Archive for the ‘science’ Tag

A Prayer for a Quirky New Year: Happy 2014!   1 comment

A Harvest of Quirkiness (CLICK HERE for HD version on VIMEO)

Gracious God,
how can creation sing your praises,
except with the red wings of blackbirds
flashing across blue sky,
and the croak and splash of frogs
playing hide-and-seek in the ponds?

How can the firmament proclaim your handiwork,
except in the wagging tail of a puppy,
and the focused attention of a toddler
soaking in the wonder of it all?

How can the heavens proclaim your glory,
except through a morning sun rising upon gold-green grass,
lighting up the face of lovers as Earth spins them
once more into a new day?

Your beauty and goodness, O Immanent One,
requires Earth’s diversity
and our own wildness,
breaking down – and out of –
the monotony of prescribed patterns,
choosing rather to take our place
in the dancing procession
of differentness,
the variegated life of Christ finding expression
in this body of the church
and the bodies of our kin-creatures.

Make a harvest, O Holy One,
of our quirkiness,
that we might be your radiant presence.

— from If Darwin Prayed: Prayers for Evolutionary Mystics, by Bruce Sanguin

Each session of LtQ’s DVD curriculum, Painting the Stars, concludes with a reading from Bruce Sanguin’s collection of prayers and liturgical resources published in his book “If Darwin Prayed.” This prayer, “A Harvest of Quirkiness” was produced by Scott Griessel of Creatista and is read by Sara Jackson. Happy New Year!

PtS logo white frameFor more on Living the Questions and Painting the Stars, including DVD/web-based curriculum and home editions, CLICK HERE (or on the graphic at left)

Bruce Sanguin_scarf

Rev. Bruce Sanguin is a leader in evolutionary Christianity, teaching evolutionary theology and practice with a passion for updating the theology and practice of the church in light of the reality of evolutionary processes and the creative impulse of the universe. He lives in Vancouver. Find more of his writing HERE

Jesus Didn’t Give a Rip about Heaven   Leave a comment

Morwood PtS posterThere’s no small amount of confusion around the notion of heaven and the Kingdom of God. Much of it probably derives from the Gospel of Matthew. Matthew writes to a Jewish audience for whom the word “God” is unutterable, so he changes “Kingdom of God” to “Kingdom of Heaven.” In the Gospels according to Mark and Luke (and Thomas), Jesus’ expressed purpose is to embody and proclaim the Kingdom of God as a lived reality here and now – “not in some heaven, light years away.”  So “The kingdom of heaven,” (to use Matthew’s designation) isn’t about an otherworldly heaven – it isn’t a concept of the afterlife at all.

As Dave Tomlinson says in his book, How to Be a Bad Christian (and a Better Human Being),

It’s a “state of consciousness – a different way of looking at the world, a transformed awareness that anyone may sense from time to time. Every truly joyful (I don’t mean ‘religious’) experience is a taste of heaven. Every kindness is a taste of heaven. Every loving partnership, every real friendship is a taste of heaven. Every expression of beauty, every new discovery is a taste of heaven. Every selfless act, every attempt to create justice, every hungry mouth fed, every homeless person welcomed, every difference celebrated is a taste of heaven.”

The real danger comes when Christians become “so heavenly-minded that they’re no earthly good.” Again, Tomlinson says,

“There is a stream of otherworldly spirituality within Christianity that tells us not to feel too much at home in this world; that we are exiles or aliens here, awaiting removal to our true home in heaven. I think this is mistaken. Yes, of course, there are things in the world that we shouldn’t feel at home with – injustice, poverty, prejudice, greed, abuse, disease and the like – but it is these things that are alien and need to be eradicated, evicted and exiled.”

In Living the Questions’ new series on Science, Evolution, and an Evolving Faith, Painting the Stars, Australian theologian Michael Morwood says,

“It is my utter conviction that the dream ‑ the intensity ‑ of Jesus of Nazareth had nothing to do with people getting to Heaven. It’s about the Kingdom of God. It’s about the here. It’s about the now. It’s about us being empowered by the presence of the divine with us; that the Jesus story is our story. The Jesus reality is the divine emerging in the human, giving voice to that ‘presence’ in the universe and on this planet ‑ and saying, ‘This is what it is to be human.'”

It’s not about getting to some otherworldly heaven, but about how we embody the Jesus story in our own lives, here and now. May the coming New Year offer us all opportunities to live out the Jesus story wherever we find ourselves!

Painting the Stars: Science, Religion, & an Evolving Faith   2 comments

PtS logo white frameThe first reviews are in and Living the Questions’ new Painting the Stars series is receiving kudos as the new catalyst for dynamic and liberating conversations  about the communion of science and faith — all around the world.

