Companions along the Way

Religion / SOSc / Travel
Some of you may have wondered about the letters that come after my signature. “SOSc” stands for the Society of Ordained Scientists. It’s a “dispersed” religious community, and I have taken my life vows as a member of that order. The members have been professional scientists at one point in their career (and a significant number still are), and most of them are ordained in one of the churches of the Anglican Communion (though there are Lutherans, Presbyterians and others, too.) The rule of the order, in short, is to interpret science to people of faith and faith to people of science. There’s more, but that’s the gist of it.

As a vowed member of the order, I’m expected to meet with the other members when possible. Normally the society and its members gather in England each summer, but every other year we have a meeting here in North America as well. This month, the members of the North American Provence met in Tucson, Arizona, and I was able to be a part of the meeting.

It’s a deep joy to be with the other members of the society. Part of the joy is that it’s one of the few times I get to be with people who speak fluently both the language of science and the language of theology. Our conversations are filled with the sort of obscure jokes that I love, but which few other people either get, or find funny. But the most profound joy comes from being with people who are doing the same internal spiritual work of reconciliation between two realms of thinking that seem to many (and occasionally to me) to be in deep conflict with each other. Most of our work at this meeting was talking about what that effort looks like for each of us, and the sharing of our experiences along individual journeys. It’s striking each time we meet, especially since we only meet every two years or so, how similar our experiences are — and serves as a reminder that we are not alone in this work.

Have you thought about what it would be like to meet with people doing the same sort of spiritual or reconciliation work that you are doing? Like what it would be to talk with other accountants who are also active Christians? Or to have a meal with other schoolteachers who are also active in church life? Or whatever your path and journey might look like now? These sorts of meetups have always been deeply nourishing for me. I bet they would be for you, too. At worst, you might have a boring lunch conversation. At best, you might open yourself to a new context for your own spiritual work of becoming part of the Beloved Community.

It’s always better to have companions when you are walking the Way of Love.  



The Author

Episcopal bishop, dad, astronomer, erstwhile dancer...