Nature


I believe that this movie has the potential to be the most talked about event in 2008, even eclipsing the political conventions, the Olympics and the Election.   I am equally sure that if it does well in the box office that there will be MUCH negative publicity against it.    At any rate, this is a very thought provoking trailer.  Enjoy

If nothing else I hope that this movie will engage Christians in and with the culture once again.  Forcing us to think! and get off our pat answers and shallow arguments.  This could be a great opportunity to participate in conversations with the culture at large.  It will also be an opportunity to show our ignorance if we are not careful. There is a risk of the anti-intellectuals, who shun academia, science and the institutes of higher learning, to solidify the sterotypical image of the “Christian” as the ignorant, blind faith bumpkins that many in the culture say we are.
At any rate, it is time to get out of the bunkers we call church and engage our culture again, not in some antagonistic conflict, but in truth and love.  It is possible to win the argument and lose the person with whom you are conversing. (I have to give props to my Pastor, Josh, for that line, it was too good not to borrow.)  It is also possible to lose an argument due to lack of preparation and basic knowledge and end up looking like a backwoods banjo picker.

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The drive home was silent, with the exception of an occasional yawn of exhaustion.  The week had rushed past in a flurry of wonderful and intriguing events.  Luke, our three-year-old son, was asleep in his car seat with suitcases on both sides of him and a little wooden train in each hand.  Since my husband Josh was driving I spent my time reflecting on what I had experienced while at the beach.  I knew that Luke’s first trip to Morehead City, North Carolina would be memorable, but I had no idea that he would teach me so much.  My motive for taking Luke to see the ocean was for his benefit, but the amazement that he demonstrated over the smallest things showed me all that I had taken for granted.

 

The drive down Interstate-40 had been filled with an incessant string of, “Where are we going?”, “Are we going to the beach?” and “Are we there yet?”  Luke seemed concerned that we may change our minds.  I knew the bridge crossing the inlet was approaching so I grabbed the camera to capture Luke’s first impression of the “big water”.  His expression was one of utter amazement as his eyes darted from window to window to drink in the vast blueness. “Wow!  That’s a big yoshun!”

 

Within minutes we pulled into the parking lot of the motel.  We grabbed our bags and walked to our room.  It was average-sized, with teal walls and white, wicker furniture.  We reserved a double-bed room so Luke could have his own full-size bed.    I showed him where he would be sleeping and he gasped with glee at his very own “big boy bed”.  He scrambled onto it, rolled around on the covers and bounced on the mattress a few times before exclaiming, “I want to go swimming!

 

I rummaged through our beach gear, slathered sunscreen on every inch of Luke’s body and then we headed for the sand.  We turned the corner of the motel and Luke screamed in delight as he picked up speed.  His bright green eyes were examining something and I followed his gaze to see an abandoned sandcastle.  Before I could stop him, Luke raced to it and crashed into the highest tower.  The structure toppled around him and he giggled at the new sensation of sand on skin.  “Look at the sand, Mommy!” His awe at something so simple puzzled me, and I considered the delight in his voice.  Luke finally noticed the big blue ocean behind him and he jumped to his feet and sprinted to the water, but just as he approached, a wave crashed onto the sand and Luke scurried to my side. 

“But Luke, it’s just water.”  Josh explained as he splashed his feet into the retreating current.  Luke sidled toward him and stuck his feet in the water.  He spotted another wave and ran back to me.  He loved swimming pools and bathtubs, but this experience was altogether different.  Swimming pools did not chase him.  After several advances and retreats, Luke was comfortable enough to splash in knee-deep water.  He squealed at the sand running between his toes and gaped at the minnows darting back and forth.  Were these real fish swimming around his ankles?  The only fish he had known before were in big display tanks, or his own black Beta named Sishy.

 

Just then, a tiny tan crab flashed by in the nearby sand.  “What’s that, Mommy?” 

