A weekly dose of science for the church

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Where There’s Smoke…

It strikes me as noteworthy that our culture is taking recourse in the grandeur and scope of words that only theological language can supply. Responding to climate change is at the place where our Christian tradition meets science meets Christian spirituality. We need to recover the biblical language of “stewardship” for this beautiful creation.

Brain Power

We often link brain power to intelligence or some innate talent. Things like memory, creativity, mathematical ability certainly are amazing capacities of the human brain. But I think the most amazing thing the brain does is change. It’s the power of those synapses and neurons and axons to recreate the pathways necessary for change.

The Wonderful Burden of Caregiving

Many churches already support caregivers—with prayer and visits, welcoming them when they can participate in the life of the church and trying to bring church to them when they cannot. This week I want to look at some of the research around caregiving—an expansive field looking at numerous dimensions of delivering and receiving care—and challenge you and your church to think about ways this research can strengthen your ministry to those giving and receiving care.

A Summer Place to Go, Part 1

A Summer Place to Go, Part 1

Each week, we share a few links that we believe will help you better understand a particular theme and engage with it in your ministry. Normally, we direct you to short-form material. We know most of you have too many places to go to dedicate more than 5, maybe 10 minutes on a link. But we hope that the arrival of summer means some time for books, longer videos, or full length podcasts.

Some Science Behind Sin

Some Science Behind Sin

science informs our prayers of confession. Whether it is our selfish nature that compels us to prioritize ourselves and our families, or the study of various neuroses, or understanding how our emotions get the best of us, science has a lot to say about sin.

Taking Science Out Of the Service of Racism

Taking Science Out Of the Service of Racism

Over the past three years, I thought I was researching science and religion in America. I thought the outcome would be uncovering new insights and then write an academic book to contribute the body of knowledge. Along the way, I found a history of racism expressed, intensified, and even weaponized, through science.

Youth Ministry Part 4: Science-Informed Theologians

Youth Ministry Part 4: Science-Informed Theologians

All Christians, including high school students, are capable of being and becoming science-informed theologians through reflecting on their experiences with God in their own lives and engaging in conversation with scripture, reason, and the people and traditions within their faith communities.

The Urgency of Science and Race

The Urgency of Science and Race

One of my convictions, learned over decades of working in this niche, is that both Christian faith and modern science have much to contribute to most pressing issues of our day, including race.

Virtual Relationality and Our Human-Shaped Hole

Virtual Relationality and Our Human-Shaped Hole

Scripture and science agree: It is not good for us to be alone. Researchers have certainly pursued the connection between technology and well-being. But now our COVID-19 world is involved in a literally global experiment: because of social distancing, our relationships are not primarily direct and in-person… How is that experiment going? What are we learning about our inherent drive to be with others and what this drive means when it’s channeled through technology?

Youth Ministry Part 2: Why Science Matters

Youth Ministry Part 2: Why Science Matters

When church becomes the one place that’s either silent or hostile about science, young people learn the implicit lesson that it’s not just the church that can’t handle their tough questions. God can’t either. The way we interact with science provides young people with a template for how God views science. So we have an opportunity. In our engagement with science, will we lean in and lead or lose out and be led?

The Spirit’s Pentecost Strategy

The Spirit’s Pentecost Strategy

At Pentecost, the Spirit gave the church two fluencies. The first is in the fundamentals of the Good News about God’s work in Jesus Christ… the Spirit’s strategy is also for the church to speak to various people in their own “mother tongues.” The focus of this newsletter is on that second fluency with a particular accent: speaking the languages of technology and science.

A World From Dust: Q & A with Biochemist Ben McFarland

A World From Dust: Q & A with Biochemist Ben McFarland

We’re taking a break from our usual newsletter format to interview a Christian leader in the sciences. Ben McFarland is Professor of Biochemistry at Seattle Pacific University, where he studies structural aspects of protein biochemistry and design. Dr. McFarland wrote A World from Dust: How the Periodic Table Shaped Life (Oxford, 2016). I caught up with Ben and posed few questions about his role as a scientist in the church, as well as the coronavirus outbreak.