To not be provoked to evil

Current Affairs

I’m waking to the news that there’s been a mass execution of Coptic Christians in Libya this morning by masked men who claim affiliation with the Islamic State movement. The victims died with the words “Jesus is Lord” on their lips. Violent actions like these, shared widely in an intentional media campaign, are carefully calculated to provoke a response in the rest of world, to bring about a world wide religious war.

And here in America, in some isolated incidents, it might be having the desired effect. The details are still sketchy as to the motivation of the shooter, but last week three of the shining lights of the American muslim community were murdered in Chapel Hill North Carolina by a professed anti-theist. (Not an atheist in the strict sense of the word — someone who doesn’t believe in God, but a person who actively rejects those who do believe. It’s a relatively new phenomenon in the US apparently.)

In West Warwick Rhode Island yesterday, disturbing vandalism against a local Islamic school has brought the conflict to our community.

A day after holding a vigil for three Muslim students killed in North Carolina, the Islamic School of Rhode Island was vandalized.

Some time Saturday night racial slurs were spray-painted over the entrance of the school that serves students in pre-kindergarten through eighth grade, school officials said.

Orange paint covered the school’s doors with the words, “Now this is a hate crime” and “pigs,” among other expletives referencing the prophet Muhammad.

The irony is, such actions, if they are meant to be some sort of retaliation, are exactly what the violent actions in Syria, Iraq and now Libya are meant to provoke.

Jesus taught us that the great commandment was to love God above all else. And then he told us we could do that in a practical way by willing to love our neighbor as ourselves. Any thing else leads us away from God and into the realm of violence and death.

It will take a great deal of spiritual discipline to not be drawn into the whirlwind of violence which is the dream of those who have done such killings.

Will you join me in praying that God will grant us the courage and the will to resist? Pray that we focus on doing what we can to make our community stronger, to live into what America was founded to be, a place where freedom of religion was intended to put an end to religious violence of all forms.

It seems appropriate, on this President’s Day in 2015 to make the following prayer:

“O Judge of all the nations, we remember before you with grateful hearts the men and women of our country who in the day of decision ventured much for the liberties we now enjoy. Grant that we may not rest until all the people of this land share the benefits of true freedom and gladly accept its disciplines. This we ask in the Name of Jesus Christ our Lord.” (Book of Common Prayer, p. 839)

Amen.

A Journey to Easter; a lenten discipline

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The series of blog posts that I wrote for the Diocese of Rhode Island during Lent of 2013 is now edited, tightened up and in print from Leader Resources. (Some folks in congregations said that they would prefer to use them in a book form rather than online.)

From the book’s page on the publisher’s siteKnisely Front Cover 1 inch:

Bishop Knisely invites you to on a journey through the Gospel of Luke and the Books of Acts. Journey to Easter was written as a personal Lent meditation guide. However, it can be used as group Lent Bible study or at any time as a daily reflection on one (sometimes two) chapters of two of the main New Testament books of the Bible. Knisely’s personal reflections embody the everyday realities we all face while calling us into a deeper reflection on the mysteries and wonder of the Scriptures. Journey to Easter is a pilgrimage text — a way for you to travel through the story of Jesus’ life, death and resurrection and encounter him in your own day-to-day life.

My favorite part of the print edition is the image on the cover. I took that picture earlier this year while I was standing next to the Jesus’ tomb in the Holy Sepulchre while I was in Jerusalem.

The meditations were well received as I was posting them. It was the kind words that people shared that led me to write other Lenten Book that dealt with mediations on God’s Creation.

Connection is the cure to addiction

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Books / Current Affairs / SOSc

In the 1970’s Bruce Alexander, a researcher in Vancouver, discovered that the social experience of laboratory rats in addiction experiments had a profound effect on whether or not the rats became physically addicted to various substances.

