Thursday, February 27, 2014

A Muncie Boyhood-10 of My Favorite Memories from Muncie, Indiana

10 of My Favorite Memories from Muncie, Indiana

  1. Sitting on the front porch in July at 2am, while sipping a Coke from Cantrell’s Barber Shop, and watching the cars go by.
  2. Walking to Heekin Park with my dad on a warm summer day.
  3. Running through the middle of the clothing racks at the downtown Ball Stores or Sears Department stores.
  4. Playing army with all the neighborhood kids…across every yard in the area…hiding behind or in or on any tree, garage, or house that seemed to provide good cover.
  5. Going on my first date to see the fireworks on the 4th of July at Prairie Creek Reservoir.  (1978)
  6. Seeing Halloween…at the Rivoli Theater…at night…alone.  Then, checking the backseat of my car before getting in for the ride home.
  7. Going fishing in Stoney Creek with my dad, and catching bluegill and catfish with a cane pole.
  8. The New Year’s Eve Sing at the Fairlawn Church of Christ, followed by all-night bowling at the Village Bowl, followed by breakfast at the Big Wheel Restaurant.
  9. Sledding down the big hill on the west side of the reservoir.  (I went back recently, and that hill looks tiny now.  What happened?  Also, where did it come from?  It seems so random.  I sure hope it wasn’t a Native American mound that we’ve destroyed over the years.)
  10. Sharing all of my inner thoughts and feelings…all of my fears and hurts…with my therapist….my little white dog with the brown ears named Sugar.  I had her from the time I was one until I was seventeen years old.
  11., I had to add one more...seeing the woman who would become my wife for the first time.  It was at church...she was a BSU student...I was home from college for the weekend.  Man!  The long, curly brown hair and the exotic eyes!  Whew!

Obviously, this list isn’t exhaustive, and I’ll probably think of a dozen more that I cherish in the next hour, but I’ve enjoyed remembering these as they came to mind.

What about you?  What are some of your favorite memories from your childhood in your hometown…especially if you’re from Muncie?

Saturday, February 8, 2014

Science & Creation-Outside the Box

I suppose we should all realize that this particular discussion is moot since regardless of what we may believe, we are here.  The world exists…unless you are a Philosophy major, and then you may ask the question of whether reality is really real.  But, I’m sticking with a real reality…we are here…and how we all got here really doesn’t matter all that much.

That confusion-inducing statement having been said, this subject interests me, and it is something that I’ve been thinking about for a long time.  Further, this is also one of those subjects where my thinking is outside of the mainstream. 
In fact, it is outside the mainstream of both sides of this issue.

Now, I’m not a scientist.  I’m just a regular guy who pays attention…likes Star Trek…is a little nerdy…is intrigued by science...and is a believer in God.  In some ways, my opinion isn’t worth two plug nickels, but I do write a blog and some people read it, so here are my random thoughts on the issues from the now famous Bill Nye/Ken Ham debate on whether Creationism is a viable explanation of how the Universe came into being.

First, let me say that I wasn’t going to watch it.  I just get tired of these arguments that solve nothing.  But, after I decided to share my views on the subject, I decided I should take a gander at it.  So, I spent a couple of hours watching it on YouTube the other night.  Actually, it was interesting.  I found some compelling things being shared on both sides, and I was pleased that overall it was a friendly exchange.

I agreed with some things from both, and I disagreed with some things from both.

Here are some of my random thoughts on the topic…not necessarily tied to the debate:

