On the Blind Side

Regular readers know my interest regarding the theology-science interchange. One of the reasons I write about it is that there are some people out there who are truly interested in learning that they don’t have to make a choice, thus they want to know how these two fields can influence us in today’s world.

I know I don’t expect all Christians to agree with me, and realize that viewpoints from non-Christians will vary. However, a slice of Christianity unquestionably does NOT speak for me.

I am a member of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA), and enjoy reading its periodical – The Lutheran. The recent issue had a short article about evolution. The article was purposefully board, but the online comments were a must-read for me because I continue to proclaim that organizations like the ELCA and its member churches do a lousy job at educating their flock.

Comments as these below were the minority viewpoint, but they drive Christian, agnostic, and atheistic evolutionists up a wall, misrepresent the majority of Christians, drive the wedge between evolutionary Christians and non-believing evolutionists, prey on the unknowing, demonstrate a need for education, and reinforce my notion that this issue is a conflict between religions – not between religion and science.

Comments as these also demonstrate this important point: Disagreeing with science does not make science wrong.

Darwinian evolution never happened.

Science is showing that life rapidly evolved by design indicating a creator God.

More and more fossil finds, DNA evidence, Intelligent Design studies, the Institute for Creation Research RATE research, etc. are challenging Darwinism, the old earth and the local Noah’s flood.

Shouldn’t there be massive amounts of fossil evidence of dinosaur evolution and everything else that has evolved since the destruction? Horse and whale evolution stories have been discredited by recent fossil finds.

Evolution has not been observed scientifically.

Bacteria resistance to antibiotics is not “evolution.”

There is no experimental evidence for evolution.

Darwinism is the religion of the secular humanist atheist.

Evolution is not a fact. It is not even a scientific theory, but our education system treats evolution as fact.

Unlike true science, the claims of Darwinian evolution cannot be tested or replicated.

Evolution is an idea that leads to bad consequences.

Evolution pre-supposes the absence or non-existence of a Creator, thus leading to false conclusions.

Evolution explains with the origins of life.

There is no consensus on the subject of evolution. There remains a mystery about how life was established.

Neither Creationism nor Darwinism seems to be supported by natural evidence.

Evolutionism is a stumbling block for biblical belief because it not only conflicts with the book of Genesis it conflicts with the Bible.

Even geologists do not actually find evidence for evolution in the fossil records.

Darwin could not define “species” and even today, there is no consensus on a definition.

Darwin had little proof in the fossil record to support his claim.

No one has evidence to prove that God doesn’t exist, so to offer only the deception of evolutionary thought clinging to the belief that life formed by chance random processes continues to be difficult to accept.

Darwin did not have the benefit of DNA. (AFA: This one cracks me up because Darwin was 100+ years before the discovery of DNA. I’ve seen the same rationale used regarding Darwin and Gregor Mendel/genetics, who was also after Darwin. )

The (DNA) evidence is moving in the wrong direction for confirming evolution.

Earth is young.

Overwhelming evidence, much of it recent, from geology, anthropology, DNA studies, computer simulations of weather, etc. confirm the event of Noah’s flood covering the whole planet actually happened.

Creation WAS perfect. Creation WAS all that it was to be. WE, US, HUMANS, ADAM sinned and destroyed creation. Now it is decay, dying, dark, and sad.

On a Lenten Thought

The season of Lent is an opportunity for self-reflection in anticipation to Christianity’s most significant celebration – Easter.

Lent is the time we hear people state “what” they are giving up. Everyone knows the common items as alcohol, chocolate, candy, and swearing – and in today’s electronic society, even Facebook. The Roman Catholics giving up meat on Fridays leads communities to the Friday night Fish Fry festivities.

I cannot recall exactly when I heard this, but my guess is 5-10 years ago, when (in a sermon) one of my pastors said, “It’s not what one gives up for Lent, but what one adds.”

Think about it, which makes more sense – giving up chocolate or volunteering in a soup kitchen? Giving up candy or helping out a senior citizen center? Giving up anything or adding prayer?

A short time ago at the Ash Wednesday service, the prayer below struck accord with me. (From the Evangelical Lutheran Worship: Leaders Guide)

As disciples of Jesus, we are called to a discipline that contends against evil and resists whatever leads us away from love of God and neighbor. I invite you, therefore, to the discipline of Lent – of self examination and repentance, prayer and fasting, sacrificial giving and works of love – strengthened by the gifts of word and sacrament. Let us continue our journey through these forty days to the great Three Days of Jesus’ death and resurrection.

I know that there is a lot of room for improvement in my Lenten practices, but at least I have processed that message – which is the first step before implementing. However, adding (over subtracting) during Lent still seems to be the profound thing to do. Of course practicing what one preaches is the hardest part.

On Lutherans and Sexuality

I’m a Lutheran … actually an ELCA Lutheran. Yep, the ones whose August assembly took a dramatic step in passing a social statement regarding homosexuality, including clergy in same-gender relationships. To say that this was an easy decision would be a lie. So would if one said that every church member is comfortable with the decision.

Lutherans traditionally struggle with decisions, however, Lutherans deeply believe in faith, hope, grace, forgiveness, and love. These fundamentals are extended to everyone, everyone is welcome, and everyone has something to offer. The difficulty comes when some feel that “everyone” follows with “except” serves as a litmus test of faith and acceptance.

Lutherans want to do what is right, yet are torn when that feeling potentially conflicts within Scripture. On the other hand, wrestling with scripture, talking it over, and learning are typical characteristics of Lutherans.

The importance of education to Lutherans goes back to Martin Luther, himself a university professor. Luther believed that education serves the common good of both the church and society; therefore education is an essential tool for us to understand God’s word and place its meaning into practice.

I’m not a theologian by any means, but I do understand that the Bible is a very deep book whose intricacies can be overwhelming. Contradictory passages exist, and passages interface with both context and passages throughout the book. And to top it all off, people can interpret the same passage differently – and this is also true for theologians.

Some congregations are in the process of leaving the ELCA, and others are considering it. Many congregations, if not every, have members who have left or considered leaving. Although I sit and wonder what such action would prove, who it would appease, and how would it improve the situation, I also understand that individuals must act within their own convictions and do what they feel is right – just as the assembly delegates did.

In a meeting at our church shortly after the assembly, I heard some say that they were against the proposal, but they were staying because dealing with that struggle is part of the journey. Yet I also heard someone explain that they did not know if they could stay.

  • Addressing the assembly immediately after the vote ELCA Presiding Bishop Mark Hanson wondered what he would say to three different groups.
  • Group 1 just experienced loss, felt they didn’t belong, or felt abandoned – he would use Romans 8.
  • Group 2 always wondered if they belonged, but suddenly reached affirmation – he would use Ephesians 2:13-14, 21-22
  • Group 3 not only has groups 1 & 2 together, with not only both of the above, but also those who haven’t experienced loss or separation, yet wondered if what has occurred threatens unity – he would use Colossians 3:12-17

I end this post with these points:

  • As Lutherans we know that church isn’t a museum of saints, yet we are a collection of sinners connected through commonalities, including disagreements.
  • As Lutherans we know that living out the faith isn’t easy, yet should never think beyond ourselves.
  • As Lutherans, we know that healing and acceptance will take time – and over that time an effort of not only reflection, but also discussions and exploration with those who agree and disagree – should be part of the struggle.

Christianity isn’t easy – nor is it meant to be.