Anxiety, Cognitive Biases, and the Need for Embodied Charity and Hospitality: The difficult process of exploration and dialogue on origins
Monday, December 2, 2013
"Beware you be not swallowed up in books! An ounce of love is worth a pound of knowledge." ~ John Wesley "The issue isn't whether there can be a conversation about faith and science; the issue is whether the Body of Christ has the requisite virtues to sustain such a conversation." ~ James K.A. Smith As…read more.
Monday, November 18, 2013
The landscape was a vivid swirl of bright colors as I was perched in the windowsill of a hospital room. It was graduation day at Case Western Reserve University, and I was sitting with my four-year-old little boy who was slated for surgery in the coming week. With him sleeping, and with the regalia-clad…read more.
Monday, November 4, 2013
Growing up in a Christian home, evolution was only referred with negative connotations. I was taught that evolution was an atheistic theory which undermined the authority of Scripture in general and specifically Genesis 1 and 2. If a person believed in evolution he or she could not be a Christian. This…read more.
Monday, October 21, 2013
For me, it all began with the stars. I was serving as a counselor at a Young Life camp in a remote part of British Columbia. Every night, after my cabin was asleep, I would leave them under the watch of my co-counselor and settle into the camp's main office for a few hours, where I could access an astronomy…read more.
Monday, October 14, 2013
It was a bright and beautiful day outside, but my gaze was focused on my feet as I shuffled away from class that afternoon, kicking pebbles as I carried on a mental conversation with my Creator. "You know, God, you have a lot of explaining to do. You told me to transfer to this school, and then you…read more.
Thursday, October 3, 2013
I grew up in a very conservative environment; a nice, comfortable box. Whether or not it was explicitly taught, I grew up believing no one could be Catholic or a Democrat and also be Christian. I remember reading picture books with Adam and Eve riding dinosaurs. I have no recollection of my parents teaching…read more.
Tuesday, September 24, 2013
They called it the "Dragons' Grave." It seemed somewhat childish at first, even to a young 14-year-old. However, after spending over a week at a dinosaur excavation site that was owned, overseen, and operated by 7-day creationists, my mind was as malleable as untouched Play-Doh. Dragons? You betcha.…read more.
Monday, September 16, 2013
Christianity is a lie and I've been duped. This conclusion seemed inescapable. I had just finished reading about the genetic evidence that humans and primates were related and shared a common ancestor. After months of studying and reading about evolution and common descent, the weight of the evidence…read more.
Monday, September 9, 2013
Ernesto came home from tenth grade Biology fuming at being taught that he had come from an ape, that he was nothing more than a randomly developed beast! The textbook and the teacher both told Ernesto that he had come from an animal and that he was an animal. This was about the last thing Ernesto needed…read more.
Tuesday, September 3, 2013
As I sit here holding my newborn son I admit that it is difficult to consider the theory of evolution. It is hard for me to think about things like our species evolving from something other than what we are right now. As I look at Gabriel's little hands and feet, as I listen to his breathing and smell…read more.
Monday, August 26, 2013
"I'm sorry to hear that you've been so misinformed about evolution." These words, from Major Dean, a genetic warfare officer at Eglin Air Force Base in 1984, where I had been assigned temporary duty, brought me up short. I had just told the Major that science had shown evolution and religion are not…read more.
Monday, August 19, 2013
I grew up in the Church of the Nazarene. I was in Sunday school before I can remember. I loved the stories. I loved the precision, control and competence they reflected of God's interaction with humanity. There is a great deal of comfort in the idea that God is intimately involved in the moments of existence.…read more.
Monday, August 12, 2013
I believe that the theory of biological evolution is true. Here's why: First, I don't see the theory of evolution as a competitor with the Biblical account of origins. Some people figure that there can be just one version of the truth; since Genesis' story of origins differs from the story told by the…read more.
Monday, August 5, 2013
God is the Author of everything. This is foundational to any Christian interpretation of Scripture and the universe. My journey through the maze of views relating science and faith is guided by this belief. I was converted to Christ in high school. A first attempt to relate faith with my future career…read more.
Monday, July 29, 2013
Right at the start I need to make a confession: this author was a very unlikely candidate for writing much on this topic until quite recently. It just didn't interest me. I'm not a science person and lack the fascination for how the beauty we see around us came to be. As a Nazarene, I was and still am…read more.
Monday, July 22, 2013
For many years, I have started my introductory lectures to both my major and non-major freshmen-level biology courses with a lecture titled, "Where do you draw the line?" The image being drawn upon here is one of friends or siblings growing up together and drawing a line in the sand or taping a line…read more.