  • The Bible says that “God created…,” but it never elaborates on the method used.  As a child, I envisioned that things just POPPED into existence.  But, couldn’t God have used a method…a process…a portion of which we now call Evolution?
  • There are things we use in the world today (think technology) that only a couple of hundred years ago would have been considered supernatural.  The supernatural becomes the natural once we understand the process and the science behind it.
  • The Bible is not a Science textbook.  It was not provided by God as a way to fully explain science.  That is just not its purpose…rather Christ was the purpose.  Everything was pointing toward Him.  If you wrote a cookbook and then found out some school system was using it to teach math, wouldn’t you question that school board’s thinking?  A cookbook has some math in it, but that isn't its purpose.
  • In the debate, the biggest sticking point between Nye and Ham was the age of the Earth.  Nye believed it to be billions of years old while Ham holds to only about 6000 years.  However, the Bible NEVER directly says how old the earth is.  It does not ever…EVER…pinpoint a start date.  The method used by Ham and others to develop the timeline is by counting backward from Christ using the biblical genealogies.  If you start at Christ (2000 years ago) and then follow the genealogies based on how long each generation lived, you come up with about 6000 years.  I don’t believe that this is a viable way to date the Earth to the beginning point.  However, my main point here is that this is a MAN-MADE construct of how to date the Earth.  The Bible never says that this is the way to do it.  Mankind has come up with it on its own.
  • Ham holds to a literal “Six-Days” of creation…meaning six 24-hour periods.  God created and things POPPED into existence, and He did it all in six literal days.  I no longer hold to that view, although I used to.  Rather, I believe that God employed an allegorical language that ancient people could grasp.  Why is it so hard to believe that God could use an allegory?  Do we think He is so limited in His literary skills that He couldn’t come up with something like that?  Frankly, I’ve come to the conclusion that the six days represent immensely long eons of time…periods in the history of the Earth where God brought about great changes using the processes that science is discovering through its ongoing research.  This in no way threatens my belief in the inspiration of the Bible.  Frankly, when facts are uncovered that challenge my interpretation of the Bible, I don’t start questioning the Bible…I start questioning my understanding of it.

Now, here’s where I’m going to throw out my own half-baked theory.  It’s half-baked because it isn’t fully developed.  And, it is a theory...not a doctrine that I've constructed.  I’ve been thinking about this for a long time, but I’ve not fully worked it all out.  And, I’m not going to assume that I’m the first to think about this either, but I’ve never heard anyone express the following concept before.  Here goes…

I am coming to the belief that the creation of man in Genesis 1 and the creation of Adam and his placement in the Garden of Eden in Genesis 2 are two separate events.

I believe that humans were created by God (through whatever process He chose to use) sometime in the ancient past, but the creation of Adam and Eve was something special…a special creation of a man and a woman that happened much, much later.  I’ve not come to a conclusion as to what was special about them…other than maybe it was God’s first step toward creating a people to whom he could have a relationship with…a people who were self-aware, creative, and/or carried within them a soul.  I’m still working on that.  But, if this is true, then it explains a couple of other things:

  1. It allows for a much, much older Earth consistent with the evidence being uncovered by modern research.
  2. It even allows for the possibility of a literal six 24-hour days of creation…just much longer ago…although I still think that it is an allegory.
  3. It explains where the people came from that Cain was so afraid of when God banished him…and where he found his wife.

In this theory, Adam is still the first man, but he is first in a different way than the way the box that we’ve all been raised in explained it.  He wasn’t the first human, he was first in some other way that has then filtered down through all of mankind.

So, just let me leave that hanging out there….

You can tear it down…help me develop it…think I’m nuts…whatever.

I’ll leave you with some parting thoughts:

  1. Scientific discoveries point to an Earth that is much older than 6000 years.  There are even some Biblical anomalies that remain uneasily explained in the young-earth view.  If we adamantly deny the evidence without giving deeper thought…even thought outside our religious boxes…, then we do begin to appear ridiculous to the rest of the world.
  2. Scientific discoveries are not contradictory to the existence of God…at least nothing that I have seen says there is no God.  Bill Nye even acknowledges that science cannot disprove God.
  3. Science does not displace God, it simply reveals His processes.  For example, if evolution is true, then it was simply the process created by God to bring things about…science has simply revealed something about how God made the Earth.
  4. Finally, the Big Bang Theory…more than anything else…points to God.  Science theorizes that the Universe POPPED into existence sometime billions of years ago.  However, it cannot explain HOW that happened or WHERE that matter came from.  Scientists cannot really explain it, but we can understand that it came from God.  While we can be questioned on where God came from… and we have no answer beyond that He just always existed…, science can be questioned on where the matter in the Big Bang came from…and there just is not a satisfactory answer to that…other than God.

My conviction is that we Christians should stop fussing about evolution…stop arguing about the age of the Earth…and just start glorifying God with each new discovery our atheist friends in the science world uncover about the processes that God used when He brought the Universe into being.  Because, in their own way, those folks will find that God really was behind it all after all.  He is at the end of the string they are tugging on.

PS:  I in no way mean to say that there aren't any believing scientists.  There are.  And they make many, many discoveries of God's processes every day.