Faith For Dummies--Fly Fishing With Dub
Kenneth P Mowery
Years ago I lived next door to the perfect neighbor. His name was Dub. He was an avid sportsman and often included me on his Saturday adventures into the woods and wilds of Northern Colorado.
Dub has since gone on to his eternal reward, but I think about him often. My favorite memories of Dub center on the occasions when we grappled with spiritual matters. He often surprised me with his well thought out answers to my many questions. He made sense out of deep and profound concepts. Dub answered questions without making a person feel dumb and embarrassed for not knowing the answer.
I discovered this one fall morning on the first of many fishing expeditions with Dub. We loaded up his old truck with fly rods, waders and tackle. By 5 AM we were rumbling toward The Poudre canyon and the great fishing spot he had told me about.
The first light of dawn sliced through the canyon to meet us as we donned our gear and began making our way down to the treasured "s" curves of the river below. Dub stopped and pointed silently at the river. Looking down at the dark water I saw a small triangular shaped patch of light playing on the surface of the river. The outlines of four fish were illuminated by the sudden splash of sunlight. Dub turned to me. His voice just above a whisper, "Isn't that the perfect picture of how God works?"
"I guess I'm not sure what you mean."
"Those fish were there all along, but we didn't know it. A higher source, in this case the sun, had to do something to help us see." He looked at me to gauge my reaction. My face no doubt belied my lack of understanding. Dub persisted. "Don't you see? The truth about God is all around us, but we don't have a clue. We can't see it until God opens our eyes and then suddenly he reveals himself and we see the truth."
It was my initiation in to what I call Dub's Bible Basics for Dummies Like Me. That Saturday as we fished together standing waist deep in the frigid water of the Cache Le Poudre River, Dub began to teach me about God and His creation. Woven into the memory of that day is the joy of catching a lot of fish and having a great deal of discussion about the nature of God.
At one point I asked, "Dub, are you saying that God actually reveals himself in nature?"
"Sure, its what the theologians call general revelation."
"You'll have to explain that one, Dub."
"Its simply the idea that a man can figure some things out about God just by looking at the things God created. The Bible puts it like this." To my surprise Dub reached into his pocket and pulled out a little book which I supposed was a Bible. He began reading. "because that which is known about God is evident within them; for God made it evident to them. For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood through what has been made, so that they are without excuse."
Dub put the tiny Bible back in his pocket before continuing. "Although we can't possible fathom everything about an infinite and divine being like God, it is clear that we have been given enough information about God that we have no excuse not to acknowledge Him."
"But aren't you making an assumption that there is a God and that he created everything?
"You're right on both accounts." Dub conceded. "But what if, for the sake of argument, we decided to proceed under those assumptions?" He stopped to collect his thoughts. "After all, didn't we sort of do that this morning before we left the house?"
"Sorry, Dub, you lost me again."
"Well, I told you that I knew about a great fishing hole, right?"
"So, did you know for sure that you would catch fish here?"
"No, but I had a pretty good idea that I would."
"So you made an assumption. And I'm betting you're glad you made that assumption." He winked at me as I nodded affirmatively. "But let me ask you this." Dub stopped talking momentarily to adjust the tension on his line. "What if you had made the assumption that there were no fish and therefore decided not to make the trip this morning?"
I could see where he was going. "I would have been wrong and..."
"You would have missed something really great wouldn't you."
Suddenly as if on cue the tip of my rod dipped violently toward the water. I instinctively lifted my rod and gripped the line to keep it taut. The fish broke the surface exposing his white belly, and flared gills, revealing the red intricacy within. Twisting and bucking he cleared the water by his own length or more. I struggled to keep the tension on the line, but the Herculean leap toward me had too much power and velocity behind it. The elk hair caddis that had been lodged in his mouth was suddenly free and the fish was gone. For a moment the only sound I could hear was the rapid drumming of my heartbeat in my ears.
Dub continued talking as I inspected my leader. "So why can't we talk about God from the assumption that there actually is a God? If we're wrong, no harm done. But, if we are right… Well, we might just find something good."
It was a reasonable proposition. We fished and talked until the sun slipped behind the western peaks. Exhausted and fulfilled we made our way back to the truck. As we drove home I thought of one last question I needed to ask. I found the right words as the headlights of Dub's truck illuminated his driveway.
"Dub, today while we were talking about God." He looked at me over the rim of his glasses. "You said a lot of things that came out of the Bible. Right?"
"Yeah, you're right."
"Well, I don't mean to be hard headed or anything, but what would you say to the man who is not so sure he believes in the Bible?"
Dub smiled and said, "Well, I would say to him, 'You know, I read about this great fishing place up on the Big Thompson. Why don't we go check it out?'"
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