Essentially, what he discovered was that isolated rats, kept in bare cages by themselves, when fed addictive substances quickly became physically addicted. But rats in stimulating environments (happy cages) kept with other rats, rejected the drugs they were fed and had a significant physical resistance to developing addiction.

His work has been repeated over the years and is referenced in a new book by Johann Hari called “Chasing the Scream: The first and last days of the War on Drugs”. Hari references Alexanders’ work and subsequent research by Gabor and Cohen on human addictive behavior.

In an article on his research Hari writes about the futility of our present models of treatment for addiction where we treat physical addiction by essentially asking people to endure pain (withdrawal and denial) rather than suffer the worse pain (physical and emotional) which is caused by the active addiction:

“If you still believe — as I used to — that addiction is caused by chemical hooks, this makes no sense. But if you believe Bruce Alexander’s theory, the picture falls into place. The street-addict is like the rats in the first cage, isolated, alone, with only one source of solace to turn to. The medical patient is like the rats in the second cage. She is going home to a life where she is surrounded by the people she loves. The drug is the same, but the environment is different.

This gives us an insight that goes much deeper than the need to understand addicts. Professor Peter Cohen argues that human beings have a deep need to bond and form connections. It’s how we get our satisfaction. If we can’t connect with each other, we will connect with anything we can find — the whirr of a roulette wheel or the prick of a syringe. He says we should stop talking about ‘addiction’ altogether, and instead call it ‘bonding.’ A heroin addict has bonded with heroin because she couldn’t bond as fully with anything else.

So the opposite of addiction is not sobriety. It is human connection.”

You can read the whole article here.

Rhode Island has the highest rate of marijuana use (and I’m told of heroin use) of any state in the US. We’re also a place that is suffering from a lack of hope in the future. We’re a place where, it is my observation, people find it much to easy to isolate themselves into small groups, small families or stable small communities of acquaintances. People will cut themselves off from the larger connections that a vibrant participation in community or activity might bring.

It seems to me that our congregations might have the real solution to the pain that so many people are self treating with illegal substances. Jesus teaches us how to live in real, life giving community. Perhaps we need to by a lot more intentional about reorienting our focus from celebrating the life giving relationships and faith we find in church to going out into the world and inviting people in pain to find life with us.

Is there any objective reality at all?

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Science / SOSc

To my mind the fundamental objection to a Quantum reality, from a philosophical perspective, is that it seems to raise the question of if there’s any reality that exists outside of the experience of the observer. In other words, the Universe is only realistic if there’s someone looking.

The classic thought experiment of Schrödinger’s Cat is the best known illustration of this conundrum. A cat in a closed box and a randomly timed explosive device is, as long as the box is closed, both dead and alive at the same time. It’s only when the box is opened that we “pin” the cat into one state or another.

Most often the weird idea is explained away from having any physical reality by insisting that the whole paradox stems from our incomplete knowledge of the system. In other words, the cat is alive or is dead in the box, but because we can’t see into the box, we’re just writing a mathematical expression that contains our lack of knowledge. There is, goes the argument, an objective reality that exists apart from the observer, even if we can’t perceive it.

But that’s not true according to a new analysis by a team of Australian physicists who have done a detailed analysis of the situation.

They looked closely at the mathematical description of the cat’s state in the box, it’s “wavefunction” and how that function describes reality. The weirdness of Quantum Mechanics is essentially contained in the question of how to interpret and understand how wavefunctions describe reality.

This is what they found:

“‘Our results suggest that, if there is objective reality, the wavefunction corresponds to this reality.’

In other words, Schrödinger’s cat really is in a state of being both alive and dead.

As measurements improve further, physicists will be left with two possible interpretations of the wavefunction: either the wavefunction is completely real, or nothing is.”

More here.

I don’t know which is more interesting. The superposition of life and death, or the denial that there is any objective reality. Both would have profound implications in theology. Both would be a pretty big challenge to classical formulations of the faith, at least as they are typically taught.

