|Dear WesleyNexus Colleague:
As the summer winds down, I would like to highlight a few events and articles that you may find of
interest. As always, if you have any articles that we can share, let us know. We can post them on the
website and include them in next month’s newsletter. You may email us at WesleyNexus@aol.com.
Rick Barr, WesleyNexus
Six Week Course in Science and Religion
Dr. Philip Clayton, along with Tripp Fuller, is offering a
six week internet course on Science and Religion. The
course will provide an introduction to the subject for laypeople,
ministers, and students. Dr. Clayton is the author of more
than 20 books and is recognized as an international leader in the
dialogue between science and religion, scholar on the future of faith, and activist in emerging
Christianity. Tripp Fuller is a youth minister and co-founder of HomebrewedChristianity.com, the
cutting-edge emergent Christian site for equipping grassroots theologians for creative thinking,
engaging, and living.
The course will begin on September 9th and run through October 14th. You can find more
Alert for AAR/SBL attendees
The 2013 meetings of the American Academy of Religion and the Society of Biblical Literature are
scheduled for the Baltimore Convention Center beginning on November 22. In conjunction with the
200th Anniversary of Old Otterbein Church (in downtown Baltimore next to the Convention Center,
112 W. Conway Street), WesleyNexus will be organizing a free seminar and special presentation on
the evening of Thursday November 21st. The discussion topic will be “Is Evolution the Enemy of
Faith?” Panelists will include WesleyNexus Advisory Board member Dr. Thomas Jay Oord, Professor
of Theology at Northwestern Nazarene University, Craig A. Boyd, Assistant Professor of Philosophy
at St. Louis University, and Mark A. Mann, Associate Professor of Theology at Point Loma Nazarene
University in San Diego. The session will begin with a light supper at 6:00 p.m., and the program runs
from 7:00 to 9:00 p.m. The historic church is within one block walking distance from the convention
hotels, and all AAR/SBL members are welcome, as well as members of the public. More information
will be forthcoming in future newsletters. Meanwhile, please share this information with anyone
planning to attend the AAR/SBL meetings so that flights can be arranged to arrive at BWI on Nov 21st.
Opportunities and Challenges of Teaching Big History
Join Metanexus in exploring the benefits of teaching
Big History and the challenges of its implementation.
Share their vision for popularizing this emerging global
perspective and join in the developing conversation.
Big History is a narrative account of the 13.7 billion-year
history of our universe, the 4.5 billion-year evolution of our planet, the 6 million-year rise of our
species, and the 10,000-year accelerating drama of human civilization. The program will be hosted
by three leaders of the field: David Christian, Bob Bain, and William Grassie. It will take place at the
Harvard Club in New York, NY on September 21.
Registration information can be found here.
Painting the Stars: Science, Religion and Evolving Faith
Living the Questions is an organization dedicated to
the development of instructional materials to meet
the real world needs of pastors and their congregations.
The organization was founded by David Felten and
Jeff Procter-Murphy, both of whom serve United
Methodist congregations in Arizona. Rev. Felten was trained at Boston University School of Theology
and Rev. Procter-Murphy at Claremont School of Theology. Their most recent program is Painting
the Stars: Science, Religion and Evolving Faith. “Celebrating the communion of science and faith.”
Painting the Stars explores the promise of evolutionary Christian spirituality. Featuring over a dozen
leading theologians and progressive thinkers, the seven-session program includes a
downloadable/printable participant reader (written by evolutionary theologian Bruce Sanguin) and a
facilitator guide with discussion questions. For more information and to see video sample go to http:
Jesus, Jazz and Buddhism: Process Thinking For A More Hospitable World
Jesus, Jazz and Buddhism (JJB) is a website supporting
an “informal community of scholars, artists and friends
who are interested in helping create a more hospitable
world with help from process or relational thinking.”
Influenced by the organic philosophy of Alfred North
Whitehead, participants engage in conversations and
explorations into the many ways Whitehead’s relational philosophy can “build bridges between
cultures, between religion and science, between tradition and a constructively postmodern future”.
