March 2017 Newsletter

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Dear WesleyNexus Colleague:

We are beginning the process to re-design our website to make it easier to use, make it more visually compelling and offer more features. Over the next year we hope to gradually roll out our new look. We hope that you will appreciate the changes. If you have an interest in participating and want to offer suggestions, please let us know:

Perhaps more importantly, we are revisiting our mission statement. We recognize that our current mission statement is too broad and perhaps too vague for our participants to know precisely what we are all about. To move forward, we are in the process of clarifying our mission and working towards a focus of engagement that will provide greater value to our participants. To begin with, we are asking ourselves the following questions: Why is the science and religion dialogue important? What difference can it make to those in the Wesleyan tradition? Who is our audience and what can we do to help them on their faith journey?

To answer these questions, we see three groups of persons to whom we should direct our efforts. First, there are persons who may be interested in science but are not really sure if how this dialogue connects meaningfully with their faith. Second, many might see the dialogue as important but are not sure where to begin. Finally, there are those who have already begun engaging in dialogue at the nexus of science and religion but need resources and guidance to resources that meet their developmental needs.

Of course, we at WesleyNexus see an imperative for faith to engage science as we seek to equip disciples for their faith journey in the 21st century. Our Evolution Weekend program “Are Our Children At Risk: Food Insecurity, Climate Change and Racial Bias” (which can be accessed on YouTube here reflects this conviction. Also, we are open to your suggestions and want to know what you feel is important. We are an open organization and invite all who share our conviction that science and religion can work together for a better world and vibrant faith.

We greatly appreciate the collaborating groups and sponsors that helped us underwrite expenses for our February live-streamed event, especially The Clergy Letter Project and the Institute for Religion in an Age of Science, but also the several churches and individual who have sent donations since January 1. Now our budget is in a state of recovery, so if you can manage a contribution, large or small, it will help us tremendously as we develop and present several additional programs during the year. WesleyNexus is a 501(c)(3) charitable, educational organization, and we will acknowledge all gifts from individuals for tax reporting purposes.

WesleyNexus, Inc.
24500 Fossen Road
Damascus, MD 20872

Thanks in advance for your support.

God Bless,

Rick, Maynard, and the rest of the WesleyNexus Board of Directors


Lend your Christian voice and visibly wear your support as we join the March for Science on April 22nd.

**Note: We need at least 25 people to purchase shirts before April 1, 2017 or all orders will be cancelled and payments refunded.

WesleyNexus is making available a t-shirt for the upcoming March for Science, which will take place across the country on April 22nd. This t-shirt is about visibly bearing witness to God’s reconciling work in the world and putting an end to the war on science that is waged falsely in the name of Christian faith. There are many, faithful, Jesus-loving Christians who embrace sound science. Even if you can’t be present at one of the marches on April 22nd, we invite you to wear this shirt to lend your support.

Cost for each shirt is $15 plus $4.99 shipping. The shirt will be shipped directly to you and should arrive around April 18th. DEADLINE to order is APRIL 1st (no joke!). To order, go to:

To learn more about the March for Science, and to discover a march in a city near you, go to:

Richard M. Ballew, Ph.D. joins the WesleyNexus Board

Richard (Ricky) Ballew graduated from the University of Virginia with a Bachelor of Science degree in chemistry and the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign with a Ph.D. in chemistry (physical). He has worked in the biotechnology and pharmaceutical industries at companies including CuraGen, Celera Genomics, Covance, MedImmune, and AstraZeneca, where he has held positions in technology development, laboratory automation, and information technology, as an individual contributor and in management. He is a Certified Lay Servant in the Central Maryland District of the Baltimore-Washington Annual Conference of The United Methodist Church and currently serves the congregation of Memorial UMC in Poolesville, Maryland as its lay leader. His wife Helen is a seminary student and a certified candidate for ordained ministry in The United Methodist Church.

Reminder: IRAS Summer Conference, June 24 – July 1, on Star Island

>>> Click here for more information.

American Scientific Affiliation (ASA) hosts physicist Paul Julienne.

On March 11th, the Washington DC Metro Section of the American Scientific Affiliation (ASA) hosted a presentation by physicist Paul Julienne. Dr. Julienne retired from the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) Joint Quantum Institute and is an Emeritus Fellow at the University of Maryland. A member of Truro Anglican Church in Fairfax, Virginia, Dr. Julienne has a long-standing interest in the intersection of science and theology. He described how the practice of science and the practice of Christian faith both engage with an external reality through the disciplined practices of a dedicated community. His theme centered on the fact that the natural sciences, understood non- reductively, have no conflict with robust Christian theology. He talked about the principle of unity and diversity coexiting in both physics and biology, and related this to the mystery of the Trinity. He also discussed the idea of God’s eternal Logos, the Reason or Logic behind all things. He concluded that the intersection of science and faith can best be engaged in a Christ-centered way that allows for both interaction and independence between these different ways of knowing. The event was held at the Rockville United Methodist Church, in Rockville MD, and was attended by over 50 people, including clergy, scientists, and a group of young adults.

Noble Laureate Dr. William Phillips Gives Guided Tour of NIST

On March 16, several people who had attended the WesleyNexus Evolution Weekend event on Feb 12, along with their guests (14 total), were treated to a tour of the National Institute of Standards and Technology in Gaithersburg, MD. The highlight of the tour was a private presentation by Noble Laureate Dr. William Phillips, a pioneer in extremely low temperature physics. Dr. Phillips led us on a tour of his own laboratory, where we could see the laser technology that allowed him to reach temperatures extremely close to absolute 0 (on the Kelvin scale), the lowest temperatures anywhere in the universe. These low temperatures are useful in the workings of atomic clocks that allow for such applications as GPS signals and quantum computing. We also saw other parts of the facility, including demonstrations of cell functioning and related biological applications to stem cell research. About half the group, including two of the WesleyNexus Board members, had lunch with Dr. Phillips, who is a member of a local United Methodist Church, and we were able to hear his thoughts on a range of topics related to science education, the science/faith dialog, and other areas. It was an exciting and valuable day.

