K ayla T alk
My Dear Little Kayla:
What deep joy we find in a stalwart tap, as you our ballerina in the bag
Poke about with fist and foot …Banging on the temple walls …
Does that have a familiar ring?
It was over 11 years go that I wrote that poem to you. And guess what? I was right … About something! Not about the brothers, but about you.
When I wrote those lines I didn’t really know that you would be a Kayla. These days, doctors have ways of telling. But we didn’t look.
Who knows … It may be a Dad thing, or a GOD thing … God just made it so you would be a Kayla so I could keep that poem!
I’m not sure that God works that way … and on a chance level it was something like fifty-fifty. But as far as you being you …. I believe that is something God knew about way before you were born. In fact … and this is a hard idea; I think God knew about you before time itself.
How would I know! It’s just that we think of time as something behind or ahead of us, or—if we can grasp it, right now. But some folks think that God doesn’t live in our kind of time. Instead, every moment -- past, present, and future -- is right before Him like you might look at a book.
Now, you know you can hold a book – and if you’ve read the book, you can hold part of the beginning and parts of the middle and parts of the end in your head, almost at once. You probably still have to think through the sequence in a kind of shortened time … but if you simply hold it in your hand …you really can hold the book that holds a story that is told across time – all at once.
Maybe this is how it is right now for God. He sees the world with everything from dinosaurs to space cars to you, in his “brain” right now. Like a story in a book that he knows. Maybe even a story that he helped write.
Anyway … I didn’t mean to get off on that. People get to disagreeing when you guess just how much of the story God has written himself, or how much He lets us write, or even how much of it, He doesn’t want any thing to do with. I’ll save some guesses for later. But I do want to tell YOU a kind of story. The part of the story that I know, because it’s happened.
Note: (when I started this Kayla, was asking the questions. Now they all do. This could have been written for Edith or Anna just as well.)
These days, you are full of questions. And I like that. I live in questions. You should never be afraid of questions. Any way of thinking, worthy of your living should bear the scrutiny of whatever you can throw at it. But I’ll be honest … you surprise me. Not so much for your questions, but that you are asking them now at this tender age.
You are ten …and petite. You still like dolls. You climb into my lap, or let me hold your chin and lift your face toward me like a kind of adoring pup-doll. And I see only trust, and little pools of moss staring back at me. Your eyes are stainless. But still you say … “I’m not sure if there is a God.” I am not sure if I’m a Christian, “or What about the Big Bang? Or even … Does God love the Devil?
Now, part of this is parroting. Or freedom. I think you’ve heard your mom or me throw some questions around in the abstract. But I know too, that some these thoughts are your very own.
Teenagers and some adults talk like this … But you? My little first-born with something of your new-born face, all round like a pumpkin, still showing in your face – How do these questions come from you?
Of course I am not scolding, only wondering …
Wondering whose genes you got – or where you got this penchant for asking questions.
Wondering how best to treat your mind … how much to spoon feed, how much to declare, and how much for you to work through on you own.
And finally, wondering how we … a mom and dad who have built our life around declarations of faith and loving God, have done such a shoddy job of living it.
I think it is the most reasonable thing in the world, and a most human thing to do, to ask if there is a God, or gods, or if you are it just dust in the wind … anything … but I have to think that some of your uncertainty has something to do with adult lives that are out of kilter. Some people ask: Where is God when children starve? But for you the question is much closer. Where is God when my parents can’t seem to stop from fighting? – and yet they tell me that God answers prayer, or that He is the author of beauty.
You have not seen such a God well through us. And I tremble.
We have been given a tremendous trust. I believe you and your sisters are God’s great gift to us … and part of how we give you back, is our gift to Him.
You know … right now, God is in the process of healing our family. I wish it were overnight and with a blaze of light … but I think you know it too. God is doing good things in us and for us … and I believe that some of those questions that you ask now will be answered in ways that you have yet to see. Perhaps even in bigger ways than we might ever imagine. On the other hand, I want to make it my goal to talk with you about everything under the sun. It is a good thing to use your mind and you have a good one.
So if you will, let me pontificate a little. That means speaking like a dad – and just telling you the way things are. But I also mean for you to think with me and beside me.
I want to tell you where you came from and why you were made. I want to tell you what I’ve seen … and some of the things that baffle me. And I guess I want to protect you, even as you learn to become your own person.
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Kayla talk, Continued…
I see from a question on one of your school papers, that they are beginning to introduce you to the idea of evolution. At this point they don’t call it evolution*. They may not even address evolution as a specific idea until you are a tad older, but I see that someone is priming the pump.
And that both delights, and frightens me.
I am pleased to see that you are being exposed to “new” and creative ideas with great explanatory power. On the hand… I’m frightened -- because you are being exposed to new, and creative ideas with great explanatory power.
