I am slowly making progress on the big evolution/creation book. I passed the 25,000 word mark yesterday (Whoo hoo!) but my contract calls for 100,000 words (D’oh!). I am nowhere near running out of things to say, but I am such a painfully slow writer that 75,000 more words seems like an awful lot. I am one of those people who writes a sentence, then stares at it for a while, then runs off to play three games of internet chess before deleting it and trying again. Oh well. All you can do is keep chipping away.
Which is my long-winded way of saying that blogging is going to continue to be very sporadic around here for a while. If you want something to read, I recommend Gina Welch’s new book In the Land of Believers in which she describes the two years she spent undercover at Jerry Falwell’s Thomas Road Baptist Church. I’m about two-thirds of the way through it, and I am finding it completely engrossing. It makes a nice companion piece to Kevin Roose’s book The Unlikely Disciple, which describes the semester he spent undercover at Liberty University after transferring from Brown. It is also excellent.
My book has a number of similarities to theirs. Some differences, too. For one thing, my book is based specifically on my experiences at evolution/creation conferences, unlike Roose and Welch who focus more on evangelical Christianity generally. For another, whereas they are writing primarily as journalists, I intend to use my experiences as a springboard for discussing various issues of math and science. Probably the biggest difference is that they were both undercover, whereas I was most definitely above cover. The fact remains that I recognize the sorts of people they describe in their books. I well know the feeling of liking them personally while being horrified by many of the things they believe.
Welch, like me, is a secular Jew, while Roose, as I recall, came from a background of liberal Christianity. I wonder what it is that makes fairly extreme forms of religion seem so fascinating to us.