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October 1996

Our Purpose...

As we walked along the bluff trail last month, I was looking at the designs in the sandstone rocks, and that brought to mind the changes in, and on, the earth over time. I want to discuss an even more controversial subject this month than last month - evolution. I don't have a great problem with the fact that there is a theory of evolution - there's a lot of observable evidence that species do continue to develop. And I don't know all about the "laws of nature", put in place by God, which He intended to be used when He said "Let the land produce living creatures according to their kinds..." (Genesis 1:24 NIV). It seems to me that some evolutionary processes could be in place, not contradictory to the truth of God's creation. And while I think it should be taught strictly as a theory, many of the things that are taught in our schools as fact are in reality theory - electricity for example - so that's not what bothers me most about evolution. What bothers me most is the subtle deification of evolution that is contained in statements like "The giraffe developed a long neck in order to better reach the higher leaves on the trees." This attributes creative intelligence to the process of evolution. The creative intelligence which resulted in each and every species which has every been on earth is that of our Lord. If any kind of evolution of did occur (I don't know!) it was completely under the control, guidance, and intelligence of our sovereign God.

Romans 1:25 "They exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshiped and served created things rather than the Creator - who is forever praised. Amen. "

Our Next Outing...
On October 19 we'll hike on Standing Indian Mountain in western North Carolina. We'll leave the church parking lot promptly at 9:00 AM - please be there by 8:45. We'll have lunch during the walk up the mountain, enjoy an evening meal of some sort (hot dogs, maybe?), and then watch the sunset from atop Standing Indian Mountain. The hour-long walk back down the mountain may be a bit dark, so bring a flashlight.

The trailhead is about a two-hour drive from Chattanooga, so we'll be getting back into town fairly late. We'll have two hikes available - a strenuous 5 or 6 mile route from the Nantahala River to the top, which Dave Ridge will lead, and a short-but-steep 1.75 mile hike up the Appalachian Trail to the top of the mountain from Deep Gap.

Standing Indian Mountain is one of the tallest mountains in the southeast at 5,499 feet. We anticipate that it will cool off significantly, especially after sunset, so make sure you bring along a fairly warm jacket for the latter part of the hike. Read last week's newsletter for some general recommendations on preparation for cooler weather.

Here's an excerpt from the National Forestry Service Southern Nantahala Wilderness map:

'According to an ancient Cherokee legend, a long time ago a great winged monster swooped down and carried off an Indian child playing near the village. The huge creature took the child to a cave high up in the cliffs of a nearby mountain... An awesome, blinding bolt of lightning and a tremendous thunderclap came out of a clear sky to shatter much of the mountain, killing the beast and its offspring...

A Cherokee warrior, posted as a lookout near the cliff, not only was killed by the lightning but was turned to stone, some said as a punishment for being a poor sentry. Most of his figure has been worn away by the passing centuries, but a pillar of stone with an ill-defined "head" at the top still remains - all that is left of the "standing Indian."'

I anticipate being back at the church between 10:30 and 11:30 PM.


Carabiners. This is a love story.

I think man has had only a few great inventions in his short history. All of my adult life my list of great inventions has included the wheel, polio vaccine, and duct tape. But an addition to that list in the last few years has been the carabiner.

Developed by climbers as a tool to easily and safely connect their harnesses to their climbing ropes, the carabiner has become a tool which can be used in many activities to connect just about anything to just about anything else. The carabiner is a strong, light metal clip with an inward-opening "gate" which allows single-handed operation. The gate has a retainer so that it cannot open outward. Once clipped onto a rope, it stays clipped until something pushes the gate open. Since the rope is inside pushing outward on the gate, it usually can't accidentally force the gate open.

Carabiners come in a variety of shapes - all of them variations on a oval. Some are real ovals, some are D-shaped, and some are teardrop-shaped. There are also locking carabiners, which will ensure that the carabiner gate won't accidentally open.

Back to man's great inventions: Wheels are used only on my way to a hike. Sometimes I'll have a roll of duct tape in the car. I never take polio vaccine with me. But some of my carabiners always accompany me on a hike (and most everywhere else I go as well.)

I use carabiners to hang water bottles to the straps of my pack. For backpacking, I use them to hang my pack and other items from my "clothes line." They're used to hook my food bag onto my bear line. I use them as pulleys with various rope systems, including a "z-drag", which provides a doubling of pulling power to lift heavy loads - including one time when Cindy and I raised a large tree that the wind had blown down.

Since Lynn went to Uganda, my available supply of carabiners has dimished as she's learned their value. She used them to hook her water bottles onto her pack during their extensive walking through the Ugandan countryside. She used them to hang food on the walls of her hut to keep "critters" out of the food. The Ugandan children thought they were great toys, and one carabiner was even used as an example how the Lord keeps us "hooked onto Him" when we fall.

Maybe it's just infatuation with a piece of gear (and I am something of a gear freak), but I suspect my relationship with the carabiner will be a long-lasting one.

The Fine Print...


We're collecting $2 per seat, maximum of $5 per family for those riding in the church vans. This will help offset the cost of operating the vans.

Please give me any suggestions you might have for hikes, logistics, or content of this newsletter. PLEASE!

Future Hike Dates:

As of now, we're planning on a hike every third Saturday, these dates (locations subject to change): 10/19/96 (Standing Indian), 11/16/96 (Cloudland Canyon), 12/21/96 (Savage Gulf), 01/18/97 (Virgin Falls), 02/15/97 (Jack's River), 03/15/97 (North Chick), 04/19/97 (Gee Creek), 05/17/97, 06/21/97, 07/19/97, 08/16/97, 09/20/97, 10/18/97, 11/15/97, and 12/20/97.

Trip Registration:

Please see Cindy or Gerry at church on Sunday, Oct 13, or call us at [Phone # deleted]. We'd like for you to register even if you won't need transportation so we can keep track of who to expect to accompany us on the trip.