(Though those of us who are fans of Karl Barth, who seems to me to be a fan of Meister Eckhart, might see that his fundamental insight about the unknowable reality of God, other than what God wills to reveal to us, could be profoundly useful.)

Je Suis Charlie – building walls of love in a dangerous world

Current Affairs / Religion

Je-suis-CharlieFourteen years ago I was asked to preach at a city-wide observance of the first anniversary of the 9/11 attacks in New York and Washington. What I said then has been very much on my mind as I’ve been following the news out of Paris and the murders of the journalists who worked at Charlie Hebdo. Essentially I argued that it was only by having strong, healthy and interdependent communities that we would be able to feel safe again. There was no military solution, no Homeland Security protocol that would be able to protect us as much as that.

Someone who heard the sermon that night wrote me this morning asking if I had a copy of it. I guess I wasn’t the only person thinking about what I had said 12 years ago…

So I’m posting it again – in large part because I still believe what I said then.

Sermon Delivered at Nativity Cathedral on the Occasion of the Requiem Mass for those who died or were wounded in the attacks on 9-11-01.

May the words of my mouth and the meditations of my heart be always acceptable in thy sight O Lord, my God and my Redeemer.

I’ve developed a new habit over the last year. When I sit at my desk, working on my computer, I tend to always have a web browser open to news page. I click the refresh button on the web browser every ten minutes or so just to see if some new development or disaster has occurred since the last time I checked. I suppose it seems pretty silly now, but in the first couple of weeks after the attack happened a year ago, it seemed like there were constant new and breaking stories.

Last week I was sitting at my computer working on something and I did what has now become reflexive for me. I clicked the refresh button on the browser I had open and glanced up at the news page as it displayed. There was a breaking news bulleting that “another plane has been hijacked. The plane is reported south of Washington and turning back to the city. Evacuations are occurring and bedlam is breaking out on the ground and there are sirens heard everywhere.” I immediately leapt up from my desk and went out into the hallway to let the staff know what was happening. We all went right into emergency mode. The Sexton grabbed an AM radio and hurriedly tried to tune in a news station. Our Outreach Minister started to say a prayer and our Receptionist’s face completely drained of color. In a moment we were taken back to the same feelings we had experienced a year ago tonight.

I ran back down the hall to the computer and hit “reload” once more. Apparently someone had thought it would be “interesting” to repost the news stories as they had appeared from a year ago – and what I had read was year old news about the plane that ultimately crashed in Pennsylvania. I went out and reassured everyone that this was a mistake – but the strong emotions took time to disappear, and we realized with some surprise just how close our fears were to the surface. The fear and stress that we had felt a year ago has not vanished or been truly dealt with. At best the hole that the pain had left in our souls was merely papered over, and this “false alarm” had ripped that thin covering apart and we were left looking down into the abyss once again.

What is it about this attack on America that has left such strong feelings lingering in so many of us? The number of people who died on that day was horrible, but there have been worse moments and more frightening events in our history. More people die regularly in traffic accidents or died in the Blitz on London, but neither seems to have affected so many so deeply and so profoundly. Tens of thousands die yearly of AIDS in southern Africa but we haven’t had the same deep emotional response to their loss.

For a long time I thought that what we were really mourning when we returned to contemplate the loss of life in New York, Washington and Pennsylvania was the fact that we no longer felt safe. For so long we in America have felt secure and protected behind our two great oceanic moats. Wars happened, persecutions happened, terrorist attacks happened, but always someplace else, never here where we lived. This attack has struck us directly on the mainland of the United States, in two of it greatest cities and came seemingly out of the blue. It was an attack not against military forces or groups prepared to defend themselves, but upon civilians going about their everyday routine, never imagining the doom that hurtling toward them from out of a cloudless sky.

