the camel’s nose (and culture going too far)

Consistent with our current conversation, years ago we pondered the following…

One cold night, as an Arab sat in his tent, a camel gently thrust his nose under the flap and looked in. “Master,” he said, “let me put my nose in your tent. It’s cold and stormy out here.” “By all means,” said the Arab, “and welcome” as he turned over and went to sleep.

A little later the Arab awoke to find that the camel had not only put his nose in the tent but his head and neck also. The camel, who had been turning his head from side to side, said, “I will take but little more room if I place my forelegs within the tent. It is difficult standing out here.” “Yes, you may put your forelegs within,” said the Arab, moving a little to make room, for the tent was small.

Finally, the camel said, “May I not stand wholly inside? I keep the tent open by standing as I do.” “Yes, yes,” said the Arab. “Come wholly inside. Perhaps it will be better for both of us.” So the camel crowded in. The Arab with difficulty in the crowded quarters again went to sleep. When he woke up the next time, he was outside in the cold and the camel had the tent to himself.

[Special thanks to for “The Camel’s Nose in the Tent”]

The metaphorical camel’s nose illustrates the potential worsening of a situation when small, questionable scenarios are initially permitted. The allowance of the nose in the tent creates the potential for a scenario never imagined, but possibly dire.

Where — albeit by gradual steps — have we possibly witnessed the protrusion of the “camel’s nose”? Help me here. This is sincere, respectful wrestling. 

Where have we permitted scenarios to exist that may potentially evolve into the camel taking over the tent? Where have we promoted an initial, specific desire, policy, or behavior that as it progresses, manifests itself as a progression of wrongful thinking?

Like many I have watched the spiraling situation of Virginia’s Gov. Ralph Northam. He’s attempting to find a way forward to govern, keep his seat, etc. because 30 years ago he dressed up in a “black face,” universally considered an insult now — an act many have also done — including celebrities such as Joy Behar, Jimmy Kimmel, and Spike Lee. (Side note: his would-be successor, Lt. Gov. Justin Fairfax, is also in trouble, as he stands accused of assault, while the parties and public ponder whether or not to employ the same standards as they did last summer.)

But the controversy surrounding Northam’s costume seems nothing short of a smokescreen for his previous comments (shared here last week) in which he seemingly equated late term abortion with infanticide.

“If the camel…”

This concerns me, friends.

“… gets his nose…”

What else? Where else have we gone too far and the animal’s nose has begun to reek?

Pick your social issue. Pick your fiscal practice. Pick your societal evolution. Where has the practice gone too far?  Where has the initial acceptance been possibly ethical, but the potential progression is now imprudent?

“… in the tent…”

Borrowing billions? Increasing the debt? Accepting or rejecting immigrants? Detaining immigrants? Negative campaigning? A two-party-only system? A refusal to work together? Fighting for “my party” only?… Or the acceptance of adultery? The omission of God? Acceptance of socialism … even Communism? … or some of the crud on TV? What about the idea that due process is not necessary? A belief that one party or gender is always telling the truth or always lying? That only one party got us to this place? What about a complete lack of respect and even denigration of those who feel differently?…

Where are the camels, friends? I don’t claim to know all of the above. I only ask the question in order to avoid the slippery slope of potential foolish and unethical activity.  Otherwise…

“… his body will soon follow.”



One Reply to “the camel’s nose (and culture going too far)”

  1. Insightful read of the camel illustration. Each having to think out that last paragraph challenge. Before the King we each stand one day with individual responsibility as to what we do in our sphere of influence. Thank you for this illustration. Stirs the heart to think deeper. Holy Spirit lead me/us.

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