Friday, March 28, 2008

Question Authority

I love to learn. I have an almost insatiable appetite for knowledge and information. I rarely go anywhere without a book in tow. As I child, much to my athletic sister's chagrin, I loved school and always did my homework. You know the type.

(I can't help but wonder if she got her master's degree before I did just to spite me!).

Our country was built on the freedom of speech. You have the freedom to say what you think, even if people disagree with you. Our current presidential race only underscores this basic tenet of life in America. This right to speak freely, to ask questions, to dissent, to follow the evidence where it leads and to think outside of the box leads to incredible discoveries and opportunities.

Tragically, the institution founded upon free inquiry ain't so free thinking anymore. I'm talking about the American university system.

Last night, had the priviledge of attending a public gathering at Biola university to hear Ben Stein (Bueller...Bueller) talk about his upcoming documentary film, "Expelled." Stein was joined on the stage along with two of the scientists featured in the film, Dr. Caroline Crocker and Dr. Guillermo Gonzalez. Both of these noted experts were kicked out of school for daring to think outside the box and question the prevailing orthodoxy of Darwinism.

I was stunned as Dr. Crocker described what happened to her in the aftermath of her expulsion from George Mason University. A lawyer from a major D.C. law firm offered to represent her, only to later be fired from the firm shortly after the firm received a lucrative contract from George Mason. Unbelievable.

I, for one, can't wait to see this film. I hope it will underscore the importance of academic freedom and the right to ask questions, the right to think, to dissent, to follow the evidence wherever it leads.

Friday, March 21, 2008

Drama and Redemption

You say you see no hope,
you say you see no reason we should dream
that the world would ever change
You're saying love is foolish to believe
'Cause there'll always be some crazy with an Army or a Knife
To wake you from your day dream, put the fear back in your life...

Look, if someone wrote a play just to glorify
What's stronger than hate, would they not arrange the stage
To look as if the hero came too late, he's almost in defeat
It's looking like the Evil side will win,
so on the Edge of every seat,
from the moment that the whole thing begins

It is...Love who makes the mortar
And it's love who stacked these stones
And it's love who made the stage here
Although it looks like we're alone
In this scene set in shadows
Like the night is here to stay
There is evil cast around us
But it's love that wrote the play...

(David Wilcox, "Show the Way")

Good Friday...what a strange name for the day we remember Christ's death. Yet it's a good descriptor for the irony that something extravagant and unbelievable happens in the midst of something so bleak and tragic. How a playwright could stage a scene with such ugly elements that ultimately leads to something glorious is beyond my comprehension, yet that is what Good Friday is all about. The Playwright wrote a powerful story where the hero comes though, but only after the evil side demonstrates all of its strength, a strength that seems unconquerable for awhile, only to be seen as pitiful and weak just a few days later.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Relationship challenge #2: The First Camping Trip

The redhead and I headed out of town for our first weekend camping trip. This former boy scout was pleasantly surprised at the wife's willingness to brave the outdoors for 48 hours, given that her idea of "roughing it" involves campgrounds such as the Hilton or the Marriott. Of course, this was camping in Southern California, meaning that the only dangerous animals spotted were the two jaguars that cruised into the campground on four wheels and the afternoon of hiking was scrapped for a drive to a nearby vineyard for some wine tasting. In similar fashion, the Saturday night of card playing around the campfire turned into an outing to Starbucks, convieniently located just five minutes away from the wilderness.

At any rate, the weekend was a blast and the menacing rain clouds hanging overhead didn't amount to much. Though my bride claims to be quite delicate and not the camping type, she scored major points in my book with the creative way she faced many of the challenges of camping. She never ceases to amaze me.

(For those of you interested in reading about relationship challenge #1, you'll find that located here.)

Monday, March 10, 2008

Come out, come out, wherever you are!

My wife and I have a friend who makes a living as a professional photographer. Though most of her work comes from photographing weddings, her favorites subjects are children. When I asked her why she loves photographing kids, she told me it was because children aren’t self-conscious and as a result, they aren’t afraid to be themselves.

She’s right. Little kids make great subjects for photography. Though they're great at playing hide and seek with their bodies, squeezing into a closet or under a bed, they haven’t yet learned how to hide their souls. As a result, kids are incredibly photogenic. The soul of a child captured on film is a work of art.

Tragically, hiding the soul is a game that adults play.

We wear a mask, hoping it will shield us from guilt, shame, or rejection. Hoping it will save us and bring us the love we desperately desire. Years later, we forget all about the mask. As a result, we end up losing ourselves. We forget who we are. The light of our true self is dimmed, sentenced to a half-life roaming in the shadows.

No wonder Jesus said we have to lose our life to find it. We have to lose the identity constructed out of self-control and self-protection in order to discover the true self fashioned by our Creator.

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

The Block Dog

The wife is out of town for the week. She’s back in Texas attending baby showers for her very pregnant sister and spending time with her cancer stricken father. It’s a strange time for her, a mixture of joy and sorrow.

For the first time, I’m experiencing what its like to be the one back at home when the spouse leaves. She’s had to endure this several times but this is the first time the tables have been turned and it’s really strange. The condo feels so empty. I spent the first forty years of my life on my own and after only eight months of marriage, living alone again feels unnatural.

Granted, there are a few advantages, I don’t feel the need to shave every day, I don’t have to share the remote, and I get to leave the toilet seat up, but that’s about it.

Recently, I’ve been listening to an old David Wilcox CD on my ipod. A good friend re-introduced me to this little known artist that I had forgotten. I ran across a song he wrote that well expresses the changes brought about by my upgraded marital status.

Block Dog:

I had a long talk with the block dog
All summer he runs with the kids
He's happy as a block dog
Every day the choice is his

'Cause they all feed him when he's hungry
They all keep him from the cold
But he don't wear their collar
He makes the neighborhood his home

There'll be a fireplace in the winter
There's lots of houses down this street
Summertime he'll catch your frisbee
Beg the best of your dinner meat

I had a long talk with the block dog
All summer he runs with the kids
He's happy as a block dog
Every day the choice is his.

I said Rusty, I'm gettin' married
I used to like your kind of life
But life's different now, it's like a garden
I'd like to tend it with my wife

Dig in one spot make a straight row
You're only diggin' to hide the bone
But when I lived so free alone
I had an empty harvest

I had a long talk with the block dog
All summer he runs with the kids
He's happy as a block dog
Every day the choice is his

Rusty looked up, sad at me and said
Dave, I understand
'Cause we're different now, I'm still a dog
And you're acting like a man."

I had a long talk with the block dog
All summer he runs with the kids
He's happy as a block dog
Every day the choice is his

I ain't nothin' but a hound dog
I ain't nothin' but a hound dog

Thanks for the harvest you’ve brought to my life sweetie. Come home soon. We’ve got a garden to tend and a life to build.