52nd Annual meeting of the Wesleyan Theological Society

At the 52nd Annual meeting of the Wesleyan Theological Society, hosted by Asbury Theological Seminary, in Wilmore, Kentucky, more than 200 attendees enjoyed near perfect weather and vigorous discussions on a variety of topics. On May 2nd, participants had the option of attending presentations organized (respectively) by the Wesleyan Historical Society, the Wesleyan Liturgical Society, and the Wesleyan Philosophical Society, all affiliate organizations. During the “main event” over the course of the next two days, conferees heard two sterling keynote presentations, the first by Dr. Sondra Wheeler, professor of Christian ethics at Wesley Theological Seminary in Washington DC, speaking on “Transforming Mercy: John Wesley’s Legacy in Moral Theology.” On the morning of May 3rd, Dr. Phil Meadows, soon to assume the position of professor of evangelization studies at Asbury Theological Seminary, presented a compelling talk on “Responsible Extremists? Christian freedom in a Post- Christendom Society.” Over the course of the conference two days, more than sixty other small group presentations were available in concurrent sessions. Dr. Thomas Jay Oord, professor at Northwest Nazarene University, a member of the WesleyNexus Advisory Board, coordinated the Science and Theology track, that included two excellent sessions. The first, presented in conjunction with the section on Social Science, Psychology & Theology, was called “Ecclesiology and the Other: How Might Moral Foundations Shape the Future of the Church,” and featured research findings from work at several Nazarene universities, presented by professors Joe Bankard, Paul Jones, Mark Maddix, and Ron Wright. The findings, though still very much “in process” at this date, show a strong correlation across the demographic spectrum between traditionalist religious convictions and conservative political views, as measured by a consistent psychological scale. The entire room was fascinated to see that data unfold. A second session in the afternoon, chaired by Professor Oord, featured three presentations in a room with an overflow audience: the first by Dr. Logan Patriquin, Lead Pastor at Schuyler Avenue Wesleyan Church in Lafayette, IN, “Towards an Evolutionary Understanding of Original Sin.” This was followed by a paper “Knowledge is Power: How Understanding Human Origins Can Be Empowering for Christian Life” presented by Dr. Matthew Nelson Hill, from Spring Arbor University. Finally, Dr. E. Maynard Moore, President of WesleyNexus, Inc, presented his paper “John Wesley’s Concept of Truth.” Discussion, questions, and comments followed all three papers. The 53rd Annual meeting of the Wesleyan Theological Society in 2018 will be hosted by Pentecostal Theological Seminary in Cleveland, Tennessee, March 8-10, and have the overall theme: “Borders: Bane or Blessing?”

Scholars raise doubts about church’s future

The United Methodist Board of Higher Education and Ministry brought together 28 academics from three countries for a sort of one-time think tank. The title of the March 9-12 gathering at Candler School of theology in
Atlanta was “Unity of the Church and Human Sexuality: Toward a Faithful United Methodist Witness.” The conference recognized the deep disagreements within the United Methodist Church about the status of gay and lesbian individuals, and many of the seminary professors shared doubts about whether the churches can stay together. However, a number of others affirmed some confidence that the church’s future can be marked by unity. The goal was for participants to share their expertise in the Bible, church history, theology and Christian ethics as United Methodist leaders consider the denomination’s future. The Rev. Kim Cape, the agency’s top executive, described the gathering as “an opportunity to demonstrate how people of faith with differing opinions and perspectives can discern God’s way.” A more detailed report on the conference can be found in the United Methodist News Service, here.

“The Bible in a Postmodern Age” from Tom Oord’s Blog

Terence (Terry) Fretheim has written one of the best essays I’ve ever read on the Bible in the postmodern world. In that essay, Terry explores a wide range of issues, including interpretation, inspiration, and theology. I’m providing that essay in this newsletter (download link below).

In one of his more provocative sections, Terry writes the following… “Most Christians assume that whatever the Bible says about God is right, true, or somehow appropriate. They believe no biblical text contains or conveys a contorted view of God. Consequently, the church tends to block any challenges to biblical images for God, to screen out questions about divine accountability, and to defend the Bible’s portrayal of God.” “Unless one adopts a problematic view of biblical inspiration that disallows any real participation of the human mind in writing the biblical texts, however, one must be open to the possibility that sinful and finite writers did not always get theology straight. Not all biblical portrayals of God are accurate.” Fretheim’s essay was published along with 30+ essays in a book I co-edited with Richard Thompson called For the Bible Tells Me So. Although I recommend you get the whole book, I’m giving away Fretheim’s chapter free. Just click the download essay button below….

Thomas Jay Oord is a theologian, philosopher, and scholar of multi-disciplinary studies. Oord is an award- winning author, and he has written or edited more than twenty books. A ten-time Faculty Award winner at Northwest Nazarene University, Oord teaches at institutions around the globe. A gifted speaker, Oord is known for his contributions to research on love, open and relational theology, science and religion, and theologies exploring the implications of freedom and relationships for transformation. He is also a member of the WesleyNexus Advisory Board. His website can be found here.

WesleyNexus Breakfast at the Baltimore-Washington Annual Conference

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Prayer by Gretta Vosper – West Hill United Church, Toronto, Canada

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