Friday, April 23, 2010

Friday Fiction -- But Isn't Evolution a Side Issue?

Bear is coming back to life (hopefully), in time to get a last minute entry into the Friday Fiction loop. Julie Arduini over at The Surrendered Scribe is hosting this week. So be sure and drop over there as well, to find links to the whole selection of entries, and/or to add a link of your own and join in the fun! We all welcome comments and discussion!

Bear's story continues from last week, with Richard explaining to his five friends what happened in his science class when he told the science teacher he couldn't do an assignment concerning evolution, pretending it's truth, when he doesn't believe in evolution... (Click here, if you want to catch Part 1 of the story.)

"He was not pleased." Richard took off his glasses and rubbed his eyes. "He told me religious faith was to be commended, but there's no place for fanaticism in a science classroom. He said, since I'm only a freshman, he'd excuse it this time. But I was going to have to learn the difference between fact and myth. He said there was no scientific basis for the creationist viewpoint. Then he excused me from the class assignment and put me on what he called a 'Term assignment'."

"Which is?" asked Dan.

"To get facts to back up my position that man was created, rather than formed through Evolution. To turn in an ongoing report weekly on the subject, instead of the regular weekly class assignments, until I'm ready to acknowledge that my position is insupportable."

Richard straightened in his chair, folded his arms in imitation of the science teacher, and began to take on a fairly good duplication of a New York accent. "This way, you will not have to damage your integrity in any way, Richard. Once you are thoroughly convinced, then you will be able to rejoin the class in their assignments without fear of compromising your principles. I will expect high-quality work, Richard. You will be graded on this, and you will be expected to do quality work. I won't accept Bible quotes and religious fables. I want to see facts... Uh oh..."

Richard's words faded as he caught sight of a couple of guys from the basketball team approaching.

Ted, his tall frame almost a duplicate of Jeff's in height and build, stopped directly behind Richard. He leaned over him, laying a hand on each side of him on the table, boxing him in. "Well, if it ain't the little preacher!"

Andy, a guard on the team, glanced warily over at Jeff. "Don't waste our time, Ted. We got better things ta do."

Ted shrugged, grabbed Richard's milk, and poured it over his lunch. "If anyone evolved from an ape, 'twas this little monkey. Him an' his Jesus friends!" He raised an arm, arching it, and scratched under his armpit. "Ooo oo oo oo!" Then puffed out his chest and beat on it with his fists.

Jeff's chair hit the floor with a bang. Grabbing Ted's shoulder, he whirled him around. "Care to repeat that to my face, Teddy boy?"

"Now, now, Jeffie..." Ted backed off a step and swung his hands up in the air, palms forward. "Coach'll bench us both if ya start anything ya can't finish..." Then he smiled sardonically. " 'Sides, why waste time hangin' with this loser? Hoping his 'genius' genes'll rub off on ya maybe? The dude's a wuss, man. Face it! When ya gonna wake up and get back ta normal? It's been months since ya been to Andy's on a Saturday night. Do ya even drink beer anymore, man?" He winked towards Andy. "Ol' Melissa's pinin' away for her Jeffie, ain't she?"

But Andy was staring in the direction of the lunch counter. Turning, Ted spotted Brown weaving her way through the line, headed in their direction.

"Catch ya later, Jeffie! Just think about it, will ya? I been doin' ya a favor, givin' ya time ... but it ain't gonna last forever, ya know." He and Andy headed towards the corner doors that opened into the main hall. Brown veered to follow them, but gave up when a friend of Andy's accidentally dropped a loaded tray of food in her path.

Jeff grabbed the folding chair off the floor, and turning it backwards, straddled it, shooting a look at Dan. "Well, it's started. Ready to shout 'Hallelujahs' now, friend?"

Richard stared down at his plate, absentmindedly pulling his glasses back on. They hung up on an ear for a second before his trembling hands got them into place. Bits of macaroni floated in an orange/gray milk sauce, the green tops of peas peeking out, here and there.

"Well, Praise the Lord," Dan said, matter-of-factly, putting a hand on Richard's shoulder. "It's started."

Wanda's face was pale, and she kept glancing at Ted and Andy, now making their way out through the crowd at the doorway. Ted was looking back at their table again, and tapped someone on the shoulder, pointing at Richard. Most of what they were saying couldn't be heard, but in the midst of it, even here, clear across the room, they heard the derisive hoot of "Jesus!" followed by laughter.

Wanda looked around the group at the table. "And we're all in it with you, Richard. " But they heard the tremor in her voice.

"We don't really have a choice, do we?" asked Jeff, crushing an empty Styrofoam cup in frustration.

"Don't care. I'm not going to live a lie," said Richard. "We're supposed to be witnesses. Not passively accepting what the world preaches. Not blending into the background... "

"Amen!" said Dan, who himself constantly seemed to find opportunities to talk to other students about the Lord. All at the table had witnessed one-on-one with various people around the campus. All were known for their Christian faith. But this... This was another level completely. This...

"But evolution versus creation is a side issue, Dan!" Carol crossed her arms, voice steady. "I know lots of Christians who love the Lord with all their hearts and believe in evolution too..."

"I know." Dan's finger tapped the tabletop for a minute, while he thought. "But we're not supposed to walk based on what others believe, but on what we believe, right? Each has to walk in witness of their own faith. If we walk a lie, as Richard put it, to blend in with everyone else, how're they going to believe us on the central issue?"

He quoted from memory, from the Bible, "'You are the light of the world. A city on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in Heaven'...We all know evolution's garbage. Don't you think it's time someone stood up in this school and said so, instead of just trying to blend in?"

"Amen!" Debbie said, hugging her arms tightly around herself, trying to stop the shaking. "Richard's tired of hiding under a bowl. Me too!"

