Scratching Where You Itch
- Animated Animalism
- The Swine Test
- Relative Beings
- In Praise of (a Little) Rudeness
- Famous Last Words
- Malice in Wonderland
- Legend in My Own Mind
- Sheepish in Wolf Country
- Heifers Without a Cause
- South End of a North-bound Mule
- Laughing Hyenas
- Lemmings to the Sea
- Run Like a Rat
- Suspicious Minds
- Professional Bloodsuckers
- Germ Warfare
- Punch Drunk
- The Desperation Factor
- Foolís Gold
- How to Guard Against the Defilement of Listening to an Evil
- Animal House
"ÖKingdom Zoology uses humor,
personal insight and scripture to clarify the nature, purpose and
proper use of discernment. "
"Joel Freeman is unique in his
ability to communicate biblical truth in creative ways. In this
challenging book, Joel provides every person with the vital
information needed to develop their own spiritual discernment as
they seek to evaluate and maintain quality in Christian
relationships. Understanding spiritual discernment was never so
which fun! "
Dr. Tony Evans,
Senior Pastor, Oak Cliff Bible Fellowship
"In his usual entertaining but provocative style, Dr. Joel
Freeman introduces us to the 'animals' that make kingdom living so
difficult and dangerous for all of us. Every reader will discover a
great deal of practical biblical counsel in these fascinating
chapters. I especially like the authorís penetrating study of
the 'fool' as found it the book of Proverbs. It's the best I've
Author and Bible Teacher
"It my life I have tried to help everyone who needs help and to
be kind to everyone I come in contact with. I have discovered,
though, that not everyone who comes to me comes for help. Some come
to destroy. It is in these cases we must ask for God's direction and
discernment. Little is said in the Christian community about how to
identify or what to do with those whose direction is destruction.
Prior to Kingdom Zoology,
we were guided only by a feeling it our stomach. With his usual
quick wit, Joel Freeman presents an entertaining case for spiritual
Author and Speaker
"All the worldís a zoo,' says Joel Freeman, slightly revising
Shakespeare. For Christians, it seems, 'All the church is the zoo,'
if I might revise Freeman. God, of course, is the zoo's Grand
Curator who will, in time, revise us all. This is Freeman's promise
and he keeps that promise in Kingdom
Zoology. So find your old cage, let God in, read and
be revised; itís for your own good."
Author, The Singer Trilogy
"Peter says that some people behave like animals. They 'act by
instinct, like wild animals.' All of us are capable of acting like
animals, not as men and women made in the image of God. In Kingdom
Zoology, Joel Freeman has a sharp eye for brutish
behavior, and in this colorful book he warns us to watch out for
Radio Pastor (Moody Broadcasting Network)
The church is something like
If it werenít for the storm outside, you couldnít
stand the smell inside.
I like cartoons. Mickey Mouse.
Donald Duck. Woody Woodpecker. Road Runner. The Coyote. Porky Pig.
"Hey, whatís up, Doc?"
"W-Well, I guess w-what
attracts me to cartoons is th-that so many of th-them are about
animals th-that behave l-like human beings."
Well said. Thanks for your
perspective, Porky. Itís so true. I laugh when Donald Duck gets
flustered about something. His reactions are so human-like. Itís
funny to watch the Road Runner bait the trap for the Coyote. I get a
vicarious thrill every time he falls off a cliff. His fixation with
the Road Runner causes him to lose touch with reality. The Coyote is
so stupid sometimes - just like us humans.
On the flip side, however, there is
a grim reality - humans behave like animals. Sly, like a fox. Proud
like a peacock. Stubborn, like a mule. Waiting to strike, like a
One begins to wonder if there is
anybody out there who truly has the best interests of others at
heart. Are there any candidates? How about someone who behaves like
Recently, I performed a wedding
ceremony one a large party boat. It was a fancy schmancy, black-tie
event that cruised out of Baltimoreís Inner Harbor. During the
course of the afternoon, I met a fascinating man. He was in his late
fifties. He had sparkling eyes that communicated a mixture of hard
living and boyish mischief. I primed the pump and sat back to listen
to this self-made man Iíll call Taylor.