Monday, July 15, 2013
It might appear that the place to begin when discussing how members of the Church of the Nazarene should assess and respond to Neo-Darwinism ("the modern synthesis," a fusion of genetics and evolutionary biology) is an examination of Wesleyan theology vis-à-vis the natural sciences. In fact, a prior…read more.
Monday, July 8, 2013
In the northern United States, a driver must become adept at navigating a car in the snow. Winter driving requires additional skills and attention to issues that are not part of normal driving conditions. In the winter, the freedom and joy of "making donuts" in a wide-open, snow-covered parking lot gives…read more.
Monday, July 1, 2013
I recall a conversation I had with one of my junior high friends one hot Sunday afternoon, in the church parking lot, while we were waiting for our families. He wanted to understand how dinosaurs could fit in the whole sequence of the world when they were not mentioned in the Bible. I have no memory…read more.
Monday, June 24, 2013
A few days ago, my son and I had one of those spur of the moment talks that really excites a father. My son had questions about the Bible and was interested in actually listening to what I had to say about it. My son is now a teenager, so the fact that he was willing to listen was cause for a celebration! I…read more.
Monday, June 17, 2013
I have many fond memories of my time as an undergrad student at Point Loma Nazarene University. Some of the best memories center on late night conversations with my fellow classmates in Hendricks Hall. We would debate the historical accuracy of the Genesis narratives, the strength of the scientific evidence…read more.
Monday, June 10, 2013
Type providence into Google and see what you get - Noun: 1. The protective care of God or of nature as a spiritual power. 2. God or nature as providing such care. Synonyms: foresight - forethought - prudence Over the last 15 years I have developed a close friendship with a man who has been a…read more.
Monday, June 3, 2013
Present day Evangelicals are being bombarded with scientific information that does not fit well into their theological model. While evangelicals are more than willing to spend time dealing with matters of humanity and God, they often fail to deal with the discoveries of science. One subject that is…read more.
Tuesday, May 28, 2013
I fear that in following the great essays that have preceded mine, I will have little to offer. But I take hope as I remember Sunday evening testimonies at the small country church I attended as a teenager. I recall being moved and inspired by the various believers as they shared the same story but…read more.
Monday, May 20, 2013
"I don't believe in evolution, I always want to be free; Ain't gonna let no anthropologist make a monkey out of me." The late Larry Norman is one of my favorite Christian musicians. But I always wince when I hear those lyrics. It's the sort of rhetoric we hear often. Not long ago one of my students…read more.
Monday, May 13, 2013
In the beginning I was a Nazarene. And although according to statistics people my age are unlikely to continue to be a part of the church, I am still a Nazarene. I believe that it has something to do with the way the community of faith that formed me dealt with my doubts and questions. Not only am I…read more.
Monday, May 6, 2013
I have no doubt that the Lord God could easily provide humanity with a detailed scientific manual, which explains the creation of the universe and answers all the modern questions regarding evolution, fossils, age of the earth, dinosaurs, etc. However, that is not what we have in the case of Genesis…read more.
Monday, April 29, 2013
I confess that my method of reading and interpreting the Bible has evolved over the last forty-three years since I entered the field of Religion from the field of science. This shift was in response to a statement I heard in the setting of a theology class taught by Forrest Benner, professor of Theology…read more.
Wednesday, April 24, 2013
When it comes to thinking about God, creation and evolution, I had an advantage over many who grew up evangelical. Growing up on a southern Great Plains farm, I observed evolution happening in all kinds of venues. We grew both milo and cotton until the Russian Grain Embargo and the OPEC-induced Oil…read more.
Monday, April 22, 2013
"So, how could anyone believe the earth is more than 8,000 years old?" "Do you really believe that humans came from monkeys?" Perhaps questions like these come my way because I am a professional chemist and an Evangelical Christian. My family gave me a Christ-centered home and the love of Scripture;…read more.
Wednesday, April 17, 2013
I am appreciative to those who recognize that there ought to be a place where serious conversation can take place regarding the relationship between evolutionary theory and Christianity's faith affirmations. I'm appreciative because I am not of the opinion that evolutionary theory poses no challenge…read more.
Monday, April 15, 2013
I have the great honor of pastoring in a college town. With dozens of colleges, business schools, universities and technical schools around, there is no shortage of teachers and learners to season every conversation and challenge every assumption. Every week our pews are filled with chemists, physicists,…read more.
Wednesday, April 10, 2013
Living on a university campus requires a multi-lingual approach to intellectual discourse. The process of engendering a healthy conversation surrounding theology and evolution necessitates just such a capacity. Ludwig Wittgenstein provocatively writes, "A main cause of philosophical disease – a one-sided…read more.
Monday, April 8, 2013
Permission to explore evolution. That is what I wanted deep down, but it is not what I heard from pastors, teachers, or my family. I remember being kept away from the human evolution section of natural history museums and being told that scientists were just out to prove that God didn't have anything…read more.
