Darwin’s Creation Myth

In September I read two books about evolution. One was “Undeniable” by Douglas Axe. I had taken notes and was preparing a review when life turned upside down for me. It is almost like the “Intelligent Design” crowd have gotten tired of showing how impossible macro evolution through mutation and natural selection is. In Axe’s case, and I really enjoyed this, he did the proving and then said we do not really need this evidence to know that evolution just makes no sense. He compared common sense to common science. We just know that the odds of spilling your alphabet soup and it spilling out to spell a Shakespeare sonnet is not going to happen even if you do it a number so high that it loses all sense of meaning.

Well I will go on with that another time. I really enjoyed Tom Wolfe’s inside baseball look at Darwin and Wallace in “The Kingdom of Speech” which was the other book I was reading in September. Wolfe is describing the different cosmogony stories starting with Genesis, the Apache, Michabo the Great Hare of the Algonquin,  Yhleh the Raven of the Tlingit,  the Cherokee’s water beetle, Inktomi the spider of the Assiniboine Indians, the dung beetle of the Egyptians, and Cagn the praying mantis of the Khosian. He then moves to the Navajo where I will give you the quote:

The Navajo Indians’ creator was an insect that seems to have been identical to what is known today as the biting midge (colloquially, the no-see-um bug). Biting midges are so small you can’t see them. But you can’t mistake them when they bite your ankle. For all practical purposes they are invisible. But the Navajo biting-midge creator was smaller than small and invisible than invisible, because it came into this world without its two wings. yet it is the creator in probably the most sophisticated cosmogony ever believed in, a story of full-scale, gradual evolution from next to nothing to modern man. In the beginning, the biting midges lived in the First World, down deep deep deep beneath the earth’s surface. As evolution began, they grew back their missing wings, and one species evolved all the way into a full blown insect, a locust. Locust led the hives up into the Second World, where they began to evolve into animals of every species. Then Locust led the whole burgeoning menagerie up into the Third World, where the most advanced species evolved into men. Then Locust led all the men and all the animals up into the Fourth World, which was right below the crust of the earth. In an Inktomi like show of energy and dedication, the menagerie’s spiders built rope ladders out of their webbing so that everybody could climb up onto the earth’s surface.

A later cosmogony was a dead ringer for the Navajos’, dead and unfortunately duller, except for one thing. The creator in this cosmogony was a creature even smaller, even less visible to the naked eye, than a biting midge, namely, a single, undifferentiated cell–or “four or five” of them. “Undifferentiated” means it could evolve into any living thing, vegetable or animal. This cosmogony was the only one recent enough for people to know the chief storyteller by name: Charles Darwin. “Four or five” is from a scrap of conversation he had with a group of students not long after he told the story publicly. The students had the sort of naïve, unbridled, free-floating curiosity most youths unfortunately rein in far too early in life. They wanted to know some small but fundamental details about the moment Evolution got under way and how exactly, physically, it started up–and from what?

Darwin had apparently never thought of it quite that way before. Long pause…and finally, “ohhh,” he said, “probably from four or five cells floating in a warm pool somewhere.” One student pressed him further. He wanted to know where the cells came from. Who or what put them in the pool? An exasperated Darwin said, in effect, “Well, I don’t know…look, isn’t it enough that I’ve brought you man and all the animals and plants in the world?”

In this respect, Darwinism was typical of the more primitive cosmogonies. They avoided the question of how the world developed ex nihilo. Darwin often thought about it, but it made his head hurt. The world was just…here. All cosmogonies, whether the Apaches’ or Charles Darwin’s, faced the same problem. They were histories or, better said, stories of things that had occurred in a primordial past, long before there existed anyone capable of recording them. The Apaches’ scorpion and Darwin’s cells in that warm pool somewhere were by definition educated guesses. Darwin, a Cambridge man, after all, was highly educated by the standards of his time, but so, no doubt, was the Apache medicine man who came up with the little old man with the long beard in the disk. The difference in Darwin’s case was that he put together his story in an increasingly rational age. It wouldn’t have occurred to him to present his cosmogony as anything other than a scientific hypotheses. In the Navajo cosmogony the agent of change (as distinct from the creator) was alive. It was Locust. In Darwin’s cosmogony it had to be scientifically inanimate. Locust was renamed Evolution.

