The family packed up and visited my parents this weekend in (even more) rural Oklahoma.
A good time was had by all. My father and I had some misadventures in the woods (I even caught the toolbox on the back of his Ford on fire), we all went dancing, and we topped it off with a visit to the local First Baptist Church, where my parents are members in good standing.
While in what qualifies for woods in Oklahoma, I was able to get in a little quality discussion time with my father, something I don't get enough of anymore. My father and I are a bit notorious about our talks. We can go on for hours over topics ranging from metaphysics and morality to the fate and quality of the modern public education system. We can both be outspoken and outraged while being totally wrong at the same time. Discussions with my father have taught me more about critical thinking and defending your opinion (right or wrong) than anything else in my life. I can't number how many times I've defended to the hilt a position I've later completely changed on later.
Sunday morning we all got dressed up and headed for the biggest church in town. It was a pretty mild start for my church attendance. I grew up there. This was the church that gave me a monogrammed Bible when I graduated from high school. I knew more of the people than I didn't. It was a homecoming, and I can see why so many people get a lot out of the whole community side of the churchgoing experience.
Services were your typical fare. Hymns, anecdotes from life combined with verses. Nothing really to get my ire up. I have a lot of respect for the pastor. He grew up on South Africa, the son of missionaries, and he has a perspective that is refreshing for a Baptist minister. Of course, I strongly disagree with much of his worldview, but he's downright progressive considering the community he's in. He constantly keeps the older members of the church on the edges of their seats with what outrageous thing he'll do next. This time, it was actually allowing young women to be the ushers during the passing of the plate. Can you imagine? What will he do next, allow a woman to fill in for him?
I'm torn between thinking he's part of the problem (a la Sam Harris' diatribes) and being grateful that a closet liberal is there pushing for mild reforms when there could be a bigoted polemicist preaching the subjugation of women and homosexuals.
And now...Baby pics!
Sporting her camo outfit with daddy.
Quality time with grandpa.
Never to young to learn to two-step.
She loves her mom.
Tuckered out with grandma.
PZ Myers never rode one of these.
ps. My wife is currently matching the baby's outfit colors so we can take her walking...just in case someone sees her in the dark.