A weekly dose of science for the church
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Can a leopard change its spots? (Jeremiah 13:23). Can people really shift their views, or do they ultimately snap back to where they started? This is the problem of persistence and change. We tend to go back to old patterns unless we keep working at change.
While faith and science debates—such as the Intelligent Design paradigm, an old vs. young Earth, or a literal Adam and Eve—seem peripheral to our political division, the experience of having those conversations offer us tools that translate to our current predicament.
We’re always curious to know what interests you, and one way to figure that out is by noting which newsletters receive the most views. These are your top choices for 2020, beginning with (in my opinion) the most provocative question of the year.
As Science for the Church wraps up its first full year, we hope you’ve learned something about us. Are you ready for the test? Not to worry, here’s a handy study guide.
When we look at 2020, when we look at this world—a year marked by the exposure of racism in America, political division, and the deadly COVID pandemic—can we have either optimism or hope?
The present moment finds us still in the midst of an ongoing global pandemic. We face the harsh reality that the world as we once knew it has indeed already passed. We remain unsure of what or when the world to come will arrive. And so we now live within a liminal space between the “what was” and the “next….” How, then, are we to navigate our present circumstances as people of faith? By entering into the wilderness of grief.
If you are anything like me, you are feeling a general uneasiness as we enter Advent. We’re still isolated and beginning to ponder the likelihood of a virtual (or at least socially distanced) Christmas Eve. How can we remember when we are not gathered, telling the stories of young Mary and John the Baptist? What is lost when we don’t light candles and sing Silent Night, Holy Night?
Greg recently talked with Elaine Howard Ecklund, Professor of Sociology at Rice University and director of its Religion and Public Life Program. Elaine cohosts a new podcast, “Religion Unmuted,” and has written numerous articles and books, most recently, Why Science and Faith Need Each Other: Eight Shared Values That Move Us Beyond Fear.
This year will be different for many of us, perhaps unlike any other. Maybe, the only familiar part of this Thanksgiving will be the memories of past holidays spent together.
Fortunately, in this pandemic-defined year, such memories can be a powerful part of how we cope and maintain hope amidst all the changes.
This week, we return to the What kind of God…? theme and ask: What kind of God would create a world and creatures so dependent on memory?
At the center of Thanksgiving—both the holiday and the practice—is generosity. When we’re thankful for what we have, we become content, and we tend to open our eyes and our hands. We give to others. Scripture and science are both clear about this.
“A survey was done in England asking why people were leaving the church. The number one answer was, “they don’t answer our questions.” I think it’s vastly important for churches to engage with the questions—not only the questions about science, but the questions arising from our culture and taking them seriously.”
We can all count relationships that have taken a sabbatical in 2020. Others only happen masked and six feet apart, or mediated via technology. Part of our funk is this reduction—both in quantity and quality—of our relationships.