But I believe there is something more subtle happening here tonight – something more complicated causing the distress that we all feel. It isn’t so much that we were attacked – it more an issue of who attacked us. These 19 men who fiendishly killed so many so quickly are not the sort of attackers we’re used to thinking about. These are not terrorists in the strictest sense of the word. They made no demands, they presented no manifesto, and they took no credit on the world’s stage for their deed. They attacked us not to cause us to change our ways. The attacked us simply to kill us. Their deepest prayer was that their action would cause ignite a Third World War – a conflagration that would set peoples of different religions against each other. Out of the war they hoped they would start, a new radical militarily robust Islamic sect would stride forth and sweep all opposition away.

The implications of this are truly frightening. They don’t want to talk with us, they don’t want to reason with us – they want to kill us. In their minds we need to die. We need to die not because of our admittedly error prone ways – but because of the way we behave when we are at our best. They want to kill us because we are tolerant, because we encourage and try to embrace dissent – because we believe truth is elusive and only become apparent through hard, committed conversation and interaction between people who disagree. They hate the fact that we don’t believe there is a simple clear answer for every moral question. They hate the fact we tolerate in our midst those people they can not tolerate. They hate us for being the best the American ideal can be – diverse, a melting pot for all the world’s greatest hopes and dreams.

It is truly frightening to imagine that there is nothing that we can do to discuss this with people who seek our destruction. They offer us no quarter, no terms to accept or reject – only death and that because of who we are when we are at our best.

Who are these people?

It’s important that we be very very clear.

They are not people who follow the religion that was revealed by the Prophet Mohammed. The leaders of Islam have disowned these men and made clear that the submission to the Will of Allah does not ever include the willful taking of innocent life.

These are not the people of the Arab nations – many of whom reacted with horror at the acts that were supposedly perpetrated in their name.

These were not the people of the Arab street who curse us and argue with us. They engage us in conversation and attempt to get us to change our way – a disagreement with how we are American. Their disagreement is something that not only will we hear and engage, but whose very existence is sacred to the American ideals.

Who are these people? In truth they are a small group of men. Thousands (maybe tens of thousands) of whom have gathered around a wealthy man who’s family has rejected him, with a history of violence and who is a self declared religious leader of a small extremist sect of Islam. They represent no nation state, no broad consensus among honorable people – merely a focal point for a small number of men who have chosen to fill their hearts with hate in their attempt to hide from the light of God’s love.

If they are so few in number, how did they cause so much destruction? Thomas Friedman in his latest collection of essays Longitudes and Attitudes writes about the advent of a new person in history – the super-empowered individual. The nineteen men who managed to kill as many people as died in the bloodiest day of the Civil War, and in an hour or so rather than a 24 hour period, were able to do so because they perverted modern technology from its intended use. 150 years ago it took two great armies of more than 100,000 men on a broad field of battle an entire day to manage to kill more than 3000. It took 19 men moments to kill the same number of unarmed civilian men, women and children. These men used unarmed airplanes, built for peaceful commerce, for travel and for the good of many – and turned them into human guided missiles with warheads of innocent lives.

Friedman argues we are going to have deal with the fact that modern technology is going allow a single individual a greater ability to affect the whole of society than we’ve yet seen. This is the just the latest and more horrific example. We are most likely going to see more and more of this type of attack – a small group of men causing death and injury on a scale unimagined just a short time ago.

It seems so hopeless – but we are never without hope. We worship the living God – and with God there is always hope.

The Bible lessons that we have heard read aloud this evening remind us that we are not the first people in history to suffer at the hands of a seemingly implacable enemy. The words of the Prophet Jeremiah remind us that God will never forsake God’s people forever – and that after a time, the promises made of old will be seen to be true of us again.

The Gospel lesson reminds us that Wars and Disasters surround us but do not overcome us. They are the remnants of old reality that the in-breaking of God’s kingdom is replacing with new. In spite of the momentary fear we experience, the larger view is that God is with us in the midst of our loss leading into a deeper relationship with God and with each other.

