SOMETHING POWERFUL is sweeping through evangelical America — something largely missed by news media reporting on the rigid categories of faith and politics we’ve come to accept as the “gospel” of American culture.
I’ve witnessed this transformation personally. Over the past year, I’ve spent a week in Salt Lake City where Mormons and evangelicals from traditional Protestant churches are involved in creative new dialogues. I’ve also talked with both evangelicals and Muslims — true-blue-and-super-committed evangelicals and Muslims — who are discovering that they’ve got a whole lot of common ground between them. I participated in an interfaith dialogue at Iona Abbey in the Atlantic Ocean off Scotland in a session that left both a Muslim teacher and a number of evangelical Christians in tears over the common ground they had discovered in this “first” dialogue between them. (Want to read more about evangelical-Muslim dialogue? Check out our new Conversation With Mark Siljander this week.)
And that’s not all!
If you haven’t been reading the Darwin-and-Faith or Spirit-and-Science stories we’ve been publishing recently, then you may have missed the enormous movement of spirit converging around these themes this month.
For example, check out the series in OurValues.org — one great starting point is this piece by Dr. Baker on Darwin’s 200th birthday.
TODAY at OurValues.org, Dr. Baker is drawing provocative links between Darwin and the “survival” values Americans are wrestling with nationally right now. Check it out and add a comment there, please!
We’ve even published an overall Spirit of Darwin resources page. (And, if you’ve got additions we should make to that page, please let us know.) Readers continue to visit that page as a touchstone of links and tips, even though the National Geographic shows recommended on that page already have debuted.
BUT THIS TRANSFORMATION IS FAR BIGGER than ReadTheSpirit or National Geographic. This is a real, honest-to-goodness organic movement of spirit.
One example is Martin Davis’ “Faith and Fumbles” blog. Here’s a good starting point to read what Martin’s been doing with this convergence of spirit-and-science. Then, if you care to follow that conversation further, here’s another piece in which Martin wrestles with challenges on this issue.
THE EPICENTER of this movement of spirit and science, at this moment, is Ken Wilson’s Web site, where his “top story” of the week, “Apologies to the Memory of Charles Darwin” had racked up more than 130 comments when I last checked Ken’s site.
Ken has been a leading figure in American evangelical circles. He’s an author, an innovative pastor, a wise teacher. We featured Ken last year in an in-depth Conversation about his book “Jesus Brand Spirituality.” You’re also going to meet Ken on a daily basis in the new Our Lent inspirational section of our Web site that will “go live” on Ash Wednesday with daily readings for the Lenten journey. Ken is a successful pastor because his instincts push him — as Rabbi Schulweis puts it — “to look for and to lift up goodness.”
In a pastoral and daring way, Ken has been working in particular with Carl Safina, a popular, secular scientist at the Blue Ocean Institute on trying to heal this unnecessary and painful rift between many scientists and many people of faith. Together, Ken and Carl are part of a much bigger network of leading evangelicals and scientists.
READ WHAT KEN AND CARL — and so many other people — have been doing this week and take heart!
As Ken and I have been working, this week, on the upcoming Our Lent project, Ken has been sending me a steady stream of Emails expressing his great excitement that it may be possible to heal this wound. Ken was very deliberate in writing an “Apology” about the evangelical treatment of Darwin.
Here’s the truly prophetic section in Ken’s article:
We’re hard on our scientists, we doctrine- and dogma-driven
Christians — we who sometimes use religion as a form of control. We who
parrot the party line without stopping to think what we’re saying or
why. Galileo felt the wrath of our kind in his time. Quick to
condemn, slow to apologize for getting it wrong.
When we stand before the judgment seat of Christ — the friend of
sinners, the man of sorrows acquainted with grief — how will we answer
for the slander slathered on this good man’s name?
I for one, on behalf of my tribe, am sorry.
Visit Ken’s page and troll through the 130-plus comments as well. An amazing conversation unfolding around us right now.
PLEASE, Tell Us What You Think.
This is a good time to sign up for our Monday-morning ReadTheSpirit Planner by Email—it’s
free and you can cancel it any time you’d like to do so. The Planner
goes out each week to readers who want more of an “inside track” on
what we’re seeing on the horizon, plus it’s got a popular “holidays”
Not only do we welcome your notes, ideas, suggestions and personal
reflections—but our readers enjoy them as well. You can do this
anytime by clicking on the “Comment” links at the end of each story.
You also can Email ReadTheSpirit Editor David Crumm. We’re also reachable on Facebook, Digg, Amazon, GoodReads and some of
the other social-networking sites as well, if you’re part of those
(Originally published at https://readthespirit.com/)