at the Pearly Gates with fly rod in hand. Plus, if Norman Maclean was right, I'm sure that the River of Life that flows through paradise will have the Apostle John casting dry flies to the heavenly trout. And if I'm really lucky, maybe Christ Himself will give me a few pointers like he did to Simon Peter (cast your nets onto the other side of the boat).

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