Monday, August 20, 2007

What Question Would You Ask a Creation Scientist?

"For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead, so that they are without excuse..... " Romans 1:20

Creation science is a subject of great interest to me, and from time to time I like to read a book on the subject to keep myself current. This week, I have the added privilege of hearing a creation scientist, Dr. Mace Baker, give special presentations on the subject at our church.

We heard last evening about the fossil record and how it argues against uniformitarianism and for the catastrophic world flood detailed in the biblical account of Genesis. Dr. Baker had the knack for making the information understandable--something I surely appreciated, not only for my own sake but for the sake of the many children who were listening. He had the rapt attention of the children; it seems they have an innate interest for this subject.

Happily, our family had the delight of inviting Dr. Baker to put his feet under our table, and to enjoy a more informal exchange. We peppered him with so many questions, he finally had to beg off so that he could save his voice for the evening lecture!

One of my questions was, "What advice to you have for homeschooling parents who seek to provide their children with a sound science education, but at the same time desire to preserve unwavering faith in the biblical record?"

His answer surprised me a little. He suggested I obtain a public high school biology text rather than to use one from a Christian publisher. As the students work their way through the text, all FACTS are to be highlighted in blue, and the ASSUMPTIONS in yellow. Keep track of these on a separate sheet of paper, the facts in one column and the assumptions in the other. Then discuss~~do any of the blue highlighted facts absolutely preclude creation? Do they speak for evolution? What do the yellow highlighted items assume?

Dr. Baker's assertion is that the facts will speak clearly and that reason will demand that evolution be placed in the category of "assumption".

He told us about a friend of his, a professor who used this method of teaching with his college level biology students. Because it was a secular college, the professor was not allowed to overtly share his Biblical belief in creation. But NONE of his students left the class believing in evolution, no elegant sermons required. Facts speak; truth appeals to reason (Acts 26:25).

What question would you ask a creation scientist?

Saturday, August 18, 2007

Virtual Pastor's Wife

I couldn't resist. After reading about the Virtual Pastor, I just had to conjure up an image of the Virtual Pastor's Wife. What would she be like? No doubt she would have a halo, unchipped nail polish, be unfailingly cheerful and smiling, and she would wear a little black dress~~traditional, of course, in a perfect size 8. No bad hair days for her, either. Hair tends to stay put when one does nothing but read the Bible all day.

Monday, August 06, 2007

On Religion and Fine Arts: a quote

An interesting tidbit I came across this morning. I think Neil Postman would approve!

"I would argue that the route to a renaissance of the American fine arts lies through religion. Let me make my premises clear: I am a professed atheist and a pro-choice libertarian Democrat. But based on my college experiences in the 1960s, when interest in Hinduism and Buddhism was intense, I have been calling for nearly two decades for massive educational reform that would put the study of comparative religion at the center of the university curriculum. Though I shared the exasperation of my generation with the moralism and prudery of organized religion, I view each world religion, including Judeo-Christianity and Islam, as a complex symbol system, a metaphysical lens through which we can see the vastness and sublimity of the universe. Knowledge of the Bible, one of the West's foundational texts, is dangerously waning among aspiring young artists and writers. When a society becomes all-consumed in the provincial minutiae of partisan politics (as has happened in the US over the past twenty years), all perspective is lost. Great art can be made out of love for religion as well as rebellion against it. But a totally secularized society with contempt for religion sinks into materialism and self-absorption and gradually goes slack, without leaving an artistic legacy."

~ Camille Paglia on Religion and the Arts in America

Qui docet, discit.....He Who Teaches Learns

Ancora Imparo~~ "I am still learning"
~ Michelangelo

Neil Postman makes this sad observation regarding school children: they enter school as question marks and exit as periods.

Question mark kids are the ones who have an innate, intact sense of curiosity. They are the ones who aren't afraid to challenge textbooks or teachers. And as a teacher, one very serious question it behooves me to ask is, "How can I keep the question mark alive?" Because once dead, curiosity is pretty difficult to resurrect. It's a fearsome responsibility to be entrusted with so delicate a commodity.

I think question marks are most in danger of being erased when I, as teacher, become a period myself: This is the answer. Period. It must be done as I say. Period. You should know this. Period. I am the expert. Period.

It is required of a master teacher that she first and continually be herself a passionate learner. As such, she can identify with her students, taking the posture of a fellow learner and pilgrim on the path of knowledge. When students walk side-by-side on this path with their teacher, learning becomes relational. The dynamics of communication are changed. Instead of meekly receiving information from the"expert", students will come alive and discuss ideas dear to their hearts. Ideas stimulate more questions, revealing a glimpse of another, distant mountain peak of discovery.

Does this mean the teacher abdicates her role as leader? No. Her head start on the journey puts her a little out in front, providing a visible model and road guide for the ones who follow.

Teachers need models, too. I look to Jesus as the ultimate model teacher. Although He existed in the form of God, He willingly emptied Himself of all the privileges He had the right to invoke as deity (Phillipians 2:6-7). He sat in the temple at age 12, in the seat of a learner (Luke 2:46). He both asked questions and gave astounding answers (Luke 2:47). Truly, He was and IS Immanuel, God with us. And that is the most practical of examples: a teacher walking through the dust with His students.

Life's Little Mysteries

Do you find orphaned socks in your laundry basket? I have a whole drawer full of them. When I get to heaven, I'm going to ask the Lord, "What happened to all those socks?"

I Used to Think.....

Carol got me started thinking......

I used to think...that I should buy margarine because it was cheaper than butter.

I used to think...that I should wait to be "in the mood" before attempting a creative endeavor.

I used to think...obtaining a scriptural insight by my own study was more spiritual than reading it from a commentary.

I used to think...that pets were too much work.

I used to think...that I could get by without an exercise routine

I used to think...that buying books was self indulgent

This was such a fun little exercise! Do take time to read Carol's post and all of the interesting comments that followed. Then make a list of your own!

Sunday, August 05, 2007

The Threefold Strand

I love the Greek word for "ministry" found in the New Testament. It is diakonia~~dia=through and konia= dust. True ministry entails going "through the dust" with another person. I like to picture Jesus and the disciples walking the dusty roads together as they engaged in itinerant ministry in Palestine. "Then He (Jesus) appointed twelve, that they might be with Him..." Mark 3:14-15 (emphasis added) Wouldn't it be wonderful to walk those miles with Jesus? I picture a more leisurely pace than we have today; time to engage in unhurried conversation. Much true discipleship takes place in these informal moments of interaction.

But what does it mean to go through the dust in our own culture?

It means adding strands to the cords of love that bind us together. When we rub shoulders with another person in one context only, such as at a church service, we have a simplex relationship~~a single strand. But each time we eat together, go fishing, share holidays, combine campsites, help each other move furniture, clean ovens together, or dip our paintbrushes in the same bucket we are adding extra strands to the cords of community that knit us together.

I've been blessed these past couple of weeks in many of the ways mentioned above. I like to think I've been walking the dusty roads, but it is hard to tell if I've been on the receiving or the giving end of the deal. I do know that Jesus has been our unseen walking partner. And as we have journeyed together, simplex relationships are developing into multiplex relationships. And a threefold cord is not quickly broken.