But more than that: the small group of men who seeks to destroy us are not the only super-empowered individuals upon the stage. We are super-empowered individuals as well – but our power comes not from hydraulic lifts or electrical relays or network connections. We have the burning flame of the Holy Spirit that was placed within us at our baptism. If we have God within us – who can ever stand to truly harm us? The power we share in is the power of creation itself, a power that binds up the works of destructive chaos.

How can we use this power we share?

Some of us – those with heroic faith are probably already well on their way to forgiving those few who destroyed so many. They know what so many of want to know – that the true power of God is to love those who hate us, and by loving them, we can transform them.

But what of the rest of us whose faith is not of that quality just yet? What of people like me?

I may not now be able to truly love those who hate me, but I can love those around me.

I can love the people I meet day in and day out as I live my life here in Northeastern Pennsylvania. I can love my neighbor right here, right now.

I can go outside tonight and sit on my front step and get to know the names of the people who live closest to me. I can work at finding ways to turn our group of homes into a real neighborhood whose inhabitants know and care for one another sharing the burdens of sorrows and the rewards of joys.

I can join Rotary or Lions or the Jaycees or any community based organization that works locally to make a stronger region. I can share in the important task of building up a region so hard hit by the aftermath of 9-11.

I can smile at the people I meet in line today. I can hold the door open for someone whose arms are full of packages. I can thank people as I go about my little everyday errands.

I can build a wall of love around this town. I can help to construct a wall of love that no plane, no missile, no hatred can ever breech let alone destroy. I can do this – we can do this because we are individuals beloved of God – the God of Love. With God’s love supporting our small efforts we can love the world back into a proper relationship with the one who made the world in the beginning. For we know and have Christ’s own promise, that nothing can ever destroy the works of Love co-created with God.

Is there an image of hope for us this evening?

Absolutely. There is an image from a year ago that has seared itself upon my mind. Two people, who in desperation chose to escape the flames of the Twin Towers by leaping out of a broken window to their death. But as they fell – they held hands. They knew in that moment of unimaginable terror that the simple act of relationship could make the unbearable bearable. Their act of hope in the moment of their death reminds each one of us this night that we are never without hope.

Let us pray that by God’s grace we can witness this truth to others in our daily lives.

Amen.

Christmas 2014

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“Bethlehem has opened Eden: Come, let us see! We have found joy hidden! Come, let us take possession of the paradise within the cave.

There the unwatered stem has appeared, from which forgiveness blossoms forth! There the undug well is found from which David longed to drink of old! There the Virgin has borne a child, and at once the thirst of Adam and David is made to cease.

Therefore let us hasten to this place where for our sake the eternal God was born as a little child!”

- Anonymous from the hymn, Ikos of the Nativity of the Lord

May the Christ Child be fully present to you in this season of Christmas, and may you and your family be blessed in the coming year. Thank you for your prayers this past year.

+Nicholas

Scripture’s role in Anglicanism

Religion

Scripture’s role in Anglicanism

The question of how Anglicans (Episcopalians) use the bible has come up a couple of times this week in various conversations. And as luck would have it, I’m working my way through a book by Paul Avis on what we mean when we speak about an Anglican Church, and in my reading this morning, I came across this quote:

This faith is said to be ‘uniquely revealed’ in the Holy Scriptures. Here the Scriptures are accorded the status of the vehicle of revelation. But neither here nor in the Articles is there any theory of revelation or of biblical inspiration. The Articles state that ‘Holy Scripture containeth all things necesary to salvation’ and this is echoed in the Chicago—Lambeth Quadrilateral (1886–88) which upholds the Scriptures as ‘the rule and ultimate standard of faith’. Anglican formularies do not recognize the Scriptures as a source of binding precepts and precedents which should determine the worship or polity of the Church. Reason and tradition also have their part to play.

Avis, P. (2008). The Identity of Anglicanism: Essentials of Anglican Ecclesiology (p. 11). London; New Delhi; New York; Sydney: Bloomsbury.