If what I just said sound contradictory --- it is, though I hope it will make more sense by the time we get through.
As is, the general theory of evolution has reached the status of the dominant view, and is assumed by many to be a means by which to explain our present existence. Even so, a lot of folks – including myself – approach it as an over-reaching theory. We live in Arkansas, not far from the third hole in the belt, and the intellectual capitol of the universe. (Not really) …But really, evolution still hasn’t made favored-nation status around here. So its proponents don’t argue it too loud at this point. But they will, and in ways you won’t see. And soon, if you think only by osmosis, you will find that you * believe in evolution for no other reason than it seems the thing to believe.
There are, however, good reasons to question the idea of evolution as a system. Maybe not everything in the evolutionary model, but certainly the evolutionary framework as it seeks to explain the transformation of particles to people.
There are books that say the things I’d tell you with far more detail and information than I can give you here. But then it wouldn’t be your dad talking. Besides, a lot of books about all kinds of things don’t really start at the start of an idea. I hear a lot of discussion in the popular press about primate evolution … but very little about plant evolution, and even less about the “evolution” of light. . So let’s go a little farther down the tree, and think about what evolution entails, from the roots up.
Note: In subsequent review of literature by evolutionists, I have encountered several different definitions of evolution. The writers of Origins-talk argue that what I have often called evolution (a method whereby non life is transformed into life, and simple life forms into ever more complex forms) is NOT evolution-but rather, a potential ramification of applied evolution. These same authors state that the Big Bang theory is a Cosmological argument, and not an evolutionary argument. According to xx a good definition
While have taken note of this limited use of the term evolution, both common use and use of the term in evolutionary literature allow for its application to what is sometimes called “macro-evolution.” Indeed, I believe the same defenders of the limited use of the term “evolution” would be distraught if the “ramifications” of evolution were somehow ignored. I hope any readers who assume the focused definition will tolerate my sometimes sweeping, philosophic, (and common use) of the term evolution, even as I refine my usage of the term farther in.
Now it appears that a majority of scientists, and a growing number of people in the population at large, accept some form of evolution as a means by which to explain how we came to be here. Or at least, why we look the way we do. And I certainly don’t think those people are stupid. To the contrary, many of the people who lead with the evolutionary banner are our culture’s biggest and brightest. But I also believe that smart people, even a majority of very smart people, can think with a pack-mentality and go wrong. Even more – they (like we) think by faith -- and certain presuppositions. It something of a human condition that we see beyond what wee see, and then – in the light of desire.
I am not a scientist. I’m not really even a philosopher. I take pictures for a living. But I don’t let that stop me from trying to look below the emulsion. You shouldn’t either. Don’t be afraid to think on your own, or different from the pack (sometimes even the religious pack). And while you should respect folks with credentials, don't let a specialist tell you that you can't meddle in his arena ….
Chapter 2b – Commandeered.
My Dear Little Eakins
I hope you will not mind that I have commandeered a book that I started writing to your elder sister some six years ago. As with many things in life, my best intentions find their way into boxes, and I have now a book with only parts of chapters and slurry of thoughts. Kayla is seventeen, and given probing thought, but perhaps not with the intensity you bring to the table. (She presses her questions into her art or music, but as time has passed, it turns out that you are the daughter most willing to question the status quos, out loud and with a manic laugh.
You are indeed a maverick soul. You wear your hair in funky shapes even as you declare that poetry “sucks.” (I hate that word.)
You go with your girl friends to the school dance, then stick your finger in the eye of “hip” by doing square dance moves to modern rap. You are at once gracious, then tenacious, and given to a weird sense of humor. You question. You read. You argue. You declare your brilliance out loud and often.
Beyond that, you have firmly rejected the faith which gives meaning to my life.
You have declared that you are not a Christian, and that, your are an agnostic when it comes to the question of God’s existence. Finally you are prepared to embrace (in the abstract) the idea that the Cosmos we see is itself self existing and not made.
I must confess that your wholesale rejection of God saddens me I am grieved that you can sometimes be so glib about the thing (or the person) I count as the center of my universe. Make that our universe. It is my persuasion that knowing and delighting in God is the very purpose for which our lives are written.
On the other hand, I must commend you for your willingness to stand alone and question deeply.
Pleased, because I certainly don’t want you to have “MY” faith. I wish for you to be embraced by a living faith which is all your own. And such a faith will most likely not be fashioned in my terms.
Just the same, I hope you will not mind as I contend with you, and challenge to you to think, think, and think again. If in the end, you are arrive at a different understanding of how we came to be, then I hope our relationship will be grounded in love and mutual respect.
Anyway, enough pontification! I want to build on what I started some years back, and tell you just some of the reasons I have rejected naturalistic evolution, and find its cousin, theistic evolution, highly problematic.