Keeper of the Stories

open book

I first became aware of the phrase, “Keeper of the Stories” when I began to research lighthouses and their keepers.  These men and sometimes women of yesteryear, also referred to as “Guardians of the Light”, were considered people of honor and respect though their work was very hard and lonely at times.  They were in charge of saving ships in distress, sending out warning signals, and keeping the lights polished and in pristine working order, always ready for an approaching storm.

An important part of the lighthouse keepers job was to keep the log books.  Daily journals recorded the weather and the number and type of ships passing through their waters.  But it also contained much more.  The keepers detailed the stories of daily life at the lighthouse, important events of the time, wrecks and rescues, visitors, and any other local happenings.  The logbooks became a history of that particular life and time, and they were passed down to the next lighthouse keeper.  These men and women became Keepers of the Stories.

November 13, 1880: The sunset is behind a bank of dark clouds, yet it is not gloomy for the poets, and our good sense teaches us there is a Silver Lining beyond. – Calumet Harbor Lighthouse logbook, Lake Michigan.

The apostles during Jesus’ time were also Keepers of the Stories.
While Jesus walked the Earth, He commissioned His apostles to go and tell others about His story.  The apostles told a personal and powerful story of Jesus’ love for humankind.

With great power, the apostles were giving their testimony to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus.  Acts 4:33

The first women at the scene of Christ’s resurrection were Keepers of the Stories.

After the Sabbath, at dawn on the first day of the week, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary went to look at the tomb. There was a violent earthquake, for the angel of the Lord came down from heaven and, going to the tomb, rolled back the stone and sat on it. His appearance was like lightning, and his clothes were white as snow. The guards were so afraid of him that they shook and became like dead men. The angel said to the women, “Do not be afraid, for I know that you are looking for Jesus, who was crucified. He is not here; he has risen, just as he said. Come and see the place where he lay. Then go quickly and tell his disciples.  Matthew 28:1-8

Jesus often told parables to the people of His time.
Science has since proven that stories stimulate the part of the brain where our memories are stored.  We remember them almost as if they happened to us.  Our brains are wired to pull meaning from stories.  Facts which are not attached to meaning are quickly forgotten.

We are Keepers of the Stories.
We all have stories to tell – stories that heal, stories that help, stories of hope, and stories of faith.  You have your own unique story.  Continue the Story!
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The Keepers of the Light

We are the keepers of that steadfast light
That guides a people’s course and destiny;
Not ours the skill directing over the sea
The mighty beams that blaze the path aright:
Ours but the hands that, serving, keep it bright.
The bringers of the oil, the workers we
Who day long, without pause and faithfully,
Toil that its radiance may pierce the night.
Above us are the wills that guide and turn:
It is not ours to watch nor question these:
Ours but to see each wick is trimmed and fit.
Lest on a night of storm it fails to burn
And a Great Ship goes down in awful seas.
O, Keepers of the light, keep faith with it!

Theodosia Garrison, poet

My Response to the Debate (and the great printer mystery)

Did you watch or hear about yesterday’s Evolution vs. Creationism Debate between Bill Nye (Science Guy) and Ken Ham (Answers in Genesis CEO)?  I’m glad we’re having this open debate, but there is nothing that “ruffles my feathers” more for me than walking into a museum somewhere and seeing a definitive statement of how the earth is billions of years old.  When this happens, my family will look cautiously over at me, shaking their head and thinking, “uh oh, here she goes again”.  By my nature, I am a very factual and logical person, which serves me well in my computer career.  Computers always have a reason for every action.  Nothing can happen in a computer unless it has been instructed to do so by its programmer or designer.  Whenever I encounter a computer error at work, it will easily drive me crazy until I figure out the cause of the problem.  Most of the time, errors are caused by missing logic rather than from the logic already given.  Yet, with all of the lines of code and instructions contained in a computer, nothing can happen until someone turns it on.

So what about debate from last night?  Last year I wrote an article called “Music and Science” that explains many of the facts and details about the subject, but my logical conclusion after watching last night’s debate can be summarized by the following:

Neither belief system can be completely proven or disproven (evolutionism/atheism is also a “belief”), so it gets down to only one thing  – whether you believe in God or not. The rest is just back-and-forth debate. It’s that simple.

The one question I would like to ask Bill Nye and other evolutionists is this:

How do you explain miracles and other mysteries?  People have encountered angels, spirits, and other miracles that cannot be explained by science.  If you believe evolution’s version of the facts, then these things cannot possibly happen.  I think most people would tend to disagree with that.

And this brings me to my printer… believe it or not, it holds the answer. One morning my son and I were rushing off to school as usual, and he had forgotten to print his report from the night before. He tried to print it quickly before leaving, but the printer would not work and he asked me to look at it. I checked it out and everything was turned on and the wireless was working. I punched all the buttons on the printer but nothing would come out. The error said the router settings needed to be entered, and that there was no connection set up for the printer.  This can’t be, I thought, and I frantically prayed to God to get the printer working for us. We were running late and my son had worked so hard on his paper, and I knew a late grade might mean failing the class. Right after I had whispered my prayer, the printer spewed out the report.  I didn’t understand how that could happen, but I just grabbed the paper and ran out the door.  All day at work I wondered about that printer and how it could have suddenly worked.  As soon as I returned home, I went straight to the printer to try it out.  It still said the same thing, that you must enter the router information and passcode.  I went to each computer in the house but was unsuccessful in getting any of them to print again.  For two days, every time I walked by that printer sitting on the floor, I would obsessively try to get it to print again without changing anything.  There had to be some logical explanation, but nothing came.  Finally, I surrendered to re-entering the router information and the printer started up immediately.  There was no explanation or theory that could explain why it worked just that one time on that morning, other than God in His caring way had intervened.  So whenever someone challenges my science and logic, I just smile and think of that printer!little feet

Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see.  This is what the ancients were commended for. By faith we understand that the universe was formed at God’s command, so that what is seen was not made out of what was visible.  Hebrews 11:1-3

Music and Science

I’ve had Coldplay running through my head for days now – not the cold type, but the musical group. I was listening to their album during one of my runs last week – A Rush of Blood to the Head, from 2002.  Their rhythm is precise and methodical.  It has a familiar, monotonic beating of chords that stays repetitively in your head for awhile.  Their music always reminds me of science and order and logic, so it was not too surprising to see that one of their songs from this album is called The Scientist.  My math and science-minded background fits right into this type of melody, always questioning and analyzing, trying to fit all the pieces of the puzzle together and to make sense of it all.  Though I usually like to write more about things of the heart, today my mind is stuck in Coldplay’s version of science, so I will stay with the facts.

Contrary to what some may think about science and religion, science actually supports a lot of the evidence for God.  Though we cannot fully prove God or all of the historical accounts from the Bible, we cannot disprove them either.  My two favorite areas of science are found in the creation of the earth and in the most cataclysmic event ever to happen on earth, the great flood.

The creation account found in the book of Genesis follows a specific order of events, starting with light then water, to sea creatures, next are the birds, and then the land animals and man.  This follows the same order of events described by big-bang theorists and evolution scientists from thousands of years later.  The author of Genesis could not have known any particular scientific order, as it was not even known at the time that the world was round.  This does not prove any theories, but rather it proves that the Bible did not follow a random made-up order of creationism that can be disproved by today’s science.  Usually this brings up the next question about how the earth can be billions of years old and still follow Biblical accounts.  On the third day of creation, God created “the fruit tree yielding fruit” (Genesis 1:12).  God created these trees already grown and having fruit.  The trees could have been 100 years old, or even billions of years old at the time.

Another way to see the extraordinary order in our universe is by looking at Fibonacci numbers.  Sometimes called the golden number or golden ratio, Fibonacci numbers are a systematic number scheme that keeps showing up in nature all around us.  A 13th century Italian mathematician named Leonardo of Pisa, or more commonly known as Fibonacci, discovered this number sequence in nature.  Starting with the number one, you add the previous two numbers in the sequence to generate the next one.  So the sequence starts as 1, 2, 3, 5, 8, 13, 21, 34 and so on.  (1+2=3, 2+3=5, 3+5=8, 5+8=13…).  You can find Fibonacci numbers throughout nature by counting the spiral arrangements in one direction on a pinecone or pineapple, or the spiral growth of leaf buds, or in the number of flower petals.  Black-Eyed Susan flowers have 13 petals, and Shasta Daisies usually have 21 or 34.  What does this mean?  It shows that nature was created by a magnificently planned event, and there is much more than meets the normal eye.
An engineer once explained to me that humans hear at about a 20 khz level.  We cannot hear the higher sounds of radio, cellular, and television waves, but they are still there, all around us all the time.  Even more, we cannot hear a high-pitched dog whistle but a dog certainly can.  There are more layers to our universe than what we can immediately see and hear.

There was once a great cataclysmic event that happened on our earth.  Science supports this and shows further evidence of such an event.  The continents started as a large land mass surrounded by water, and then later separated.  This is also referenced in Genesis 1:9, “Let the waters under the heaven be gathered together into one place, and let the dry land appear.”  Later while Noah was on the ark, Genesis 7:11 says, “on the same day were all the fountains of the great deep broken up”.  And after the great flood happened, Genesis 10:25 mentions it in more detail when talking about the decendants of Noah: “and unto Eber were born two sons: the name of one was Peleg; for in his days was the earth divided; and his brother’s name was Joktan.”  This shows the account of how the land split open and the waters came up from the deep, splitting apart the continents in an accelerated continental drift.  More recently, in the 1950’s, a mountain range was discovered called the Mid-Oceanic Ridge.  It is 40,000 miles long beneath the oceans and wraps completely around the earth.  It is concluded to be the result of a world-wide fissure in the earth’s crust.  The authors of the Bible could not have made something up so precisely to fit a science that was discovered thousands of years later.  Additionally, the Bible says that the peoples of the earth were scattered after the flood, which would allow everyone to have experienced the same flood together.  Today, every culture on earth has a similar story of a great flood with amazingly similar details.  Only if they were scattered after the flood could such an explaination be plausible.  

It still seems unbelievable sometimes, with all these grand stories in the Bible.  But the world was a different place back then.  It was newly created; people didn’t have history or books or all of the tools we have today.  Things could have easily been different, and probably were.  If the people from the Bible saw a glimpse of our world today, with cars, planes, computers, bombs, and lasers, they would never believe it was possible.  Now think backwards to their time.  We wouldn’t think their world was possible either.  The problem with our belief is not in trying to explain or disprove anything.  If we believe there is a God that created our universe, then surely that God can do anything else.  Otherwise, what is the purpose of believing?  Then the question simply becomes, do we believe, not what can we prove.  So thank you, scientists, for all your wonderful discoveries in space, medicine, and technology, and keep on believing!
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Coldplay actually said it quite well.  I hope this stays in your head too.
“I was just guessing at numbers and figures
Pulling the puzzles apart
Questions of science, science and progress
Do not speak as loud as my heart.”