Contributors include John Cobb and Marjorie Suchocki, both with deep roots in the United Methodist
Church. JJB can be found here.
Steven Pinker Gets People Talking
In a recent article published in The New Republic, Steven
Pinker, the Johnstone Family Professor in the Department
of Psychology at Harvard University, created quite a buzz
by addressing the charge of scientism leveled against him
and others by persons in the humanities and religion. For Pinker,
”the worldview that guides the moral and spiritual values of an educated person today is the worldview
given to us by science.” It has shown that the “belief systems of all the world’s traditional religions
and cultures—their theories of the origins of life, humans, and societies—are factually mistaken.”
Needless to say, not everyone agrees with his assessment. The article can be found here with a NY
Times reply by Ross Douthat available here.
Also from across the pond, see Seven Poole’s response here.
Should Creationism Be Controversial?
A week after the commotion started by Steven Pinker’s
article, the Washington Post hosted a conversation
between seven writers on the issue of science and creation.
You can find all seven articles here as well as dozens of
comments by readers.
Christian Century Focuses on Climate Change
The August 21st issue of The Christian Century has a
cover story by Eileen Flanagan focusing on the issues of
ecological justice, climate change and poverty that is
impinging on the life of millions on the African continent.
Weather patterns are changing and forcing many to respond
to a new normal. As Flanagan points out, blaming climate change for these new challenges is “tricky”
and is viewed as a contributing factor rather than cause. But change is happening, placing huge
pressures on those struggling to sustain life. The article can be found here.
One point of contact between science and religion is in
aesthetic appreciation of the natural world. Who among
us has not felt close to the sacred when encountering the
beauty of nature? Even photographs can portray the
awesomeness of creation, though always coming up short
of the true experience. In a recent article, the Huffington
Post presented pictures of the Rainbow Mountains in China's Danxia Landform Geological Park. I
had never heard of them but after viewing the pictures, will never forget them. I can only imagine
what it is like to see them in person. The article and pictures can be found here.
Robert Bellah’s Contributions to the Study of Religion
As many of you know, Robert Bellah, one of the leading
scholars in the study of religion over the past decade, died
recently. Over the coming weeks and month there will be
numerous articles written about his contributions. A few
weeks ago, Mark Juergensmeyer, a student of Bellah’s in
the 1960s and now Professor of Sociology at UC – Santa Barbara offered his own account about
Bellah in Religion Dispatches. You can find his article here.
The Theology of Surprise
A new book just out, The Theology of Surprise:
Exploring Life’s Mysteries by John L. Epps, is available
(ISBN: 9780-9850458-38). Dr. Maynard Moore, President
of WesleyNexus, Inc., has written the following among the
endorsements for the book: “If you are religious because
you treasure ‘eternal verities,’ if you are happy that ‘on solid rock I stand,’ this book is probably not
for you. But if you acknowledge that one essential component of Revelation is ‘unexpected
encounter,’ and if you are humble enough to lay your faith down before the Mystery of Life, you will
want to read this book. Epps is both wise about the tradition in which we stand and creative in his own
response to the possibilities open to authentic faith. If you are unfulfilled by dogmatic certainties
calcified in archaic language, you will benefit greatly by Epps’ observations about theological surprise.
These ideas will enrich your journey of faith.” The book is available at a discount from the publisher if
you identify yourself as a participant in the WesleyNexus dialogue community.
Welcome to the Age of Denial
Adam Frank, a professor of physics and astronomy at the University of Rochester, and author of
“About Time: Cosmology and Culture at the Twilight of the Big Bang” has written a thoughtful article
in the NY Times. He reminds us that we should not take the acceptance of science for granted and
that in the current moment “it is politically effective, and socially acceptable, to deny scientific fact…
And as we know from history’s darkest moments, even the most enlightened traditions can be broken
and lost. Perhaps that is the most important lesson all lifelong students of science must learn now.”
Find the article here.
|August 25, 2013