Sunday, June 17, 2007

The Oil Change Dinosaur Bible Story

sixty hours logged with an L on the back
road test date set
my son drives me everywhere these days
today is a marathon of car maintenance
tire change, fill-up, oil change, car wash
passing our time with what may be the final episode
of hanging out together
he is seventeen, after all

he’s a good driver
I relax and listen
he talks about hockey draft picks
alternate energy sources and hybrid cars
American politics

by the time we get to Speedi-Lube
he’s run out of topics
so we read the National Post
and drink “fresh spring water” from styro cups
in a submarine-shaped waiting room

that’s where he finds the article about the Creation Museum
the Creation Museum opened this Spring in Petersburg Kentucky
it’s a natural history museum
built on the premise that the Bible is the true literal history of life on earth

at the Creation Museum
God made the world and all its creatures in one week
so dinosaurs roamed the earth with Adam and Eve and all of their descendants

my son begins to argue science words
fossil record
carbon dating
DNA evidence

oil change guy interrupts him to ask me if I want Quaker State for $10 more
then goes back out to the shop
to pour dead dinosaurs into my car engine

I say to my son
“didn’t you hear? Noah took a stegasaurus on the arc
two stegasauri actually
and pterodactyls too
it wasn’t a dove that flew back with the olive branch
it was a pterodactyl”

“oh,” he says, “and Jacob and his sons worked at the quarry
they used brontosauri to pick up big rocks
at the end of the day, they slid down their brontosaurus necks
yelling, ‘Yabba Dabba Doo!’
oh! that was FRED FLINTSTONE!”

“I heard that as a boy, Jesus had a pet dinosaur
the dinosaur cured lepers and walked on water
haven’t you seen the pictures?”

“Mom, that was a shark
everyone knows Jesus had a pet shark
not a dinosaur”

we laugh at what some people think
we like to think it’s okay to believe what you choose to believe
as long as it doesn’t hurt others
or threaten our right to believe something else

oil change man presents me with my dipstick
I pay forty bucks and we head home
where I look up the Creation Museum on the internet

they have an online gift shop at the Creation Museum
you can buy a “Truth” fish auto emblem to
“combat the corruption of the Christian fish seen on so many cars today”
and an “After Eden T-shirt” to “Bring the Darwin Fish to his knees”
now it’s starting to sound like a threat

I also learn that a Canadian Creation Museum opened recently
near Drumheller Alberta
perhaps to bring those scientist unbelievers at the Royal Tyrrell Museum
to their knees

I am flooded with protectiveness
for my son
who is curious and playful with ideas about the world and God
whose imagination and intellect
allow him to reconcile science and faith without resorting
to a Flintstone version of Eden
and while I’d like to think he’s immunized against dogma
I know it’s a shark
that bites without warning, and I need to know he’s safe

so that evening, after supper
we walk the dog and talk some more
I’m pleased to know that at 17
he gets the idea of the Word of God
as allegory
rather than practical instructions for everyday living
if God is not a man in a white robe in the sky who smites people and parts seas
maybe God is someone or something different for each of us
an organizing principle
the “collective unconscious”
like the red letter L on the back of the car, maybe God is Love
the feeling that grips your heart when you are overwhelmed by the power of nature
or the reassurance of discussing divinity with a seventeen year old
who will soon be ready for more than a new driver permit

walking, and talking and thinking
I think that maybe
faith is a state of wanting to be more sure
the less sure we feel
the more desperate and imposing we are in our insistence
that others believe the same

I have to have faith
that seventeen year olds
will think about these things
and no matter what they see
or what they’re told
they’ll know that the truth is in them to find
on a journey as long and complicated as the DNA record of our hearts
the history of how we know what we believe

and that every one of us
has the L for learner our whole life long
and also the L for Love

question: do you think the meaning of life can be conveyed in a museum?

mompoet - learner

1 comment:

Jaakonpoika said...

Ever saw figures of Dinoglyfs & Dinolits documented by man in the historical era:
Biochemist, drop-out (M.Sci. Master of Sciing)