Wednesday, February 23, 2011

And the Psychosis Grows Deeper With Each Passing Day

Glenn Beck seems to be tottering on the edge of oblivion with this latest rant about the Middle East. It's truly hard to keep up with all of the "players" in his conspiratorial nightmare or wet dream. This may explain why he's now losing a third of his viewership from this time last year. And thankfully some conservatives are finally speaking out against his wild rantings. That's not to say they still don't have their own issues. They certainly do. But gladly bizarre conspiracy theories isn't one of them. Honestly, watching Glenn's latest full on vent has me wondering if he's one step away from a window ledge. I have enjoyed poking fun at his bizarreness but he really does seem to be on the edge of a total mental breakdown. What was fun to watch is becoming instead scary.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Teaching Kids About Science in Church

There's a good post today at the Internet Monk about how best to teach preteen kids in church about faith/science issues. Unfortunately (or maybe not!) the gentleman in question has only a half hour to introduce the subject to his class this coming week.

Here's the conundrum Ben is in:

Dear Chaplain Mike,
On Friday, I’ve got 30 minutes to talk to a group of 11-13 year-olds about ‘creation and evolution’.
They haven’t studied anything about either at school, and in the context of the church they go to, there isn’t a great deal of pressure for me to push things either way.
I’m a bit stumped about where to even start: creation/evolution, religion/science, Genesis/Gilgamesh?!
I may just be able to ask them questions and improvise from there, but I’d quite like a backup plan…
I’d be interested to know what advice Internet Monk readers might have.
Ben S

Here's what I recommended in the thread below:

Ditto on what Paul says above. I would also use a simple illustration of how a word or a phrase can have different meanings depending the context within which it is used as a way of showing that some of the biblical terms in early Genesis don’t necessarily have to be seen as meaning “one” thing. Though this is short notice, I would highly recommend the book by Sigmund Brouwer called “Who Made the Moon?” It’s subtitled “A Father Explores How Faith and Science Agree” and it is fantastic for parents of younger and even preteen kids inquiring about faith/science issues. It’s also accurate without being overly technical, since it is meant to be accessible to both a non-scientist parent and the child.
Also a very important point when teaching and dialoguing with the kids. Listen to them! Respect their questions. And please don’t answer if you don’t know. They have a finely tuned BS detector that, I promise, will go off if you try to answer without knowing what you’re talking about. If they stump ya, admit it and tell them, if it’s at all possible, that you’ll look into their question more and get back to them on it. They’ll respect that honesty more than any false bravado. It might also be a good thing to point out a handful of devout Christians who have also been world renowned scientists, whether in biology, astronomy, chemistry, genetics, etc., so that they know that real people can and do live in both worlds without having to give up either. I pray it goes well for him!
What would you do in this situation? With such a short time to introduce something so big to a crowd as scary as 11-13 year olds who have no background about science, what would you want their "first impression" of science to be as it relates to the Christian faith? Again, check out the Internet Monk thread as more people respond. It should be fun and interesting.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Saturday, February 12, 2011

What Parable, Myth, Fable, Best Describes Your Life?

Is it the parable of the Prodigal Son, the myth of Sisyphus, the Ugly Duckling? What story resonates as being close to your own story? What tale tells your tale?

Monday, February 7, 2011

Do You Believe The Bible To Be 100% Factual/Truth?

I wrote this just a bit earlier in response to a friend's Facebook question:

Do You Believe The Bible To Be 100% Factual/Truth?

I used to be very strongly in the "inerrantist" camp regarding the absolute accuracy of scripture. That isn't to say I read the text in a wooden literalistic way. Even back then I understood that scripture was made up of many different genres of writing. In fact I even decided against going to a seminary several years ago because they didn't hold to inerrancy, and eventually came out to Gordon Conwell partly just for that reason, since they do officially hold to inerrancy. But ironically enough since I've been out here, I've moved steadily aways from the notion of inerrancy for several reasons.

First off, it's one of those doctrines that dies the death of a thousand qualifications. The reason there are so many qualifications is precisely because without them inerrancy would be obviously wrong.

And secondly, whenever there are textual variants among the manuscripts, which there are many, both OT and NT, it's argued that the doctrine of inerrancy is concerning the "autographs" and not any of the manuscripts we now have. But of course there are no autographs around to test this out by. It's therefore unfalsifiable.

And lastly, my interest in science and biology, cosmology, genetics, etc., has forced me to come to terms with trying to reconcile my faith with the modern scientific consensus concerning origins. Now I've never been a "young earth" type to begin with, and grew up on Carl Sagan's Cosmos, so I've never really struggled with accepting modern science. But for a long time I didn't really take the time to see how these two "books" (scripture and nature) of God's revelation related to each other.

So I don't think it's necessary to read scripture like it's a modern science textbook. That's a modernist and frankly fundamentalist way of looking at the text that does it a great injustice. Even within scripture we see different authors reinterpreting previously inspired texts in surprisingly "spiritual" and "metaphorical" ways. And in the early church some of the treatments were really out there at times, and it was considered OK because scripture was seen to be alive, fluid and flexible, precisely because is was "God-breathed."

Anyway thanks man for posting the question. It helps me to process my own thinking right now on where I'm at and where I'm "evolving" in my Christian understanding.