Some of you know that I’m a vowed member of a dispersed religious order called the Society of Ordained Scientists. It’s been an important part of my life and helped to focus my work on the integration between faith and science since I became a member.
Mother Pan Conrad is the Warden of the North American Chapter of the society, and a friend. She’s also a wicked smart scientist and is principle investigator a couple of instrument packages in the new Mars explorer Perseverance.
And now she’s blogging!
I’ve been thinking a lot about this mission to Mars and how it intersects with my mission as a Christian. You see, whether lay or ordained, we all have a mission—our heritage as followers of Jesus. How we carry out the vocation—our individual missions as Jesus followers—is unique to each one of us. My own formation as a Christian and quest to find my vocation has been a long and rambling exploration. I kept praying for a teacher or guide to help me figure out who I am, and it didn’t dawn on me for decades, that exploration itself WAS my vocation. I am an explorer-priest, and my vocation is to use both the exploration of creation and the exploration of relationships in God’s Kingdom to learn better how to live into the promise inherent with being made in the Image of God.
I love this. It reads to me like an updated version of the pilgrimage language we often use to contextualize our faith journey. It strikes me that exploration is an even more evocative metaphor – and one that speaks more powerfully to the work of integration that seems to be missing in our lives these days. (It’s common in my experience to have an active faith life in church and an active secular life outside of worship and bible study, but rarely do I meet people who have tried to put the two together.)
At any rate – follow her at the blog above. I hear that she’s planning on journaling the mission as it unfolds – and doing it in the context of a priest and scientist.