I’m grateful for the way Avis puts this. We use Scripture as the rule and ultimate standard, but it, in of itself, is not the source of “binding precepts”. It’s in Scripture’s conversation with Reason and the Tradition of the Church that we comprehend the Truth.

(This allows space for the Creeds and the Liturgy as well as our own engagement with both and Holy Scripture as the vehicles the Holy Spirit uses to reveal God’s truth to us.)

Just an early morning thought today.

Creating a Center for Reconciliation in Rhode Island

Religion / Rhode Island

There’s been a great deal of interest in the last few days in a decision we made at our diocesan convention regarding the future of our Cathedral in Providence. Convention voted overwhelmingly to start working to create a Center for Reconciliation at St. John’s and to begin working toward telling the truth about our own denomination’s participation in the slave trade as part of our own reconciliation work.

Header logoWe’ve been guided by the work of the Traces Center, founded by people with deep Rhode Island roots, who created the “Traces of the Trade”. And we’ve been inspired by the reactions that Episcopalians in Rhode Island have had to learning their own history.

On the Tracing Center website blog there’s a wonderful account of the process that has brought us to this moment:

“Also in 2006, Katrina was invited to preach at St. Michael’s Church in Bristol, R.I., where many of the slave-trading DeWolf family were practicing Episcopalians in the late 1700s and early 1800s. The Rev. David Dobbins and the Ven. Janice Grinnell of St. Michael’s were moved by the sermon Katrina gave during the filming to initiate a spontaneous healing ritual during the service. This became the final scene in the film. Over the years, David and Jan have remained conscious of the need to continue to implement the process outlined in the 2006 resolutions within the Diocese of Rhode Island. Jan became the diocese’s archdeacon in 2013, and when Bishop Knisely issued a call for ideas to reimagine the cathedral, she and David conceived the idea for a museum and reconciliation center. They convened a diverse group of Rhode Islanders to explore the concept, which has grown and flourished from that beginning.

In Rhode Island, the Episcopal Church’s complicity in slavery and its economic benefits were especially stark. As Bishop Knisely notes:
  The ship building and shipping industry in Rhode Island were major players in the slave trade and much of Rhode Island’s economy was built with the profits of that trade. Many … of those businesses were owned and operated by Episcopalians. So we feel we have both an obligation and an opportunity to speak the truth about the church’s role in the slave trade.

Of course, the Episcopal Church is not unique in having historic ties to slavery, nor in having wealthy benefactors who made fortunes in slavery or the slave trade. In Providence, Brown University embarked several years ago on its own process of discernment and atonement for its historic dependence on the slave trade, a process which culminated in, among other concrete steps, the establishment of a new Center for the Study of Slavery and Justice, which, along with the Tracing Center, is a partner in the cathedral project. Nor is this institutional complicity limited to Rhode Island: other religious denominations in the U.S. have been exploring their historic ties to slavery in recent years, as have other colleges and universities. For a scholarly analysis of the latter history, see Craig Steven Wilder, Ebony & Ivy: Race, Slavery, and the Troubled History of America’s Universities (New York: Bloomsbury Press, 2013).”

More here. Please go and read the whole account.

Please pray for what we are hoping to accomplish here. We will need your help.

Building a truly modern personal biblical library

Religion / Web/Tech

Many years ago, my brother the pastor and professor, talked me into spending more money than I wanted to on a computer bible system. It was one of the first ones that was published and he had found it a real help in his sermon preparation. He and I serve in different faith transitions, his being more traditionally evangelical than my Anglicanism. But I am always willing to learn from others and started trying to use the software in my own ministry.

I didn’t have much luck. The software back then was designed to support close study of the Bible in a verse by verse sort of way. Anglicans tend to read the Bible in literary chunks (like psalms, stories, letters, etc.) rather than by verse. And that’s certainly the way our use of the weekly and daily lectionary undergirds our use of the Bible in our preaching. So while I could use the software to gather a great deal of information about a single verse (including translation issues, text variants, etc.), the package just wasn’t very helpful for what I was trying to do as a preacher.

