What can you say about a trip to the UFO festival in Roswell? A little weird, a little informative, a little depressing (wiht respect to how ET has become a religion to many). Overall, though, very worthwhile. I enjoy meeting interesting people and catching up with friends. So, some random thoughts:
Rich and Karyn Dolan – it was great to have dinner with Rich and Karyn. I always enjoy listening to them. Rich’s new book (the follow-up to his “UFOs and the National Security State”) will be finished and available in the next couple weeks, Rich assured me. Can’t wait for it.
Derrel Sims – Derrel is always fun and interesting. Visit his website for why that might be! Since I was mostly a tourist this year, I got to attend two of his workshops: one on implants and another on forensic evidence related to the abduction experience.
The Christian UFO Symposium – The symposium was organized under the auspices of Roswell’s “Alien Resistance” team of Guy & Nicole Malone, Joe Jordan, and Chris Ward. The event marked the ten year anniversary of the ARHQ. I really didn’t hear much fallout with respect to last year’s controversy set off by Joe Jordan’s talk about how abductees stop the experience through faith in and appeals to Jesus Christ. In fact, person who would not be in the Christian camp told me he thought the controvesy was overdone since Joe has a gentle personality. Just an observation. Chris and Guy were a blessing; I enjoy hearing them pray at these things. Incidentally, I have heard that (sometime in August?) there is supposed to be a debate between Joe Jordan and Peter Robbins on the matter of ET and religion. I don’t know much more than that, excep tto say that Peter Robbins is slated to give a talk related to that issue at MUFON’s 40th International UFO Symposium in November. I don’t think Peter Robbins has any formal training in religion, or any ministerial experience, so this talk has the feel of a potential diatribe against people like Joe being involved in studying UFOs. I hope that isn’t the case. His talk’s title gives me that vibe: “Politics, Religion, and Human Nature: Roadblocks on the Path to Disclosure.” Pretty odd. I don’t know any Christian involved in the subject that doesn’t want the public to know what is going on with respect to UFOs. The title suggests Robbins is competely (blissfully?) unaware of the recent surveys on ET life and religious people like the Peters Survey. Who knows.
Bill Alnor – I didn’t know Bill was suffering from cancer. He came to Roswell in the middle of his chemo treatments. I pray for his healing and joy at this awful time. Bill was a pioneer in terms of Christian involvement in the UFO subject. I was struck again through his talk and Guy Malone’s how much contactee testimony is directed squarely at Christian theological concepts and no other world religion. Pretty striking. For those who doubt that (and who have something of a grasp of Christianity), I’d recommend his book.
Gary Bates – Really enjoyed meeting Gary for the first time. Gary represents Creation Ministries International, which promotes a literalist approach to the Genesis creation account (i.e., the traditional six 24 hr. day creation view). There were some at the event that seemed to think we were at odds with each other. The only reason I can think for that was my review of his book some years ago. While I stand by the review, only someone who thinks disagreement means dislike (some pretty sloppy logic there) would conclude I have any problems with Gary. I don’t. I was impressed with his character and sincerity throughout the event. More bluntly: I liked him. Readers know that I am much more tolerant of evolution than he is, but the fact of the matter is that I am so for two simple reasons: (1) I have personally known a number of top-flight scientists who are serious evangelical Christians who are theistic evolutionists or progressive creationists,1 and (2) I’m not a scientist, so I don’t really know when any of the arguments and counter-arguments about science are right or wrong. There are certainly some things about evolution that seem to defy coherence and logic in my mind, and my “non literalist Genesis” friends certainly were “guilty” of some pretty questionable exegesis at points in their understanding of Genesis. Likewise, I don’t think Answers in Genesis has a consistent hermeneutical approach to Genesis either. And that brings me to the heart of the matter: I care about the biblical text and what it can sustain since that’s my area of expertise. Genesis 1 allows a fairly wide latitude of interpretive options. I say this not because I care about making scientists happy, but because I understand Hebrew grammar and syntax and the ancient Israelite worldview. Gary and I can disagree on items, but for my part, I like him.
Russ Dizdar – This was also the first time I met Russ, whose focus and vocational experience deal with ministry to victims and law enforcement personnel in the area of satanic ritual abuse, as well as those who suffer from dissociative disorder. Russ also has a depth of knowledge with respect to the occult. Enjoyed meeting him and talking to him.
Mike Bennett (aka, “Dr. Future”) – Mike is an engineer (complete with PhD in that field) who hosts a daytime Christian radio show in Nashville (“Future Quake“) that includes serious interviews in the fields of occult, conspiracy, politics, UFOs, and anything else that floats his boat. That makes him something of an anomaly in Christian radio, which basically focuses on preaching and music. He’s pulled off some real interview “coups” recently (national figures) so check him out. I’ve known Mike for a few years and always look forward to time spent with him.
Transformers 2 – Saw it in Roswell (where else?). I’d give it a 7 out of 10. Amazing special effects, same old tired-out ancient astronaut mythology (and hardly as thoughtful as Knowing or other recent films).
Tattoos - my daughter got her first tattoo this year in Roswell. Isaiah 41:10 in paleo-Hebrew script. Frankly, I was amazed at how cool it looked. Amy is very skilled at her art / vocation. She and her husband Free were major forces behind the city of Roswell’s festival organization. I heard they had well over 700 registered conference attendees, which was a total that witnessed to the success of the events and their efforts. Both of them are a blessing (but no, I’m not getting a tattoo).
Lastly, I really enjoyed meeting readers of The Facade, readers of my blogs, and others interested in what I do. Makes the effort worthwhile. In particular Keith, Kevin, Mike, Flynn, David, Barney, and Gary were brand new acquaintances that made my week.