As I write this, on the other side of our island, homes and businesses are being threatened by a steady flow of lava. Some people have been calling for the government to take drastic measures to try to stop the flow but the response from government officials has been to let “Pele have her way”. “She (Pele) is just cleaning house and who are we to stand in her way?” Over and over the mantra is repeated to the public to “respect Pele” and “stay out of Pele’s way.” So much for separation of church and state. The government can impose all kinds of religious jargon on the people as long as it’s a pagan religion they’re espousing. Can you imagine the uproar that would ensue if the same officials claimed this lava flow to be the will of God and “who are we to stand in the Almighty’s way?” Just a side note though, really. What I really wanted to write about was this: Those are our four older boys and Tom standing on British Soil! And guess what? They paddled all the way there! If you ever come to the Big Island, a must see sight (besides the active volcano and beautiful beaches) is the Captain Cook Monument which actually belongs by Hawaiian Royal Decree to Great Britain! The only way to get there is via a really long hike (read about that adventure here) or by hiring one of several licensed kayak tours. The parents of one of Tom’s students just happen to have said license and offered to take Tom and the boys across Kealakekua Bay on Saturday (Gideon and I opted for a walk to Farmers Market and a slice of quiche at a local coffee shop instead. Poor us :)). Anyway, here are the boys paddling out on their Big Adventure: And here they are are enjoying the world-class snorkeling awaiting them on the other side of the bay: Here’s some more under-water pictures just because they’re fun and they happened to take about 100:
When they got back home they were bursting with stories to tell of the amazing creatures they saw and all the interesting things they heard from their guide (he just happened to be a local private homeschooling tutor on the side and knew just how to talk to our boys in order to keep them completely enraptured throughout the entire excursion). One of the stories he told them was how the Demi-god “Maui” had created Hawaii on a fishing trip with his brothers by getting a snag on the ocean floor and as his brothers rowed they pulled up this chain of islands! “Isn’t that silly!” My boys were quick to assure me of their own disbelief in such myths. But actually, when I heard it, it sounded quite feasible. At least a lot more feasible than the other explanations we’re inundated with about there being some “Big Bang” which accidentally resulted in this: and this: and this: and this: I could go on. But my point is: That fish tail about the demigod, Maui, is a whole lot more believable than the one about you and I being the result of an accidental explosion of nothing. All of this was heavy on my mind as I headed off on my own Saturday adventure just hours after their return. Once a week I volunteer a couple hours at Mokuakaua Church and give tours and a history talk about the first missionaries bringing the gospel to this island in 1820. Some guy named James Michener is responsible for profligating a whole bunch of myths about a truly miraculous story and I have to hear his version every Saturday as tourists step off the cruise ship and through the doors of our historic church. My job is to dispel those myths with the true light of the gospel just as it was shown on this dark, death-filled land with the arrival of a few humble servants and a box full of Bibles two centuries ago. Michener’s version reminds me a lot of that fish story of “Maui’s”. And of a similar one by a guy named “Darwin.” And the one about the volcano-god, Pele, that our local government officials are so fond of repeating. It’s all the same story. The one without Jesus in it.
Moms and Dads, Grandmas and Grandpas, we have one very important task. It’s the same one Paul had in mind when he wrote these words to the Corinthians: “For the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh but have divine power to destroy strongholds. We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ (2 Cor. 10:5).” God has called us to rage war against the lies of our age, not to turn a blind eye to the Godless narratives of our time. A story minus Christ, is a myth and a lie. It’s not “History.” And it’s not “Science.” It’s a futile suppression of the one truth, The Author of Everything. As Paul also says in Romans, “For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. For his invisible attributes, namely his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse. For although they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened…they exchanged the truth about God for a lie (Rom.1:19-25).” What’s even more pathetic, is that it’s not even a good lie! Seriously. Explosions of nothing and cosmic fishing mishaps? And they think we’re crazy for believing in Jesus. Get out there and shine the light people! That’s the greatest adventure of all!