“Our Father who art in nature, who has given the gift of survival to the coyote, the common brown rat, the English sparrow, the house fly and the moth, must have a great and overwhelming love for no-goods and blots-on-the-town and bums, and Mack and the boys. Virtues and graces and laziness and zest. Our Father who art in nature.”
― John Steinbeck
Why the English sparrow? Chirpy little chap, does no harm (not in England anyway). Well, apart from the little sod who fights his reflection in my window at first light - tap, tap, tap!
Bugger off Steinbeck, leave our sparrows alone!
Steinbeck is my favorite author, and this particular passage is from "Cannery Row". I was going to say it's one of my favorites passages from the book, but actually the entire book is one long favorite passage of mine, so as the resident priest here at HAF I shall forgive you your trespasses my dear Glowchester, that is for telling His Holy of Holies "John Steinbeck" to bugger off.
I do so because I realize you are old, and therefore probably perpetually grumpy, and know not what you do, and also because Steinbeck himself would probably appreciate the comment
I've always taken this passage to be Steinbeck's version of the "Lords Prayer" which begins "Our father who art in heaven
"....I like John's version because instead of placing god in heaven he has him here on earth, represented by nature, which when I first read long ago I took to mean god is in everything, and nothing all at once.
I know this passage, as well as the book is a thorn is the side of christians because of this and other passages, such as this one:
"People, sleeping, heard [the old Chinaman's] flapping shoe go by and they awakened for a moment. It had been happening for years but no one ever got used to him. Some people thought he was God and very old people thought he was Death and children thought he was a very funny old Chinaman".
The old chinamen referenced here is really the only constant in the entire book, so he represents the only constants for us which are life and death ( So there is no god, only an old Chinaman with a flapping shoe along with life and death)
Anyway Steinbeck meant your precious English Sparrow no harm, in fact he is comparing it to Mack and the boys, otherwise known as "saints and angels and martyrs and holy men"...