Pastor's Pen
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January 13, 2014, 11:23 AM

Words from Rick


I Don’t Believe Any of It!

It was at Terminal A where I met Macalia (That’s how she spelled it).  I arrived at DFW last Sunday about an hour early for my flight to Ft. Myers, Fla. and I was reading a book in the gate area. A young mother with a one year old sitting in a stroller came up and sat beside me. Across from us was a young reddish haired lady. Macalia was her name. She had one of those spiral pads that secretaries used to walk around with and she was sketching.

   The mother and I were talking about church stuff when she told me that her husband interviewed for a position at Highland Park Presbyterian Church. As we were talking, Macalia said to me, “You look famous!” I said, “Well, my mother thinks I am!”  “No, really you do,” she replied.  She said I looked like John McCain and showed me what she was sketching. Darn! She sketched me like those political cartoonist do, and I did look somewhat like McCain. She told me that she was in 11th grade and had been in Colorado visiting her father and was returning to Naples, Fla, where she lived with her mother.

   When we got on the plane, I was in row 25F and Macalia was in 24F. Before we took off, she turned and looking over the back of her seat, she said, “All that stuff you were talking about, that religion stuff, I don’t believe any of it! I’m an atheist!”  I said, “Really? I’ve only met one true atheist. It was years ago and I asked him if he had studied all the realms of science, religion, philosophy, astrology and all those other ‘ologies’ and you have concluded that there is no God?”  And he said, “Yes.” I said, “Well, maybe you are!”  Then I said to Macalia, “Only in the 11th grade, you have done all of that?” “No! I just don’t believe. I want to study and become a geo-chemical engineer and I believe that in all of our technology today, those biblical stories are not needed! Anyway, back then they did not have any technology and so they just sat around and made up these stories.”

   Of course, I did not try to evangelize her, I just asked some probing questions that would lead one to think about some religious ideas. She would squint her eyes and turn around and in a few seconds turn back to me with another question and I would respond. This went on for about an hour. And finally, she turned around and said, “If I don’t believe in any of this religious stuff and don’t believe in God and this plane goes down in the Gulf of Mexico, will I go to hell?”

   My response was, “You don’t believe in God and you don’t believe in any of this ‘religious stuff’, but you believe in hell?”  She turned around and faced forward the rest of the flight. Didn’t speak a word to me, nor I to her as we got our bags from the overhead compartment, but when we got out into the terminal she turned to me and said, “Thanks.” I said, “Macalia, don’t ever stop asking questions … you ask some really good ones.” She smiled as she turned and walked away. 01.12.2014

Dr. Rick Baggett is pastor of First Presbyterian Church of Ardmore (the church with the bells) and can be reached at:


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