Category Archives: Wendy Welch

The Monday Book: THE ROCKS DON’T LIE by David R. Montgomery

Guest writer Paul Garrett brings us the Monday Book this week.

It is common knowledge in the Christian west that sometime in the dim chambers of pre-history, God caused a great flood to cover the earth and destroyed all life except a small cadre of beings sequestered on a large boat. After all, it was written right there in the book of Genesis, and the Bible couldn’t be wrong. Could it?

In The Rocks Don’t Lie (Norton, 2012) The Geologist David Montgomery traces the history of the flood story and its effects on science, especially Geology.

For centuries, natural scientists clung to the Biblical flood as a foregone conclusion but were at a loss to come up with explanations for things they saw that contradicted the flood story, such as fossils of large animals in rocks, and were loath to explain where the fantastic amount of water it would take to cover the entire earth to a depth of several thousand feet came from and where it went. They made up fantastic theories to explain these anomalies, clinging to the idea that, according to Bible scholars, the earth was only around 6,000 years old.

Two consequential events put the Bible story in a different light.  In 1788 James Hutton discovered a rock outcrop on the coast of Scotland that could only have been formed over billions of years, not a few thousand. He had discovered geologic time. (The photo of the outcrop decorates the book cover). In 1872, a man named George Smith working at the British museum translating piles of broken cuneiform tablets from centuries before the Torah was written, discovered a flood story almost identical to the one in Genesis. Was the Genesis story a copy of a much earlier text? (Irving Finkel, also of the British Museum, built a proof-of-concept vessel based on the ancient Babylonian blueprint. You can watch the story here.)

But while the people in the new field of geology slowly came to realize the earth could not have been shaped by a single enormous flood, fundamentalists dug in their heels, refusing to believe the discoveries, or making up fanciful theories of their own to explain them away.

Montgomery, who was raised a fundamentalist, points out that flood stories exist all over the world.  In Mesopotamia, where the Genesis story takes place there have been several devastating floods throughout history that could have wiped out the “world” as the locals knew it to be. These stories are often passed down orally. Noah’s flood is probably one of them. But even if it is fake, the flood story works as well as anallegory as it does history.

The Rocks don’t Lie is a fascinating story of the tug of war between facts and dogma, and its lessons are just as applicable today as they were over 200 years ago.

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With a Little Help – –

Jack makes it on time again – –

Our bathtub and bathroom sink hadn’t drained for a few weeks (don’t worry, we had alternatives).

When our current problem arose we didn’t want to trouble Leroy , a good friend retired from the plumbing trade who has bailed us out (no pun intended) in the past. So we asked our local friends here in Wytheville if they could recommend someone. Wendy (a different Wendy who lives nearby and enjoys our flowers on her walks) came back very quickly with a suggestion. Within a day the local plumber arrived. He worked hard but eventually had to admit defeat after sending his snake down every orifice in the tub to no avail.

To his credit he never once uttered a swear word, because Wendy (my Wendy, you know, the lives-here one not the sniffs-flowers one) had a Zoom meeting.

He promised to phone a friend, another plumber who worked for a different company. As he was about to leave without charging us, I asked him if he did electrical work too and he duly set to and fixed the two non-working outlets in the kitchen. In essence, he charged us. Get it? Oh, never mind.

A couple of days later the second plumber arrived with a helper and they also got going, but this time with an electrical snake that would brook no denials. They also tried every bathtub orifice and came up empty—although the bathtub came up with several inches of black gunge. I was glad Wendy (mine) was on another Zoom so she couldn’t see what was happening to her beloved bathtub.

They finally had a look at the sink and sent the now frustrated snake down under there. It came back triumphantly bearing gifts – chewed up hair and soap. I am pretty sure it was singing Eye of the Tiger beneath its load.

The message of this is how friends can help in various ways and plumbers and their snakes can actually be friends too!

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Filed under between books, home improvements, humor, Life reflections, small town USA, Uncategorized, VA, Wendy Welch