Monday, September 16, 2013

A Constant Gardener

There's a topic that's been on my mind lately, and I needed to write about it.

I don't expect anyone to agree.
These are my thoughts and opinions.
And I am the sum of MY experiences and no other human has the exact sum.

A long time ago, my mother told me that there are two subjects that you should always steer away from in public or at parties ...
1.   Politics
2.  Religion

This is one of the rare times that I will cast off my mothers advice and jump head first into both of these topics.
But not in the way that you may think.

A couple weeks ago my sister sent me an email... she was in a MINI panic.

She just started homeschooling her boys this year.  And she has been flooding her brain with all kinds of information.
And she was about to commit and purchase a complete curriculum.

Most families who have made the decision to homeschool their children go through similar moments of panic.
And if they are honest...
they continue to grapple with their decision throughout their homeschooling journey.
Questioning always if their child is getting the best possible education.

here is the question she asked me:
"Do you teach Creation or Evolution?"

Folks, I don't think I truly grasped the weight of this question or my answer at the time.

It was late when I read and responded to her email.
And I gave her a somewhat brief response...
brief  for me anyway.

I told her simply that I taught
"Intelligent Design... which is kinda both"

Then I told her that it hadn't REALLY been a topic of discussion within our Science curriculum yet.  
(folks, I really thought this was a Non-Issue)

I also felt that our text had a very balanced viewpoint of both sides.  

Then I told her that I felt that there would not be any ONE curriculum that would fall inline with all that we believe.
So we need to take what we like and leave the rest.

God truly has a sense of humor.
It is ALL relevant!

after Ginny's email question, 
I decided to check the index of Mary's science book and see what it had to say about
The title of the book alone 
seems to give it's position on Creation.
However, you know the old saying...
"Never judge a book by it's cover."
Or can you?
like I said earlier... 
up to this point
we really had not ventured much into this topic.
Or so I thought!
However, there was a lot on the subject in her very next chapter.

I started reading the next chapter.

What is Uniformitarianism or Catastrophism?
And what exactly does this have to do with
Creation vs Evolution?

A lot!
I didn't realize how much until this question arouse.
I had to go back a few modules.
Definition PLEASE?


Reading on...

And what I read left me asking even more questions.


I think I better give a little background on my beliefs first.
I am a Roman Catholic by birth and now by choice.

My whole life,
I had been taught, first in public school and then in college (via History) about Evolution and never given any reason to believe otherwise from my devout mother.
My Church taught me that God was the creator of all things.
If I ever questioned the interpretation of the story of Genesis and the theory of Evolution out loud, I don't recall my mother's response.
However, it has always been my belief that both Creation and Evolution co-existed.
It had never occurred to me to believe that it was 
Either/Or ...
and I still do not.

It blows my mind how different groups can change the definition of words to encompass such rigid all encompassing theories to manipulate and force their own personal agendas.

Those who win the war or those with the most power write the history (or science.)

This doesn't necessarily mean the "TRUTH".

For some reason a while back, I asked my priest...
"As a Catholic Priest and teacher, what is your position on Creation -vs- Evolution?"

His response was
"Intelligent Design"

I never really gave it much thought, until NOW.
I suppose I just assumed
and DON'T LAUGH ...
that this meant intelligent individuals could not dispute all the findings that supported evolution but still had faith that God created the "world".
Who knows how long a "day" was in the beginning it could have been millions of years or even billions.
So here I am TODAY...
teaching my daughter science.

The only science I took in college was 2 years of Psychology and 1 of Sociology.

I dropped out before I had the opportunity to take Biology, Chemistry or even to receive my teaching degree.
(what I had originally gone to school for)

I am feeling a bit like a fish out of water...
however, I am "adapting".

So what is "Intelligent Design" 
... really?

The theory of intelligent design holds that certain features of the universe and of living things are best explained by an intelligent cause, not an undirected process such as natural selection

How Intelligent Design Works

by: How Stuff Works

Intelligent design (ID) is a form of creationism based on the argument from designand promulgated by the Discovery Institute, a politically conservative think tank based in the United States.
defined by: Wikipedia 

There are as many opinions and definitions of Intelligent Design 
as there are branches of 
(a lot has "evolved" since the council of Nicaea and the reign of Henry VIII)

So I tried to dig a little deeper into this subject of Intelligent Design.
And came across a movie on 

A very good movie I must say!
Then another one ...