There were five standard tests for a scientific hypotheses. Had anyone observed the phenomenon–in this case, Evolution–as it occurred and recorded it? Could other scientists replicate it? Could any of them come up with a set of facts that, if true, would contradict the theory (Karl Popper’s “falsifiability” test)? Could scientists make predictions based on it? Did it illuminate hitherto unknown or baffling areas of science? In the case of Evolution…well…no…no…no…no…and no.

In other words there was no scientific way to test it. Like every other cosmogony, it was a serious and sincere story meant to satisfy man’s endless curiosity about where he came from and how he came to be so different from the animals around him. But it was still a story. It was not evidence. In short, it was sincere, but sheer, literature.

It really is a fun read for anyone who realizes that the world’s emperors do not have any clothes on.

 

 

 

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Call to Africa

I am reading “Dan Crawford of Central Africa” published in 1929. Here are a few quotes:

In the first months of 1889, all this was still future; but it explains to some extent what was the atmosphere of missionary interest which Dan entered when he was invited to the home in George Street, there to meet Miss Grace Tilsley, at that time in her twentieth year and the possessor of a personality scarcely less vivid and of a vitality no less active than his own. Almost at once he realized that he had met the one woman for him; but at that time not only was he about to embark on a most hazardous mission, but his friends were shaking their heads over him and pessimistically predicting, that, if not savage kings, then his cough, more prosaic but not less deadly, would kill him off within his first year in Africa. Accordingly he held his peace. It was not until after Africa, in place of slaying him, had kissed him with healing lips, and not until after heroic journeyings had matured his plans for the occupation of the land and not until Luanza was in the course of building, that he broached in a letter the subject that had been burning like a secret fire in his heart during the intervening years. And then she, being George Tilsley’s daughter, dared the unthinkable; she went out, a lone woman, to join he who, five years before, during a few youthful days, had flashed into and out of the missionary-hearted life in George Street, Bath.

I loved the “…Africa, in place of slaying him, had kissed him with healing lips…”. He consistently coughed up blood before Africa.

It was not until 18 months later, on the 11th November, 1890, that meeting in Excter Hall in March, 1889, had farewelled a party of fourteen. Of them all only three reached the Interior.

There were already American Missionaries along the coast.

The first white ladies that Dan Crawford greeted in Africa were a widow in the first days of her loneliness and a mother mourning the loss of her first-born babe. Nor were they themselves without their troubles. No sooner had they landed than three of the party promptly succumbed to attacks of malaria. Mrs. Arnot and Mr. Munnock wre about again within a few day, but Crawford was obliged to keep his bed for ten days, and for quite a long time after remained very tottery.

The sickest I have ever been was the first time I caught malaria. I felt it coming on during the morning service on Sunday and barely made it through the evening service. That was followed by 3 days of losing every ounce of moisture in my body. A nurse from the church took me to the market, I bought 3 pills, and began to get better the next day. After that our entire family was familiar with the beginning pains of malaria and at first got a blood test to see if the parasite was there and eventually just skipped it since the parasite seemed to always be there.

Was it a presage of worse to follow that round the camp fire one evening Mr. Morris having affirmed (by interpretation) that in Christ Jesus we have eternal life, and one burly porter having, in the free-speech manner of their own courts, objected that this could not be true (“Did not all die?”). Mr. Morris pinched up the flesh of his arm and explained that the body was but the “hut” of himself, his soul; it certainly would die, and decay, but the soul would live on in Christ its Redeemer. Such the sermon; alas that within a few days he himself became the illustration.

Could this book be entitled “Mr. Morris of Central Africa” if malaria had taken Dan Crawford? Sometimes the “why’s” of life are too much to understand. Yes, “all things to work together for good…”. Only heaven can make any sense of it all despite our little glimpses of understanding along the way.

