Thursday, August 8, 2013

Thursday already?

Things have felt a little out of control lately. This is probably why I went to Target and bought a bunch of organizational bins for our dining room. This room has become our defacto art center, although it looks more like a disaster than a center. Anyway, if I can't control my life, at least I can organize the markers and glue.

One of our recent challenges is simply a full schedule. I volunteered to help at our church's VBS, which would have been enough in itself, but I somehow scheduled a bunch of other things at the same time. Jon was also absent at a conference somewhere in there. A conference in Las Vegas, engendering more sympathy than anything else. It is July, after all, and Vegas is not the sort of city either of us is fond of. Jon's main observations about his time there: (1) there were a lot of children considering the lack of kid-friendly activities, (2) Cirque du Soleil has basically taken over, (3) Caesar's Palace is indeed palatial, (4) food is expensive, but actually good, (5) it is strange to look out the window at 6 a.m. and see empty streets save for a van driving in circles, with "Girls Girls Girls" written on the side.
We were both happy when he returned.

Back to VBS, which was quite a bit of fun. This is a church that really values its children and their education. Many people were involved in the program, regardless of whether they had children attending. This contributed to the excellent organization, since responsibilities could be spread out. There were also a lot of teens involved, and they displayed great maturity and a willingness to take on responsibility. I think they're excellent role models for my kids.
The downside of the week was some of the belief systems that came to light. I'm going to write pretty freely here, since no one from our church reads this blog and I don't think that will change in the near future. The short story is that they seem to ascribe to an aggressive form of young-earth creationism. For the uninitiated, this is the belief that the earth was created by God in six days, and is only a few thousand years old. Now to be clear, it is not this teaching per se that I find troublesome. Rather, it is the conflation of a young earth theory with "science".
My thinking is this: if you believe God created the world in six days, embrace it! Go for it wholeheartedly, without reservation! Treat it as the miracle it is. Because surely this would count as a miracle. And what is a miracle? It is an act of God that transcends space, time, physics, science, etc. In other words, you don't need science to explain it. Let science be. Don't feel like you have to justify your belief in a miracle, because that will lead to very sketchy "science" and (il)logical mental gymnastics that can cause migraines.
Furthermore, don't tell me that because I believe in a God of patience and attention to detail, a God that used billions of years to ever-so-carefully create the universe, that I am on the brink of denying the truth of the bible.
And do not tell me that dinosaurs were on the ark. Do. Not. Go. There.

This was a stressful discovery about our church, and we're wondering what to do about it. There's certainly an argument for letting it go, particularly if creation doesn't come up in the kids' curriculum. In general, I really like their overall theology, teachings, etc. On the other hand, the view they seem to espouse is so aggressive that I wonder if they'd be open to us becoming members. So, we're thinking about next steps.

It was also that week that I had a follow up visit with my doctor. You may recall that in my last post I mentioned that I had some blood tests done, due to my illness while on vacation. Well, turns out they were not all negative. So, I am referred to a specialist who is booked until November. I really wish I was the sort of person who could just let information like this slide off my back. After all, the results were "not terrible" and there's nothing life-threatening going on.
But, I am not that person and so I googled the vague blood test results listed on the referral. This was a stupid stupid thing to do, but I did it. (You would, too. Admit it!) What will probably happen is that the doctor will take a wait-and-see approach, which will be unsatisfying. On one hand, a diagnosis would simply suck. On the other hand, if I'm being completely honest, it would be nice to have a label to hang my various symptoms on. Things that started over the winter and continue to be bothersome now. "Not terrible," of course.

All of these events have been happening against the backdrop of one big (happy!) thing, which is that Jon is gearing up to apply for academic jobs. We've really felt a pull in this direction, and have tried to be prayerful about it. So, there's been a lot of writing and thinking about teaching, research, etc. I feel strongly that Jon would thrive in the academic environment, and he could really make an impact. Not just through his research, but through his mentoring of students. Although he has had limited opportunity to practice this skill, he's also a pretty good teacher. He'll start applying to job postings within a month, and we have some strong ideas about where we'd like to end up. But it's really completely out of our hands. So in the meantime I'm organizing markers.