“That’s a crab, sweetheart.”  I did not realize Luke had never watched a crab scuttle sideways.  He stumbled after the crab, tripping over the mounds of sand. Yet the crab returned to its hole just in time, and Luke proceeded to throw sand into its home in hopes to scare it out.  However, it did not surface again and the sandcastle we had started quickly distracted him.  All afternoon he played in the sand and in the shallow surf until he was bent with exhaustion and even then he refused to leave the fun to go back to the room.  We bribed him into leaving with promises of returning in the morning and proceeded back to the room where he fell asleep within minutes of a warm bath and a slice of pizza.

 

As the events of the trip drifted away, my focus returned to the car and I peered out of the window at the brilliant blue sky.  White puffy clouds were drifting by and I tried to think of how Luke would react to their splendor.  I smiled as I glanced back at him, still sound asleep with his trains clutched in each tiny fist.  I wondered what he may be dreaming of and wished I could peer into his thoughts to watch his excitement and wonder over the simple things of life.

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          I recently had an encounter with a snake.  I am not relating an adventure, however, since it was nothing more than a common backyard brown snake that I saw slithering out of the path of my oncoming lawnmower.  Still, I must confess that a strong revulsion rose up within me – a sudden seizing of the heart – as I watched this small, brown ribbon weave its way through the grass.  The scientific name for this is ophidiophobia, which is just a fancy way of saying that I really don’t care for snakes.

            This may not seem a startling confession, since nearly everyone who reads the above paragraph would share my sentiments.  But it still seems strange to me that I retain this fear of snakes.  Why snakes of all things? 

            Take dogs for example.  Why not be afraid of dogs?  I have much more reason to be, considering the fact that my lower back still bears the dental signature of a particularly unfriendly chow.  I can still remember the day when two enormous rottweilers menacingly circled around me as a neighbor screamed warnings to remain perfectly still.  I ought to be afraid of dogs, but if it had been two garter snakes instead of rottweilers, I would have most likely fainted with fear.

            So what is it about snakes?  From Eden to the Hesperides it seems that mankind has exhibited a peculiar distrust of the serpent.  Is it their reputation for being deceitful, malevolent, and venomous?  Maybe, but I don’t think so.  I believe our repulsion for snakes lies in a much more simple fact: they are utterly unlike us. 

          The snake is a writhing, undulating, slick-scaled strand of limbless motion that seems to glide rather than crawl.  It lives in obscurity, under slimy rock and root; silently flicking its forked tongue and surveying its surroundings with its obsidian eyes (and it’s the eyes that get you).  Look into the eyes of a dog – no matter how fierce – and you see the semblance of a soul; a kindred spirit in some way.  Lock eyes with a snake, however, and you see unblinking black windows into nothingness.  It is said that the eyes of a snake can charm you; make you forget everything as it draws you into the nothingness that lurks behind them.  It is no wonder we shudder at the sight of a serpent.

          But not everyone does, and this is a mystery.  You see it in the Hindu Naga and Indian snake charmer, in the spirited services of certain southeastern churches, adorning the heads of the Pharaohs, and healing the smitten who will look upon its brazen form.  An object of hatred for some becomes an article of worship to others.  The infamous reptile, cursed to eat dust, exalted to a place of honor; reviled and revered.  It seems there is no middle ground: we adore or despise that which is most unlike us.

          I must confess that – concerning snakes – I fall into the latter category; which brings me once again to my backyard. As the snake retreated from the whirling blades of my lawnmower, I felt an incredible urge to overtake it; to dice it into a hundred tiny pieces.  But I halted just short of my pursuit when the snake stopped, raised its head, and stared at me with a scaly grin.  I returned its gaze for just a moment, and then the snake darted away.  I did not follow.  Was it my appreciation for life – no matter how personally abhorrent its form – that restrained me? Or maybe a moment of empathetic insight into the existence of this mysterious creature?  Perhaps, but I must confess that my motive was primarily pragmatic.  As you may already know, snakes eat rats, and the only thing that I hate worse than a snake is a rat.