And so on 1th July, 1889, with just those six men, Dan Crawford made his start for the Interior. He took with him some of Mrs. Arnot’s goods, so that he actually left the coast with only one bundle of personal necessities, which included his bedding, one spare coat, an ulster, two or three pieces of underclothing, a pair of slippers, a cake of soap, a cheap rifle, and as much tea as one could hold in two hands. How many others, one asks oneself, ever deliberately turned their backs on ample stores to trudge away with so little on a thousand mile trek through the midst of warring barbarians? Not even a second pair of boots did he have. What he did have, however, was a heavenly Father. He tramped along bubbling over with joy. He sang aloud as he climbed the range out of Catumbella. Two hours of curving rad amongst foothills on that day of the start brought them by five o’clock in the afternoon to emerge on to a plateau. Dan stood for a few minutes gazing back on the rolling Atlantic. Would he ever see it again, he, the blood-spitter? He turned away; goodbye–goodbye! Veering N.N.E., he sang his way into the unknown future, certain of this one thing: that his God was calling him, calling him, as he wrote at that time, “for an especial purpose.”

Should we ever and always seek to adventure out with God!

 

 

 

 

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Flags of our Grandfather’s

Strategy Page has been posting photos from the battle of the Bulge. My grandfather had fought in that battle. I have inherited a box of things from my father and my grandfather. Here are some flags that were in the box. The US flag can’t be from the battle because of its 50 stars but I wonder about the other 3.

Flags.jpg

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Sermon: Why Practice?

Why Practice?

I came to work one day to find one of my fellow workers reading his bible. This naturally led to a conversation about God, church and the Word. He asked for some verses; I suggested just keep reading and let God speak to you specifically about some verses.

That phase passed and the other day he was reading “The Invisible Man”. I asked what happened to his bible reading and he explained how it seemed that when he tried to get closer to God all these things started happening in his life and he would back off, as he has done this time. I began to encourage him to go to church faithfully and fight through those moments. He is a football coach so I compared going to church like football practice. Without practice you won’t be able to handle the tough moments in the actual game.

The day progressed and this idea stuck in my head and I realized it would be my Sunday morning sermon. It was a strange day at school as we had to escort too many students from their classrooms to the detention hall. You usually do a little counseling along the way with the student. At one point I am watching his desk as he comes back with a student he is gently encouraging. The comment I overheard from the student was: “I just want to do nothing”. Depressed.

By the end of the day Deandre asks me how it is he can try and help someone else who is depressed but when his turn comes he can’t help himself. I now again explained the importance of church comparing it to the importance of practice. I let him know I was going to preach it Sunday morning. He asked me if I could record it. He told me he would let me know how church went for him Sunday.

1 Cor 9:24-10:1 Do you not know that those who run in a race all run, but one receives the prize? Run in such a way that you may obtain it.  25 And everyone who competes for the prize is temperate in all things. Now they do it to obtain a perishable crown, but we for an imperishable crown.  26 Therefore I run thus: not with uncertainty. Thus I fight: not as one who beats the air. 27 But I discipline my body and bring it into subjection, lest, when I have preached to others, I myself should become disqualified.

I. Practice, Practice, Practice

Life is a race, run it to win. Salvation is a race, run it to win. Marriage is a race, run it to win. Work is a race, run it to win.

How can I win? Practice.

Epicetus wrote this about the games: “Do you wish to gain the prize at the Olympic games?-Consider the requisite preparations and the consequences: you must observe a strict regimen; must live on food which you dislike; you must abstain from all delicacies; must exercise yourself at the necessary and prescribed times both in heat and in cold; you must drink nothing cooling; take no wine as formerly; in a word, you must put yourself under the directions of a pugilist, as you would under those of a physician, and afterward enter the lists. Here you may get your arm broken, your foot put out of joint, be obliged to swallow mouthfuls of dust, to receive many stripes, and after all be conquered.”

The church service is the practice field for the church.

Heb 10:23-25 Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful. 24 And let us consider one another in order to stir up love and good works, 25 not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as is the manner of some, but exhorting one another, and so much the more as you see the Day approaching.

