Callie Flores is one of those high-achieving high school students whose weekly schedule might make you wonder when she finds time to sleep. A junior, she plays alto saxophone in the Temple High School jazz band and marching band, which means sometimes she gets up at five in the morning for practice. She takes courses for college credit. She’s a worship leader at Temple’s Bethel Church, attending every Sunday and Wednesday and singing in a praise band. She wants to work in ministry herself someday, whether through performing music or teaching art.
This October, though, acting has taken over her busy schedule. She’s playing one of the lead roles in Bethel’s Hell House, a faith-based haunted house the church community puts on yearly in the weeks before Halloween. This isn’t a typical haunted house with ghoulish frights and chainsaw-wielding actors. Bethel’s Hell House is a series of jarring “real-life” scenes meant to scare the thousands of people who will pass through during the two-week-long run and to remind them that Hell is a real consequence of poor life decisions.
Carl Baugh, a former television personality with slicked-back grey hair and a warm, deep baritone, is a well-known figure in Glen Rose, Texas, a rural town near Fort Worth with a population of 2,400. On a warm Saturday in early September, he greeted several dozen men, women, and children at the Creation Evidence Museum, a small exhibition space open Thursday through Saturday, which he founded and directs. “It’s so good to see you,” he said, smiling as the families took their seats in the wide, tiled room, with high ceilings and a balcony around the perimeter. The museum features a replica of Noah’s Ark and a set of human and dinosaur footprints in a chunk of rock under a glass case. The tracks, found in 2000 by an amateur archaeologist who was exploring a riverbed near Glen Rose, are said by Baugh to be authentic proof that humans and dinosaurs lived at the same time, created by God roughly 6,000 years ago.
Baugh’s “Director’s Lecture” is held each month. Today the topic was not just creationism, but the importance of Israel, a country Baugh has visited sixteen times. “It’s my favorite place on Earth,” he told me. “I think it’s God’s favorite place on Earth.”