My head was spinning after these two movies.
I am so glad I didn't watch them both in the same day or even two.
My head would probably have exploded if I had watched them back to back.

I have come to the conclusion that all this debate is a bunch of political crap!
And I also have to say that I am sick to death of 

I am a REGISTERED Independent and proud of it!
Every side with their holier than thou talking points and sound bites.
There is no such thing as a "One Size Fits All"
in politics, education or faith.
People have become LAZY in all of these affairs!
And quite frankly rather apathetic as well!
Especially in thought and faith!
I am guilty as well.
There is no such thing as a true Liberal or Conservative.
If people were completely honest, they would have to admit that they share a little of BOTH fundamentally, depending on the subject.
We as humans, as citizens and spiritual beings are far more complex than any label can give us.
People have gotten so caught up with defending their position or rather bashing someone else's
that the actual pursuit of TRUTH is lost.

I know that I had been struggling with whether I should send Mary back to public school or not...
and now I am all the more convinced than ever, that I have made the right decision for 

From the statistics I have seen...

Between 80-90% of Americans believe in God.
And most people believe that dinosaurs existed.
when you throw this word out there
ev·o·lu·tion  (v-lshn, v-)
1. A gradual process in which something changes into a different and usually more complex or better form. See Synonyms at development.
a. The process of developing.
b. Gradual development.
3. Biology
a. Change in the genetic composition of a population during successive generations, as a result of natural selection acting on the genetic variation among individuals, and resulting in the development of new species.
b. The historical development of a related group of organisms; phylogeny.
4. A movement that is part of a set of ordered movements.
5. Mathematics The extraction of a root of a quantity.

It seems as if folks heads start to spin around and split pea soup starts shooting from their mouths by the mere mention of the word, EVOLUTION.

This is SCIENCE we are talking about.
Science: an area of knowledge that is an object of study.
This is where we study the natural world using the scientific method.
Which deals with observable facts and conclusions.

It was once scientific law that the sun revolved around the world and that Pluto was a planet.
So is't all theory, disguised as scientific fact til another scientist comes along with their own theory or observable facts?

A safe drug yesterday, gives you cancer today.
"Truth" and "Fact" is constantly changing/evolving.

Do you care?
You probably don't unless you are teaching, preaching or being tested.

So... I care!

I am teaching.

I don't understand why politicians or scientists keep trying to make Intelligent design a fundamental Christian / Creationist agenda.
It doesn't push or force a belief in God...
it merely leaves room to ask questions.
It gives argument to Darwin's idea of Random Mutation.
And argues that there is nothing RANDOM about nature.

Or why those same folks want to claim that Evolution means a lack of belief in God.

Politicians are mandating what to teach our children thus what is printed in textbooks.
This is not just in science either.
It's is also relevant to what is taught in our history books.

To exclude God, religion, religious leaders or an oppressed minority from our history is not giving an accurate portrait of history.
I understand the overwhelming difficulty of deciding who's truth to present.
I don't believe that this is what Thomas Jefferson meant by the "separation of church and state" either.

If I thought that it was time consuming to homeschool...
Picking through every bit of information out there.
Choosing a style of education, then curricula and now I have to go through it all again with a fine tooth comb.

I can't imagine how overwhelming it would be to comb through what is being taught in Public Schools.  That's a lot of State and Local Board of Education meetings, text reading and honestly sitting in during lectures.

Or I could just have faith that all these hands of absolute strangers and political agendas have my child's best interest in mind at all times.
I know that I sound like an absolute control freak.
And honestly I am.
However, this is MY child I am talking about.
The most important job of my life...
is to make sure that she is given the tools to become a healthy, happy and prepared adult.

That's my JOB!
Not to be a consumer, to accumulate wealth or status, and not to blindly follow the herd.

My sister's 1 simple question has turned our "classroom" upside down.
This is how God works in MY life...
and I am grateful!
because of this ONE question,
Bill is taking more of an interest in Mary's lessons where he wasn't before.

It is my belief ...

that we all learn, especially children by asking questions.

Thankfully I have been given an opportunity to create a 
in which all questions are relevant and openly discussed.  
My daughter is able to question what she reads and is allowed to study and pursue knowledge instead of being taught that there is only one correct answer...
or one side to history.
To be given only one story is not FAITH or KNOWLEDGE.
Seeking truth and freely choosing your path however allows room for the seed of FAITH and knowledge to grow.
I was once told 

the best teachers are those who are teachable.

And that when the student is ready the teacher will appear!

I truly am BLESSED!


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