Acts 2:42 And they continued steadfastly in the apostles’ doctrine and fellowship, in the breaking of bread, and in prayers.

This has been the pattern of the church since the day of Pentecost which this verse refers to. God gave the law and 3000 died. God started the church and 3000 were saved.

The best advice you can give any Christian is “go to church”. Should we be surprised then that Satan does all he can to keep us from church as well as do his most to diminish the church and narrow its access into society.

II. The Crown

There is opposition to your receiving the crown. John 8:44 You are of your father the devil, and the desires of your father you want to do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaks a lie, he speaks from his own resources, for he is a liar and the father of it.

He is a liar with his counterfeit church always available with bright lights shining.

 2 Cor 11:14-15 And no wonder! For Satan himself transforms himself into an angel of light. 15 Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers also transform themselves into ministers of righteousness, whose end will be according to their works.

Be careful when the message is sin is OK. It is not: the wages of sin is death. The wages of Christian sin is death.

Practice by: learning to run the race to receive the crown.

Jesus said: John 10:1 “Most assuredly, I say to you, he who does not enter the sheepfold by the door, but climbs up some other way, the same is a thief and a robber.

John 10:9-10 I am the door. If anyone enters by Me, he will be saved, and will go in and out and find pasture. 10 The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.

Practice by: being temperate in all things.

Gal 5:19-26 Now the works of the flesh are evident, which are: adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lewdness, 20 idolatry, sorcery, hatred, contentions, jealousies, outbursts of wrath, selfish ambitions, dissensions, heresies, 21 envy, murders, drunkenness, revelries, and the like; of which I tell you beforehand, just as I also told you in time past, that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God. 22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law. 24 And those who are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. 25 If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit.

Practice by: disciplining my body.

Rom 8:13-14 For if you live according to the flesh you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live. 14 For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God.

1 Peter 2:11 Beloved, I beg you as sojourners and pilgrims, abstain from fleshly lusts which war against the soul,

Why? To receive a crown that lasts for eternity in Christ.

III. The Warning

Heb 2:1-3 Therefore we must give the more earnest heed to the things we have heard, lest we drift away. 2 For if the word spoken through angels proved steadfast, and every transgression and disobedience received a just reward, 3 how shall we escape if we neglect so great a salvation,

Be careful when you hear people tell you it doesn’t matter what you do as a Christian. Paul, seems concerned.

1 Cor 9:27 But I discipline my body and bring it into subjection, lest, when I have preached to others, I myself should become disqualified.

The Living Bible: 1 Cor 9:27 Like an athlete I punish my body, treating it roughly, training it to do what it should, not what it wants to. Otherwise I fear that after enlisting others for the race, I myself might be declared unfit and ordered to stand aside.

So you skip practice, you don’t do what you need to do to be a contributing part of the team and the big moment comes, and you are not ready.

1 Peter 3:15 But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts, and always be ready to give a defense to everyone who asks you a reason for the hope that is in you, with meekness and fear;

Conclusion

Mark Brunell and Billy Joe Hobert

Mark Brunell: takes the Huskies to the Rose Bowl and victory as a Sophomore. Injured, sat out with limited time playing as Junior. Back up as senior, only because of suspension of Billy Joe Hobert, he leads the team to victory in his last Rose Bowl. He is drafted in 5th round without much of a pro future. He gets picked up by Jacksonville expansion team and leads them into playoffs 3 of their first 4 years. He even got a super bowl ring as backup quarterback and place holder for the Saints in 2009.

Billy Joe Hobert: Gets his chance to take team to National Championship with Brunell’s injury. He would lead the team the next year until he was suspended for getting undisclosed loans from Huskie boosters. He would be drafted into the NFL in the 3rd round way ahead of his teammate Brunell. He failed to shine and when called upon to go into a game for Buffalo he admitted he had not taken the time to learn the plays. That was the end of his pro career.

Mark Brunell the college Christian speaker, even testifying at Seattle’s Billy Graham Crusade goes on to overcome diversity and rejection to have a career in football.

Billy Joe Hobert with all of his talent, destroys the Washington Huskie football program and fails to produce in the pros with drinking and divorce being his mode of operation.

