Dear WesleyNexus Colleague:

As we begin the holiday season with Thanksgiving, Hanukah, Kwanza, Christmas and New Year’s
Day, I want to thank you all for being part of the WesleyNexus network.  Though electronic media is
by nature impersonal, it is also a way to connect to persons with events and information not possible
just a decade ago.  We at WesleyNexus continue to work towards critical understanding and creative
dialogue between scientific and religious understanding.  Though most of you are geographically
distant and not able to take part in programs that we sponsor in the Washington, DC area, we hope
you find us a valuable resource for your own networks.  Science and religion dialogue is more than
getting the best, most up-to-date information but also about engaging with others on how to integrate
information into our daily lives.  Please keep in touch through our email at WesleyNexus@aol.com.  
Have a wonderful, holiday season.

God Bless,

Rick Barr, WesleyNexus  

Newsletter

WesleyNexus Sponsors Science and Religion Discussion in Baltimore

As noted in last month’s newsletter, WesleyNexus
sponsored a free seminar/discussion on November
21 in conjunction with the 200th Anniversary of
the death of Philip William Otterbein at Old
Otterbein UMC in Baltimore.  Here are some
pictures of the event paneled by 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 WesleyNexus sponsored event was scheduled to coincide with the convening in Baltimore of the
annual meetings of the American Academy of Religion and the Society of Biblical Literature. The
following day, several of our Board members and participants attended a series of meetings at the
Convention Center sponsored by the International Society for Science and Religion, coordinated by
Dr. Ron Cole-Turner of Pittsburgh Theological Seminary. Through a series of eight sessions over a 24-
hour period, the theme addressed was: “New Challenges in Science and Religion,” and featured
presentations by more than twenty scholars, including Dr. Philip Clayton, Dr. Wentzel van Huyssteen,
Dr. Robert J. Russell, Dr. Niels Gregersen, Dr. Michael Spezio, and Dr. Ted Peters, among others.
Perhaps the most intriguing “new challenge” comes from the recent research from paleoanthropology
as it discovers “human pregenitors” among the widening species of hominins, and new theses in
“Religion and Neuroscience on Emotion, Reason and Character in Community.”


WesleyNexus To Co-Sponsor Second Annual Evolution Weekend Event

Last year’s Evolution Weekend program presented at the United Methodist Baltimore-Washington
Conference Mission Center was a great success with well over 100 people in attendance to hear Nobel
Prize winner John Mather, Connie Bertka, Rabbi George Driesen and Tom Burnett address the topic
“Evolving Universe, Evolving Faith” (last year’s flyer can be found here. http://www.wesnex.
org/Flyer_EvolvingUniverse_2013.pdf).  This year we plan to build on this success by presenting the
second annual Evolution Weekend program at the BWC Mission Center on February 9, 2014.  Our
panel of respondents, not finalized at this time, will be addressing the theme “Daddy, is this story true
or were you just preaching? How different orders of truth and faith inform each other.”  We are in the
middle of the planning and coordination process and will be communicating event details as they
become finalized.  We hope many of you around the country are planning similar events in churches
for Evolution Week-end, and we ask that you let us know about these so that we can post the
appropriate links on our website and include notices in our January newsletter. Please let us know your
plans.  


The Three Values of Science

A recent article in Real Clear Science highlights a
1963 talk at the University of Washington where
physicist Richard Feynman identified three values of science:
   1) the ability to “do all kinds of things”      
   2) intellectual enjoyment, and
   3) to experience the freedom to doubt.  
That last value is perhaps the most important and one that should be imported to the science and
religion dialogue and religious thinking in general.  The article can be found
here.  

Pope Francis on the Science and Religion Dialogue

Pope Francis continues to make the headlines talking about compassion and social justice.  However,
in a recent posted document called “APOSTOLIC EXHORTATION EVANGELII GAUDIUM OF
THE HOLY FATHER FRANCIS TO THE BISHOPS, CLERGY, CONSECRATED PERSONS
AND THE LAY FAITHFUL ON THE PROCLAMATION OF THE GOSPEL IN TODAY’S
WORLD” there is a short but clear statement concerning the relationship between science and
religion.  Far from being a threat to the faith, science, when viewed responsibly, “all of society can be
enriched thanks to this dialogue, which opens up new horizons for thought and expands the
possibilities of reason. This, too, is a path of harmony and peace.”  Just two paragraphs long, this
papal statement is worthy further contemplation.  It can be found
here in section 242 on page 181.     

Claremont Short Course Video Available Online

The course offered by Philip Clayton and Tripp Fuller
covering a broad range of science and religion topics is
available online at the six web addresses below.  Given
to both a classroom at Claremont School of Theology
and to the live web audience, these six sessions provide
a new resource for groups and individuals to get familiar with what the science and religion dialogue is
all about.  These sessions can be found here:  

Nature of Faith for Ordinary People
Physics and Cosmology
Biology, Origins and Evolution
Origins, Development and Mind
Theological Reflection
Ethical Dimensions
(Note: Titles assigned are mine due to videos being unlabeled.)  

AAAS in Washington, DC to Host Holiday Program with Krista Tippett   

On December 11 at 5:30, DoSER, the Dialogue on Science,
Ethics and Religion program of the American Association
for the Advancement of Science, will be hosting an evening
with Krista Tippett called “Conversations: Science, Scientists,
and the Human Spirit”.  Ms. Tippett is “the Peabody
Award-winning host of “On Being,” a public radio show heard
on nearly 300 stations. She is also the author of two books,
Einstein’s God: Conversations About Science and the Human Spirit and Speaking of Faith: Why
Religion Matters and How to Talk About It.
”  You can get more information on the program here.  

Mainline Protestants Don’t Water Down Their Faith

An interesting and provocative editorial was
written recently by Rev. Scott Dalgarno
pastor of Wasatch Presbyterian Church in
Salt Lake City, challenging the assertion in
an earlier article in the Salt Lake Tribune (
found here)
http://www.sltrib.com/sltrib/lifestyle/57001613-80/mainline-church-christian-churches.html.csp)
that mainline churches offer watered down religion,
which therefore is meaningless, at least according to Steven Hunter, a critic of the mainline churches
quoted in that article.  Dalgarno recommends that we take a “page from Pope Francis (and one of his
predecessors, Pope John XXIII, 1958-1963).  Stated simply, they both showed the face of Jesus to a
spiritually hungry world.”  It is interesting that the Papal exhortation affirming science in its proper role
came out the same week. The editorial can be found
here.  

Peter Berger Blogs on Denominational Imperative

Sociologist Peter Berger reflected on the recent article
on the growth of atheist mega-churches highlighting
the unique and ubiquitous feature of American religious
practice: denominationalism.  The denominational imperative
reflects our social commitment to pluralism, volunteerism
and religious freedom.  “The denomination is protected in
a pluralist situation by the political and legal guarantee of
religious freedom. Pluralism is the product of powerful forces of modernity—urbanization, migration,
mass literacy and education; it can exist without religious freedom, but the latter clearly enhances it.
While Niebuhr was right in seeing the denomination as primarily an American invention, it has now
become globalized—because pluralism has become a global fact.”  You can read this article
here.   
November 30, 2013
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