Thursday, March 13, 2008

Ben Stein goes back to class

I'm looking forward to seeing this film. Not because I'm a fire-breathing proponent of any scientific theory, able to quote examples in detail and argue in-depth on the subject of the origins of humankind. Science is not my first subject, and I haven't formally studied anything evolution-related since junior high school. But I did study, and did OK. And I've watched a lot of PBS since then, and listened to discussions here and there on Christian radio. Most importantly, I learned how to think, and I'm aware of the importance of integrating my faith into my "real life"--and ongoing process.

In addition to a passing interest in science, I have a fascination with human nature, and how truth is communicated and propagated in a fallen world, or in some cases denied and squelched. Every believer has a responsibility to "be prepared to give an answer" when possible, and science is some people's way of pursuing God, though they may not be aware of it at the time. So it's important to keep the way as clear of obstructions as possible, for my own sake as much as anyone's.

What I'm interested in seeing in this film is its intended portrayal of how the human nature of scientists and educators has led them to resist opposition to alternate lines of scientific inquiry, thereby contradicting the principles of freedom of thought they would verbally support and inflicting the same persecution they've taken centuries to overcome. This contradiction is not unrelated to the trend of lawsuits against religious expression in the public square (such as on school grounds) in the name of civil liberty and "tolerance" (as opposed to, gee, I don't know, letting everyone say what they think and dealing with it).

I've thought for some time that evolution as an explanation for our origins has taken on mythical properties, where new evidence is interpreted to fit the theory rather than the theory adapted to fit the evidence. Which would make scientific community the priesthood of the religion of rationalism in which we ostensibly put our trust. But really, among the masses even that religion is merging with the mysticism of New Age thought and superstition, to form a pseudo-scientific viewpoint evidenced, in my mind, by sales of "The Secret" as well as the popularity of "The DaVinci Code" and that ghost-hunting show on TV.

Warning: Fairly obvious "Ferris Buehler" reference ahead

I gather the film takes a sort of Michael Moore approach, using satire and humor but with more class and less deception. I'm sure Ben Stein would not tolerate (oops, that word again) anything less than an aboveboard treatment of its subject. Though apparently he was game for anything on the advertising, given the short pants. Maybe someone could offer some fashion advice for the premiere...? Anyone? Anyone?

Monday, March 10, 2008

Tour guide to the tour guides

Click this pic to see more

This weekend I had the pleasure of playing tour guide at the Opry for some friends from South Africa. Mike M. & Mike J. of African Encounter put together visits for individuals and mission groups, including drives through the game parks. They, along with Mike M.'s wife Meg, are in the U.S. visiting with various groups that have used or plan to use their services, and were part of the Living Hope Partners Conference hosted by my church last week.

Several of us American ministry partners who had been to Africa were eager to get our friends to the Opry, especially since a couple of them were on their first visit to the U.S. Fortunately one of the Living Hope partners was already on it; she's a former Opry staff member who attended the conference and plans to go back to Africa. I was the only one available to go to the show, and was thrilled at the chance to show our guests around. Almost redeemed all those times I had to clean up after audiences between shows (wearing a vest and tie) during my few years as an Opry usher. Almost.

Our "tourist" friends enjoyed the visit, even though they'd never heard of the stars they were meeting, including Jimmy C. Newman and Mel Tillis. (In all fairness, the same would be true for most people, regardless of national origin). The only song we heard that was familiar to them (other than snippets of hymns in a Bill Anderson song) was "The Devil Went Down To Georgia" by the Charlie Daniels Band. Simply put, the CDB tore the place apart. Definitely the highlight of the evening for all of us.

I especially enjoyed the "turnabout" aspect of the evening. In Africa, these guys take people to gawk at wild animals in their natural habitat, and I showed them country musicians backstage. The similarities are almost too obvious to mention.

I wasn't in full photog mode, but took a few shots. See the pics and read the captions for the rest of the story here.

Thursday, March 06, 2008

Like Waffles and Spaghetti

This is a pretty good article from a book on the differences between men and women. No, not THOSE touches on personality, communication style, perception and even brain functions. Probably not news to some, but worth a review anyway, especially to anyone in a relationship or hoping to eventually be in a relationship or trying to figure out what happened to the relationship they used to be in. And it's entertaining.

Caution: once you've read this, don't get the idea you actually understand the opposite sex. I take it as more of a reminder to be patient with each other when things other people do don't make sense. It's easier than going through life thinking half the population is nuts (as tempting as it may be to draw that conclusion).

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

Benefit for tornado victims March 9

Here's another event for a worthy cause. Fellowship Bible Church is just around the corner from the "campus" of my own church.

You'll be glad you said "si" to this invitation.

Must have been tough to wrap these toys

Obligatory occasional shot of cute kids who are related to me. This is Kennedy and Tristan, my niece's kids, on a visit to the airport. Not sure what the story is (not that it matters much). It might have been part of Tristan's birthday celebration. I just wanted to offer proof of how good looks run in the family.

Monday, March 03, 2008

An unfortunate series of headlines

From today's online Tennessean.

Glad I'm not Foster of Vanderbilt today.

Not to mention, the tenses in the top one don't seem right; they seem to imply the officer is claiming the husband has a very bad habit. Fortunately no one expects a newspaper to be concerned with proper grammar. Right?