A quietness came over the group. They were beginning to feel that peace and presence which they were not accustomed to feeling outside of church. A quiet calmness settling from above, totally separate from their own emotions ...

Carol looked over at Jeff. "They're right." She locked eyes with him, waiting. Then eventually added, "Amen".

Jeff took a deep breath, then let it out slowly. "All right! All right!" He threw up his hands. "Amen, already!" He leaned forward and roughly mussed Richard's hair. "Kid, we'll stand with ya. And I'll watch your back, best I can, but we're in for a lot more than you're bargainin' for, I'm warning ya..."

Dan added soberly, "And we'll stand with the Lord."

Silence settled over them. Although the din of laughter, conversation, and rattling dishes still resounded around them, the table suddenly seemed set apart.

"I think we'd better pray, people ... "

And, as one, all heads bowed.

To be continued...

Again, Bear welcomes all comments on the writing -- "red ink" included -- especially concerning anything that might make this story seem out of date to modern teenagers.
Bear's news and free multi-media Christian resources: Bear's Writing Den

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Bear's on the sick list

Bear's still alive, but is ill at the moment. Will be back soon, Lord willing! :-)
Bear's news and free multi-media Christian resources: Bear's Writing Den

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Sunday Happenings -- The hopes of 5 murdered missionaries fulfilled through the "Power of His Love"

One of Bear's biggest struggles in the faith has concerned the murder of Jim Elliott and the four other missionaries to the Auca Indians ... even though she knew that years after they were murdered by the tribe, the Aucas did come to belief in the Lord. And even though she also knew that Elliot's wife and the sister of another of the missionaries chose to go in and live with the tribe that had murdered their loved ones.

However, she didn't really understand how completely the Auca tribesmen's hearts had been changed, until she stumbled onto some video segments concerning it all, last night.

It had always sounded somewhat like a "too good to be true" type of story to her, with some hype thrown into the mix, to try and give meaning to what looked to be the waste of young men's lives ...

... until last night, she actually viewed the video of one of the missionary's murderers trying to explain to an American audience why they need to get to know "the King".

... until last night, she saw an interview with one of the missionary's sons talking about how his father's murderer had become a much beloved Godfather to him and grandfather to his children, and had also helped to raise him as his own son.

So Bear picked five of the best "The Rest of the Story" video clips that summarize things the fastest, and lined them up together into a type of quilt that she found to be incredibly moving, and which finally gave her a deep sense of light and resolution concerning the whole issue. Plus, encouraged her general faith and trust in the Lord and His Plans, in the midst of death and disappointments.

And these clips relay an incredible story of redemption -- which would be totally unbelievable, if not heard from the actual people who participated in it.

For anyone who might not know the basic story of the five missionaries and the Aucas...

Back in 1956, the missionaries (Nate Saint, Jim Elliot, Roger Youderian, Ed McCully, and Peter Fleming), who had wives and very young kids, chose to risk their lives by reaching out to a primitive tribe in Eucador, that was unusually violent. The tribe killed anyone who tried to come near them, basically, including American oil workers trying to work in the jungle near them.

The tribe was in danger of soon being destroyed because of their attacks on countries with higher technology than their own. And these five men felt burdened to try and approach them peacefully, and share the Gospel with them, before it was "too late". So, for some months, they had been trying to learn the language and establish contact through the use of a plane, with a bucket on a rope. The plane never landed -- too dangerous. They exchanged gifts and communicated with tribe members using the bucket to lift messages and gifts back and forth.

Eventually, the five decided it was time to actually land the plane nearby and try to make face to face contact, gradually. They landed and set up camp on the beach of a river, and were very excited when a couple tribe members came out to the beach one day, and talked with them (as much as they could, through the language barrier).

However, on another day, a group of men and women from the tribe came and killed the five missionaries on the beach -- despite the fact that the missionaries refused to use their guns to defend themselves. The tribes-people systematically slaughtered them with spears, and their plane was vandalized.

The story of the widows and their children appeared in Life Magazine, and the story is well known to most Christians -- a story of courage and willingness to sacrifice their very lives to tell the world of Christ's love. A story of martyrdom.

Despite the deaths of their loved ones, Elisabeth Elliot (Jim Elliot's wife) and Rachel Saint (the sister of Nate Saint), felt burdened to continue to pray for the tribe. A year or two later (Bear forgets the exact time period), some women from the tribe came out of the jungle to a local village where Elisabeth Elliot had set up a base. Eventually, she was asked to live with the tribe, through that contact. Despite the risk, she took her very young daughter and went in to live with the tribe. And Rachel Saint went too, at some point. Eventually Rachel's son, Steve Saint, around 9 years old, also came to live with his father's murderers.

Over the years that they lived with the Aucas they translated the Bible into their language for them.

Eventually, the tribe came to believe in Jesus as their Lord and their God. And that belief came partially through wanting to know why the five missionaries had just stood there while attacked, refusing to use their weapons to defend themselves, and through wanting to know why the women were willing to bring their young children and come live with the tribe afterwards.

It's one thing to read the story, as summarized here. It's quite another to see the clips of the real people involved (although some of the pictures are shots from a movie about the events -- those super polished hollywood clips are easy to tell apart from the photos and "rougher" clips and interviews with the real people).

So, since this moved Bear so deeply this week, Bear decided the following thirty minutes worth of clips edited together into one "Rest of the Story" video session is well worth sharing today.

There are a couple of places in the first clip where the video goes black for about 20 or 30 seconds, (one right at the beginning, and one towards the middle), but be patient, it's worth the wait until the images come back again.

(NOTE: People receiving this by Feeds or by Facebook will need to drop by the Den to see it).

Bear's news and free multi-media Christian resources: Bear's Writing Den