But things have changed. First of all, the software, published by Logos, has been through a number of revisions, has moved to a truly cross-platform structure and is much easier to use. And even more exciting to me is that it now has a wealth of Anglican sources including commonly used commentaries, theological resources and liturgical resources. This package has been endorsed by people at Lambeth palace (the Archbishop of Canterbury’s office), the Anglican Communion office, and American Church’s Presiding Bishop’s office. And the new tools and resources make it incredibly helpful for the average jobbing Sunday lectionary based preacher to quickly pull together a wealth of information to use for sermon preparation. You can even download powerpoint templates and professionally designed slides for presentations (and sermons).

It’s not inexpensive. Actually, it’s pretty expensive, at least if you try to buy the whole thing at once. But you don’t have to buy it all at once. (I haven’t.) Buy one of the starter packages and then over the years, upgrade and purchase separately the resources you think you’ll need for the way you want to use the system. A student or biblical scholar’s needs are different than a parish priest’s, or a deacon, or a chaplain, or a Christian Ed. director, or a musician, or a Sunday School teacher, or…

New Office

I find that it’s best to think of this thing as a library platform, like Kindle or iBook, that makes modern, professional and popular theological and biblical resources available in electronic format. By the time I had graduated from seminary I had spent thousands of dollars on books and had built a decent, medium sized, theological library. (That turns out to be a real bear to move from office to office by the way.) Logos, and its competitors, are a more modern way to gather and use a personal theological library.

And, if you want to try the system out, you can do that for free with a surprisingly powerful package that FaithLife, the new corporate name for the Logos people, are giving away to the first million people who download it. The Faithlife Study Bible comes with a free modern translation of the Bible, but for $10 more or so, you can add the NRSV, the most commonly used text in the Episcopal Church. And then you’ll have a full study bible, bible dictionary, and single volume bible encyclopedia on your laptop, smartphone or tablet. Perfect for parish bible studies, or for using to read the bible in a year…

You can find the free package here along with more information about what is available and how to use it.

Anglicanism and Evolution; “show, don’t tell”

Religion / Science / SOSc

With all the talk the last few weeks about Pope Francis’ speech regarding the compatibility of Faith and Evolution, I’ve found myself having to remind numerous people, including media folks, that this is not a new development. What Pope Francis has done, albeit particularly effectively apparently, is reiterate the existing relationship between science and faith, at least from a non-American evangelical viewpoint.

But a number people asked me if Anglicans had anything to say on the matter, and other than a few essays here and there, a book or two, and of course the Catechism of Creation that a group of us are continuing to work on, there hasn’t been much that was accessible to non-specialists.

Logo

But that’s changing! A Manchester based group in the UK has a new site up called “God and the Big Bang” that is meant to provide all sorts of resources for secondary education students, and students in post-secondary (college) schools and even professional scientists at the beginning of their career.

The programs (and there are different lectures and events designed for different sorts of audiences) intend to inspire curiosity and encourage young people to think this sort of thing through for themselves:

God and the Big Bang allows young people to ask some of the big questions they usually struggle to find answers to, and hear responses from leading scientists with a wealth of knowledge about, and passion for, both science and theology. With fascinating questions and deeply insightful, respectful and honest answers, this panel session prompts a high level of discussion around science and faith, providing pupils with the opportunity to grapple with current ideas surrounding science and faith, in an inspiring, eye-opening way that helps make the event one that will be remembered by students and teachers alike.

Rather than telling people what to think about the relationship between science and religion, the programs demonstrate how various scientists think about such questions. It’s not a matter of telling, it’s a matter of showing (show, don’t tell” is one of my favorite teaching philosophies).

Keep an eye on the page.

What do Anglicans believe about evolution and the relationship between science and faith? That it’s a fantastically interesting conversation with lots for both parties to learn.