The end of the story: Mark Brunell chases money and gets slaughtered in the 2008 meltdown and has to declare bankruptcy; Billy Joe Hobert finds Christ and living a stable married life.

 

 

 

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Merry Christmas

Last Spring we were visiting Laura Michelle in San Diego. At church one of the young men greeted me with a “Merry Christmas”. I responded and enjoyed the experience. I asked the girls he was with what that was all about. They let me know that he greets everyone that way all through the year so that he can do it during Christmas without being expelled from school.

One of the early clues that something different was happening with President Elect Trump was an column by Mark Steyn. He described his son’s reaction to a Trump rally early on in the primaries. It wasn’t like a normal political speech. In the middle of the speech he paused and said: “Why can’t we say Merry Christmas?” He was on to something.

I see now that Bernie Sanders is telling us that Trump won because of America has had enough of this political correctness. He is right!

Saying Merry Christmas will just feel better this year! Thanks Mr. Trump.

 

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Tebow’s John 3:16 Stats

I thoroughly enjoyed this. Tim Tebow is recapping the stats around his team’s victory over Pittsburg so many years ago in the playoffs. Worth the view here!

It starts with his wearing Jn 3:16 under his eyes in the collegiate national championship game which he won. Three years later they are playing the Steelers.

He throws for 316 yards. Average catch 31.6. Average run 3.16. Time of possession 31.6 minutes. Viewers 31.6 million.

What he seems most impressed with is the 95 million google hits on Jn 3:16 that day.

And well he should be. God is big, don’t even try to understand how big.

 

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A Moment in Time

My last post was on Oct. 1, 2016. The next day we would start revival with Larry O’Halloran. I would take him to the airport on Oct. 6 and continue out to Nevada to see my mom who was dealing with stage 4 lung cancer. The time was coming for her to sell her house and she wanted me to make sure I got my father’s dress swords. I drove my truck out there with the intention of taking some garage things home with me along with the swords.

I got there Friday night and had a good night with my sister Laurie and Mom. The plan was for Mom to sell the house and go live with my two sisters in Lodi CA. That Saturday’s chores got put on hold as she received an offer on the house. There was some bargaining during the day with the final offer being agreed upon and the final paperwork to be signed Monday. We went to Mass that Saturday night followed by McDonalds with the ladies and priest Father Jesus.

Mom would come to church with me in Reno the next morning. I have always enjoyed preaching to my Mom. She wears the smile of a proud mother. She has relationships in the Reno church and they treat her very well. Pastor Louis Oliver has been allowing me to preach in his church for the last 25 years as I would visit my parents and now visit Brooke who married Billy in the Reno church. Barb, the pastor’s wife, would have a gift to give my Mom as we headed home.

We stopped at one of her favorite restaurants on the way home. We would discuss the protestant altar call. She understood going forward to receive Christ; but what were all of those people doing at the altar? We had both responded to a TV presentation we watched together when I was about 21. Since my salvation she has prayed with me several times. I was able to compare the altar call with the Catholic communion service. Both have a moment of recognizing and confessing sin, a Sin Offering, the protestant then surrenders his will to Christ and the Catholic receives the graces of Communion, the Burnt Offering and finally both return to their seats at peace with God, with family and the world; the Peace Offering.

She had a comfortable afternoon eating, sleeping and watching TV with me. We watched “St. Vincent” with Bill Murray together with her running commentary. I made her a nice salad with lamb riblets. I found her putting more and more weight upon me during the course of the day as she would do the little movement required. I realized I would have to extend my stay until my sisters could make it back in two weekends. She needed my help.

I put her to bed about 11:00 that night. There was medicine that still needed to be taken and about 12:00 we started that process. One thing would lead to another until I found myself calling 911 and administering CPR. My mom passed away.

Not sure what to say next. I have stayed very busy with school and church but sometimes I feel like a walking Zombie; with that zest for life that I have prided myself in, despite my 61 years, harder to find or drum up. I have had a good prayer life during this time “casting my cares upon Him” and want to start looking forward to the future again.

 

 

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