Monday, April 26, 2004

Androgynous Earthworms and Noah's Ark
I teach Sunday School for our mid/senior high youth at church. That might sound like a big job, but yesterday the mid/senior youth consisted of Monica (6th grade) and her friends Rachel (3rd grade) and Phoebe (6th grade and from outside the US – her english is questionable). And yesterday was a good day for attendance – usually only Monica shows up. Monica is a very nice kid, but it is very discouraging when only person shows up to your class. It is a small church, but I know there are more kids out there.

Anyway, in Sunday School yesterday we read the story of the flood and Noah’s ark. I have a hard time generating meaningful discussion with this group. The most relevant conversation was started when Monica wanted to know if there were worms (earthworms, specifically I think) on the ark. And if so, how did they handle the whole male/female thing because apparently she just learned in science that earthworms have both male and female reproductive organs (or whatever worms have). You know what? I had absolutely no idea how to answer that. I think I must be the world’s worst Sunday school teacher.

As we were reading the story the pragmatist in my head started going. How in the world could Noah fit two of every creature on one ship? The questions proceeded from there. When I got home, I read a little bit of Borg’s “The Heart of Christianity.” He was discussing “metaphorical” interpretations of scripture. He described the Bible as having “more than literal truth.” Not that any particular passage is true or untrue, but that almost every passage possess truth beyond literal/factual truth. So we can argue about the literal truth of the Bible, or even agree to disagree, but that Christians should be able to discuss the larger truths in the Bible that may be more meaningful than the literal factuality of a passage.

So what does Noah’s story tell us? Umm, I’m not sure I can answer that with any confidence. I’m feeling more confident though, that we don’t have to worry too much about androgynous earthworms.

Though I do have a question – presumably the flood was freshwater (from rain). So what happened to all the little fishies in the salty sea? I didn’t see any specifications for a large saltwater tank on the ark. Deep, pressing question, I know.

Just in case you’re curious, a joint US-Turkish expedition is searching for Noah’s Ark this summer. Apparently some people believe an object nestled on Turkey's Mount Ararat is the ark. I don’t know what else to say…



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