Video Stores Explained to Modern Kids

I have two future museum pieces in my dresser drawer: They’re flat, plasticized membership cards. The blue one reads “Blockbuster”, and the red one says “Rogers”. I used to use them to rent movies.

It dawned me not long ago that my kids are growing up without a clue of what that’s all about. How will I ever explain it to them?

This will help.

The Surprising Reason Why I Don’t Believe in Evolution

I don’t believe in evolution because I have never seen a monkey at the movies.

Excuse me?!

Allow me to unpack.

monkeys_ernestclineI am not scientifically trained; my last science class was in high school.  However, just as everyone is a theologian, forming interpretations and views and convictions about God (or not-God), so too everyone is a scientist, forming hypotheses and gathering information to confirm or challenge those theories.

That said, I have no lab work to back my findings.  I have not participated in an archaeological excavation or visited the Galapagos Islands.  I would jump at such opportunities, but those have not been my life.

My first thought on evolution: It is not a mere theory.

It is certainly a fact.

Excuse me again?!

You heard me rightly.

The movement, by small degrees, from state A to state B to state C is an undeniable reality. I am a different man today than I was yesterday or last year.  The world is changing, along with all of its parts.

In a sentence, I see evolution as a certain process, but not as a limitless process.

Many have used the phrases “micro-evolution” and “macro-evolution” to speak of the difference to which I’m alluding, while some feel clearer terms are needed.  (One such article is HERE, though I fear the author’s grudge with creationists has actually clouded his ability to express his point.)

Regardless of precise terms, my point of conviction is simply that some fences do exist.  The universe is not so fluid that any substance can become any other substance.  It appears woven into nature that THIS is THIS and THAT is THAT, and we live within a world comprised of a glorious variety of this-es and thats-es (to speak in the tongue of the esteemed Dr. Seuss).

One example is the similarity of DNA observed between humans and primates.  Some estimate that the DNA common between chimpanzees and humans is 93-98%.  To any student, this “test score” sounds impressive, as in, “close to 100%”.  But in the precision realm of genetics, one must raise a different consideration:

What lies in that narrow field of difference?

To be blunt, I don’t need a scientist to tell me that monkeys and men are similar.  Pass a deck of flashcards depicting creature silhouettes, and even a child could conclude that the man’s form is more like the monkey’s than to those of the tiger or elephant or camel, not to even mention creatures of the sky or sea.

So the similarities are easy to establish.  Save your lab fees; I’m already convinced.

As I said earlier, it would be poor logic to see an impressive figure like 93-98% and thus conclude that the remaining 2-7% is of little consequence.  My common-sense theory would argue that every detail found in that thin slice of the genetic pie is part of the proof that evolution exists within solidly established and beyond-compromise boundaries.

How can I make such a firm statement?

Answer: I’ve never seen a monkey at the movies.

I’m confident that some cultured primates might enjoy a film, but they are unlikely to get a chance.

Who is going to ask them on a date?

The rich verses of the childhood taunt sketch out how relationships typically move forward:

Joey and Susan sitting in a tree,
First comes love, then comes marriage,
Then comes Joey pushing a baby carriage.

Conceivably, a movie date with a monkey could very well end in a tree.  Regardless of the specifics though, this romance assuredly could not end with a baby carriage.

Those 2-7% of differences between DNA are forceful enough to deem inter-species reproduction impossible, even when the similarities might run as high as 98%, it appears.  Within those complex amino acid combinations, all sorts of not-compatible-with-life sequences exist.  Giving sperm from one species access to an egg of another is not a creative venture, even when the percentage appears to suggest nearly “can’t miss” odds.

Yet, evolutionary theory claims that given obscene lengths of time, freak genetic mutations, combined with useful survival-geared genetic “slidings”, have created the vast array of species we witness today.  My city’s primate-free theaters suggest that the lines between species are impassably thick, yet evolutionary theory aims to convince me that they have been crossed millions of times by virtual chance.

I’m afraid I’d have to muster more than my mustard seed of faith to enter that realm.

YOUR TURN: What points within the creation/evolution/whatever-else debate have stuck in your mind as key rungs on your ladder to understanding? Your input makes this post better!

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Saturday Six-Pack (28)

Welcome to the weekend and to the latest Six-Pack of recent gems I wanted to pass on. Typically ministry-minded or faith-focused, be prepared for a bit of who-knows-what as well.

If six choices overwhelm you, begin with my two *Picks of the Week*, and move from there.

For a steady stream of such links, follow me on Twitter ( @JasonBandura ) to the right of this post.  Sharp quotes and solid articles are tweeted 3-4 times daily.

Today’s edition:

1) Balancing Acts (*PICK OF THE WEEK*)
Two of the “pastor books” that generated big buzz in 2012 were Andy Stanley’s “Deep and Wide” and Timothy Keller’s “Center Church”.  This interview, from Christianity Today, gives both authors some space in which to respond to questions tied to those contributions.

2) A Circle of Honour
By regularly giving people praise and recognition, we reflect Christ’s ministry and the relationship of the Trinity.  So says Robert C. Crosby in this piece for Leadership Journal.  How could you be a more steady source of such positive forces?

3) They Cuss in E.T.?! WTF!
Is violence now more permissable than swearing or nudity in our movies? Psychology Today explores the evolution of “what goes” in our entertainment.

4) The Top Five Career Regrets
Regardless of how you earn your paycheck, you’ve almost certainly dreamed of other jobs, perhaps even that “dream career” that isn’t yet yours.  Or maybe you’re in that job already, just looking to give your best and taste of the resulting satisfaction and success.  Whatever your specifics, it never hurts to learn from other people’s mistakes.  This HBR post offers you that opportunity.

5) Saved from Meritocracy  (*PICK OF THE WEEK*)
Western society is constructed largely on the ideal of meritocracy, the conviction that if one works hard enough, he can become or achieve anything.  While the moral of countless films and stories, the snag is that this teaching runs completely counter to the Gospel of Jesus at several key junctions. The Red Letter Christians offer this perspective on this struggle to “fit” the grand Gospel into our small system.

6) Share the Gospel and Your Life
Writing to the Thessalonians, Paul comments: “So, being affectionately desirous of you, we were ready to share with you not only the gospel of God but also our own selves, because you had become very dear to us” (1 Thess. 2:8). The Resurgence offers this piece on how to go about this, the essence of true evangelism.

Blessings on you, my friends.  May your weekend be refreshing in rest, play, and worship.

YOUR TURN: Direct other readers to the best stuff above by making a comment below, or weigh in on what you read.  Your input makes this post better!

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