A weekly dose of science for the church
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One of the gifts that’s come to my pastoral ministry at Bidwell Presbyterian Church is neurorehabilitation psychologist Leonard Matheson. Len and I began by talking about a “biopsychosocial” approach to medicine. We also looked at the role of oxytocin and the hippocampus and connected all of it to scripture and faith.
Many Christians feel stuck somewhere in between their faith and evolution. The issues are complicated but here is one place where I find agreement between the two. Observation clearly shows that Earth’s biology entails both competition and cooperation. It is the kind of world one would expect if you believe in the theological truths of fall and redemption. It is not implausible that the God revealed in scripture would use both cooperation and competition to advance life on our planet.
I don’t think I was the only member of our family who dreamed of seeing a lurking big cat pounce and chase down its prey. We saw several big cats but never saw one go in for the kill during our five-day safari. Instead, what we saw was lots of cooperation, like oxpeckers on the backs of wildebeests and hippos, or hyenas crunching bones leftover from a nighttime kill, or all the birds who would sound out danger to all the animals within earshot.
There’s a certain kind of grief when you are the messenger, and it feels like no one is listening. Or maybe people are listening, but they don’t care as much, or at least their actions don’t indicate they do. That is the feeling I experience in ebbs and flows as a science journalist whose love for God has led me to care deeply for his creation.
Introducing your church to the science and faith dialogue starts by finding what works best for you. It is followed by engaging concerned partners and stakeholders that can partner with you in leading the way. And it is sustained by a proactive approach to preaching, teaching, and programming that promotes and includes science at its core.
The Cradle of Humankind World Heritage site is one half of a story told by both science and Scripture: not only are we one in Christ, all bearers of God’s image, but every human being shares 99.9 percent of our DNA. To use the words from the Cradle of Humankind’s website, “our collective umbilical cord lies buried” in Africa. It is a story about the unity of humankind.
I’ve become fatigued by the ruts in which science and religion often become bogged down. Are the two in conflict or not? Is it Genesis 1 or evolution? Are Christians for or against technology? To...
Ritual does the important work of binding us together with other people… Ritual helps us engage in synchronous behavior with other people. We recognize our kin because they act like us. A group of people who are all standing and sitting and chanting the same way are activating their kin recognition circuits. Unconsciously, they think, “These people are my family.” If we want to help a congregation feel like family, ritual is one of the biggest ways.
C.S. Lewis talked about how some of us are more prone to particular ways of being in the world. It could be easier or harder depending on how we are prone, but we’re still called to live a holier life.
Today, we’re launching our psychology for ministry series in partnership with Blueprint 1543. We start with a conversation with a psychologist who has spent nearly four decades building bridges between science and the church. Mark McMinn, recently retired from George Fox University, has worked assessing ministry practices and spiritual formation.
This week, with team members spread across not only the country but now three continents, we thought now would be a good time to republish something (lightly edited) that our readers enjoyed and that also gets at the heart of our vision. If you’re a new subscriber, we hope you enjoy this for the first time. And for those of you who have been with us for a while, we hope you find something new in this piece.
Because creation is not our property, we show love, devotion, respect, and obedience to the Creator by becoming good stewards of his creation.