Wednesday, April 3, 2013
In chemistry, litmus tests are used to determine pH, the level of acidity in different substances. Around 1300 A.D., Spanish alchemist Arnaldus de Villa Nova was credited with developing these strips of paper that quickly reveal levels of acidity so chemists know what kind of material with which they…read more.
Monday, April 1, 2013
As a Wesleyan theologian, I'm passionately committed to two things. First and foremost, I'm committed to Scripture and the truth to which it testifies about who God is, who we are, and how we relate to God. In my mind, that book must be absolutely trustworthy because without it, we'd be in the dark.…read more.
Wednesday, March 27, 2013
It was in a General Zoology course at Southern Nazarene University where I encountered a Christian perspective on evolution that I had never heard before. I was shocked and yet relieved when the professor declared, "There is no need for your faith to be in conflict with your understanding of science."…read more.
Monday, March 25, 2013
I am not sure. I am not sure if the Genesis account of creation should be taken literally. I am not sure how it was understood by those who first received it. I am not sure if they asked the same questions I ask today. I am not sure if they cared about the same issues as those who sit in my congregation…read more.
Wednesday, March 20, 2013
Creator creates creation.1 This simple sentence encapsulates what every believer of Scripture discerns to be true about God. God is creator. As creator, God has acted and continues to act with creation to shape and mold and frame the manifold complexity and beauty of the world. Creation is the object…read more.
Monday, March 18, 2013
False dilemma - a logical fallacy which involves presenting two opposing views, options or outcomes in such a way that they seem to be the only possibilities: that is, if one is true, the other must be false, or, more typically, if you do not accept one then the other must be accepted.1 Despite having…read more.
Wednesday, March 13, 2013
Questions of human origins and humans' role in creation constituted a significant focus in my undergraduate study in theology at Southern Nazarene University in the late 1960s. These questions did not evaporate in my graduate study in psychology at state universities. Rather, they became more focused…read more.
Monday, March 11, 2013
Charitable Discourse The first victim of many engaged conversations about evolution is charitable discourse. Conservative Christian fundamentalism marks out one position and scientific fundamentalism marks out an opposing position. Each makes an exclusive claim on the Truth (as piety or intellectual…read more.
Wednesday, March 6, 2013
Let me share with you my personal story. I truly do not remember whether I was ever taught or personally believed what would be referred to as a "young earth, six day creationist" belief. I do know that I grew up in a very conservative and legalistic Iowa Nazarene parsonage. I don't think creation versus…read more.
Monday, March 4, 2013
Growing up in the Church of the Nazarene, when I did (born 1970) and where I did (Southern California), meant that I was somehow given a lot of what could be called run-of-the-mill, nondescript conservative evangelicalism—of the Wesleyan-Arminian variety, to be sure, but also of the general North American…read more.
Wednesday, February 27, 2013
Perhaps my experience is not the norm for a lifelong Nazarene, but evolution has never been terribly problematic for me. I cannot say the same, of course, for reductionistic naturalism. Not surprisingly, I have always viewed materialistic thinking as fundamentally incompatible with my Christian faith,…read more.
Monday, February 25, 2013
"You don't take Scripture seriously." I was a junior in college when I heard those words spoken by my favorite professor in a class on some of my favorite books of the Bible, and I was instantly offended. I didn't take Scripture seriously? How anyone could say such a thing was beyond me. This man clearly…read more.
Wednesday, February 20, 2013
"In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.... All things came into being through him, and without him not one thing came into being. What has come into being in him was life.... And the Word became flesh and lived among us, and we have seen his glory..." These…read more.
Monday, February 18, 2013
At the age of nine, while attending a youth camp, I first understood the claims of the Gospel and yielded my life to God. That yielding was more than an emotional experience, for it also was the recognition that God had called me into professional ministry. During my teens, this call continued to be…read more.
Monday, February 11, 2013
May I share an honest confession? I was initially hesitant to participate in this project because of my role as president of a Christian university. At Trevecca Nazarene University, we are willing to ask hard questions and converse with a maturing generation. However, I know that many people have already…read more.
Monday, February 11, 2013
The Christian Faith has always had to adapt to the proven findings of science. For example, the biblical writers all reflected the "cosmological" view current in their day. They thought the world was flat. Above it was the blue dome of the sky, and above that lived God, the angels, and departed saints.…read more.
Monday, February 11, 2013
Growing up, I never imagined there was a perceived incompatibility between faith in the Creator God and the biological descriptions of the mechanisms of evolution. Now, I am not so naive about these perspectives. Some people do feel that Creator God's sovereignty is threatened by treating evolutionary…read more.