Featuring over a dozen leading theologians and progressive thinkers, the seven-session program explores the promise of evolutionary Christian spirituality that has been gaining momentum in thoughtful circles of Christians across the globe. The challenging and engaging participant reader was written especially for this program by evolutionary theologian Bruce Sanguin. When you purchase the curriculum edition, you receive a code to access the downloadable/printable overview and reader.  The downloadable material also includes a facilitator guide, detailed discussion questions coordinated with the video segments, and original prayers/poems written for each session by Michael Morwood. The basic format for each 1-1 1/2 hour session includes conversation around the readings, a 20-minute video presentation and guided discussion. Click HERE for info on purchasing the curriculum edition.

— Michael Dowd, author of Thank God for Evolution

“This course is a masterpiece. The content, editing and graphics are beyond first rate. Congratulations to all.”
— John Jacobson, Facilitator – New Smyrna Beach Theology Club

Painting the Stars is also available as a Home Edition licensed for private home viewing only. Each of the seven episodes runs approx. 20 minutes. Please note that, when purchasing the home edition, none of the downloadable material is accessible and the videos are not to be used in group settings.

1. Toward Healing the RiftPtS HE white frame
2. A Renaissance of Wonder
3. Getting Genesis Wrong
4. An Evolving Faith
5. Evolutionary Christianity
6. Imagining a Future
7. An Evolving Spirituality: Mysticism

Philip Clayton, Michael Dowd, Rachel Held Evans, Matthew Fox, Catherine Keller, Megan McKenna, Michael Morwood, Jan Phillips, Barbara Rossing, Bruce Sanguin, Bernard Brandon Scott, John Shelby Spong, Gretta Vosper

I just completed facilitating Painting the Stars with a group of fifteen. It was a wonderful experience for all concerned. The presenters, the visuals on the DVD, the discussion-provoking questions were all typical LtQ quality. What I wanted to convey particularly was the light that I saw go on in the eyes of several participants at several points during the class. It is a rare and special thing to watch a fellow seeker “get it.” Thank you!                                                                           — M. Mathews 

Chlorophyl as Religious Experience   1 comment

Rossing Photosynthesis poster

“I remember as a child first learning about photosynthesis. That was truly one of the biggest ‘Aha’ moments I have ever experienced. To realize that plants have these amazing chlorophyl molecules that are somehow able to transform the energy of sunlight into food…to realize that all the oxygen we breathe on our planet is created by trees, by plants. I had to ask my mother, ‘Is it really true?’ The connections were so amazing. ‘Yes!’ my chemist mother told me. Yes!’ said my physicist father.

That whole week I pondered the deepening realization that we are all connected in a ‘luminous web,’ a wondrous communion of living beings — and that’s how it felt when I learned about evolution too. It was so wonderful, so amazing. So, for me, before there was any ‘conflict’ between religion and science, there was wonder, amazement about photosynthesis, and gratitude to God for evolution.”

— Rev. Dr. Barbara Rossing in Painting the Stars: Science, Religion, and an Evolving Faith

Celebrating the communion of science and faith, Painting the Stars features over a dozen leading theologians and progressive thinkers in a seven-session program that explores the promise of evolutionary Christian spirituality.

Living the Questions contributor, Rev. Dr. Barbara Rossing

Living the Questions contributor, Rev. Dr. Barbara Rossing

Barbara Rossing  is Professor of New Testament at the Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago.  Her publications include The Rapture Exposed: The Message of Hope in the Book of Revelation, a critique of fundamentalist “Left Behind” theology and articles and book chapters on ecology.  She serves on the executive committee and council of the Lutheran World Federation, where she also chairs the Lutheran World Federation’s theology and studies committee. She has contributed to a number of Living the Questions series, including Living the Questions 2.0 and Saving Jesus Redux

Horizontal Transcendence   Leave a comment

In a reflection reminiscent of Emerson’s appeal to see in every fair flower a “wayside sacrament,” Philip Clayton urges the seeker to not miss the miracle of every moment:

“Do not, in your rush to find ultimate meaning and the ground of all being, neglect the transcendence that lies around you like a miracle at every moment . . . every outlook, every walk in a park is a call to horizontal transcendence.”

— Philip Clayton (from LtQ’s upcoming series on Science, Religion, and Evolutionary Spirituality)

Philip Clayton is the author of numerous books, including, Adventures in the Spirit: God, World, Divine Action (Fortress Press, 2008), In Quest of Freedom (Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht 2009), The Predicament of Belief (Oxford 2012, with Steven Knapp), and Religion and Science: The Basics (Routledge 2012). He has served as the Vice President for Academic Affairs, Dean of Faculty, and Professor of Theology at Claremont School of Theology and is currently the Provost of Claremont Lincoln University.

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