He had a no-nonsense, rough edge to
him. With spicy language he told stories about gun deals he had made
with anti-government, terrorist-type men in Central and South
America through the years. As a pilot with a private plane, Taylor
had carved out quite a niche for himself in the seedy underworld of
on-the-edge-of-your-seat danger and millions of dollars. It didnít
take long for me to realize that his life experience was excellent
grist for the movie mill. It was almost unbelievable.
" I was in El Salvador doing a
deal." He said. "We all had pistols stuffed in our belts.
I knew that anyone of those men could blow me away in an instant.
Yet I felt safer there than if I was in the main street of my
hometown. I turned to those guys and pointed to each one saying,
ĎListen, Iím an s.o.b., youíre an s.o.b., youíre an s.o.b.,
youíre an s.o.b. and youíre an s.o.b. Now that we all know what
we are, letís do businessí"
Taylor laughed enthusiastically and
then paused. He looked intently into my eyes. "Joel,
itís not the s.o.bís of the world you have to watch out
for," he said. "You always know where you stand with them.
Itís the do-gooders you have to be careful about. Theyíll smile
to your face and then stab you when you turn your back."
What Taylor said that day has made
me think. When viewed from an earth-bound perspective, his
philosophy holds up to the test of reality in many ways. I donít
know about your experience, but most of the raw deals I have
encountered in life have been perpetrated by the type of people who
are prone to slap "Iím Not Perfect, Just Forgiven"
bumper stickers on their cars. It could almost make me a
semi-paranoid, constantly-looking-over-my-shoulder type of guy.
Cynical. Always searching of the dark, shadowy side of people.
I have looked into the tearful eyes
of pastors whose reputations have been smeared by other pastors.
Iíve talked with business people who have been stiffed by
Christians promising to pay their bills. People involved in street
ministry have been burned time and time again by ex-cons that got
And something saddens me even more
when I consider all this. I have hurt people in the name of
Christianity. I have been a perpetrator of heartache. It is almost
frightening to realize my own capacity when it comes to evil. Like
Taylor said, "Itís the do-gooders you have to be careful
Whatís Lurking Under the SheepskinsÖ
Human beings are a puzzle. Just
when you think youíve got them figured out, one of them does
something completely out of character and youíre left scratching
Since most of our emotional pain
involves people it is vital for us to understand whatís behind
their actions and words. Thatís why I wrote this book. Kingdom
Zoology is about discernment. Itís about you and me. Itís the
product of much study and heartache in my interactions with various
types of people. My prayer is that this book will provide the tools
for you to deepen your understanding about dealing with those who
have a destructive, evil proclivity.
To a certain extent, this book
evolved from the harsh experiences with really only a hand full of
people. People, who, on the surface, had all the appearances of
Christian love and character, but later on caused profound damage
within the church. With the advantage of hindsight, I can see
clearly now that underneath those sheepskins lurked ravenous wolves.
Much of what I write has been filtered though tears.
I hope, though, that I never become
jaded. The vast majority of church people I have worked with have
been wonderful. They love the Word, work hard and patiently put up
with my many flagrant displays of immaturity and zeal. Most
Christians are terrific people!
My prayer to God through the years
has been something like this: "Lord, please protect our church
from wolves, pigs, serpents or goats. Just send sheep. Sleepy sheep.
Happy sheep. Neurotic sheep. Wounded sheep. Noisy sheep. Boring
sheep. Backslidden sheep. White sheep. Black sheep. Well, you get
the picture. Thanks for listening."
This book is not written from an
ivory tower of perfection. I am hopeful about Godís gracious work
in all our lives. We should not fear taking risks with people who
seem to be wolf-like. Nor should we be self-conscious in our
relationships with others. It is important, however, for us to be
aware of the fact that there are distinctive differences between
people when it comes to the motivations of the heart.
If at times my words seem to take
on a judgmental tone, remember that behind these sentences beats a
merciful heart. It has been said that the most ardent evangelists of
the good may be those who have had close encounters with evil.
I like sheep, but sometimes, even
sheep have sharp teeth.
Points to Ponder
- Do you, like Taylor, feel that
"nice guys" can be the most dangerous? If so, how has
that affected your opinion of people in general?
- Have you noticed
"wolf-like" tendencies in yourself? Are you tempted to
justify any shortcomings with excuses borrowed from
"dog-eat-dog" philosophy (e.g., "Youíve gotta
look out for #1" or "Nice guys finish last")?
Before ordering this book
I want to check out Dr. Freeman's
other four books."