Science and Awe

Recently, friends share two interesting articles on Facebook. The first, The surprising links between faith and evolution and climate denial — charted analyzes the relationship between different faiths and their views on evolution and climate change. Essentially, there is a close relationship between rejecting evolution and rejecting man’s role in climate change. The author then attempts to connect this with the relationship between religion and science.

At one extreme is the position that science denial is somehow deeply or fundamentally religion’s fault… At the other extreme, meanwhile, is the view that religion has no conflict with science at all. But that can’t be right either: …it is pretty clear that the main motive for evolution denial is, indeed, a perceived conflict with faith

It seems as if he is confusing a “perceived conflict with faith” with religion. Indeed for those who view science as a means of understanding truth, and who believes that all truth comes from God, there is no conflict. The real problem, it seems, is that too few people are talking about how faith and science truly complement each other.

The author goes on to say

The main driver of climate science rejection, however, appears to be a free market ideology — which is tough to characterize as religious in nature.

In fact, I would suggest that a free market ideology runs counter to traditional Christianity, and, I suspect many other beliefs. Free market ideology seems to be based on the love of money, which 1 Timothy says is the root of all kinds of evil.

The second article, Why Do We Experience Awe?, explores the relationship between experiencing awe and the idea that “awe is the ultimate ‘collective’ emotion, for it motivates people to do things that enhance the greater good.”

The article cites interesting research and suggests

We believe that awe deprivation has had a hand in a broad societal shift that has been widely observed over the past 50 years: People have become more individualistic, more self-focused, more materialistic and less connected to others.

Are they suggesting that awe deprivation leads to a free market ideology?

How do address this age of awe deprivation? For me, I’m feeling drawn more towards contemplative prayer and poetry.

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"Here Am I, Send Me"

Yesterday, Kate Heichler shared a blog post, Interviewing Jesus where she invites us to approach the Gospel for next Sunday from a fresh view point, treating it as a story and not as theology.

She asks us to imagine we are Nicodemus. She asks us what we would ask.

It is an interesting exercise, and one that particularly jumps out at me right now, as I am reading Janet Ruffing’s Spiritual Direction – Beyond the Beginnings. The first chapter is about “praying for what we want”. What do we really want? What did Nicodemus want in his interview with Jesus? What do we want today? What do we pray for? What does God want for us? What if God wants something we aren’t ready to give? What if God wants us to sell all that we have, give it to the poor and follow Jesus?

As I read the Gospel, it feels like Nicodemus did not get what he came for. It feels like Nicodemus came trying to better understand God by figuring out how this Rabbi’s teaching fit into a nice clean systematic theology, and Jesus responded challenging Nicodemus to approach God other ways, not just through the intellect.

So, I’m not sure what I would ask Jesus in an interview like Nicodemus had. Instead, the lesson for next week that jumps out at me is the Old Testament lesson, moving from a person of unclean lips, through having my sin blotted out, and ending up at “Here am I, send me”.

I wonder what it was like for Isaiah. After his marvelous vision, did he wonder if it was real, or whether he just imagined it? Did the vision start to fade as he went about his daily tasks afterwards? And when he said, “Here am I, send me!” Did he have second thoughts? What did he desire? Was he afraid of what it would be like ‘being sent’? And how long did he have to wait between saying, “Here am I” and getting a clear sense of what he was being sent to do, when and where, and how close was the actual sending to his initial desires.

Bringing it back to the present, how many of these thoughts and concerns play out in each of our daily lives, if listen closely?

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#rhizo15 Expanding the discussion

In her blog post, Rewilding the rhizome. Angela Brown writes about leaving a note in a library copy of Deleuze and Guattari’s A Thousand Plateaus asking,

“What if you could find a shared exploration … “

She points to #rhizo15 and the shared exploration of A Thousand Plateaus.

Concurrent with this, Autumm Caines, in her blog post, The Living Artifact: An Open Letter/Invitation/Call for Help to the #rhizo15 Community to an open, connected, rhizomatic discussion of Jose Antonio Bowen’s Teaching Naked: How Moving Technology Out of Your College Classroom will Improve Student Learning.

Meanwhile, I’m reading Christian Wiman’s My Bright Abyss and Janet Ruffings’s Spiritual Direction: Beyond the Beginnings. Both are thought provoking books, and I wonder about the hashtag for the ongoing discussion of these books.

Is there a website to connect with others that are currently reading, and wanting to discuss, certain thought provoking books? Are there easy ways to find hashtags, Facebook groups, Google Groups, or other online fora to discuss these books? If not, what would it take to start such a site?


She learned to knit
from her older sisters,
it was something they could do together
on cold winter nights.

Knit two, pearl one

One by one they left home
and soon she was knitting baby blankets
for nieces and nephews.

Then her sisters starting knitting
baby blankets
for her.

At family gatherings
they would knit
and talk about
their children.

At the church sewing circle
she would share tea rings with friends
and make scarves for orphans.
Life was good.

Knit one, pearl two.

When her father died,
followed soon after
by her mom
(a broken heart)
knitting kept her centered
rarely dropping a stich.

It was harder when her husband left

Knit two, drop one.

she started knitting baby blankets again
for her grandchildren.
They took longer than they used to
but still came out well.

Then there were the wakes
for her friends from the sewing circle.
The survivors would still knit
as they remembered the early years,
but without as much vigor.

Knit one, drop two.

Her hands were slowing down,
less stable,
and she started dropping
more stitches.

There were days
when she’d rip out
than she knitted.

The doctor said it was
essential tremors,
not Parkinson’s.
It relieved her,
but the knitting
still became harder.

Her sisters were now gone
So were her friends
from the sewing circle.

Knitting became solitary.
It became frustrating,
no longer the peaceful
it had once been.

she put down
her knitting needles.

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A very short blog post

It has been a very busy day, choir practice, chores around the house, picking Fiona up from one party heading out to another party. I’m finally done and trying to write. Any poetry or longer blog posts will have to wait until I have more time, and I’m not sure when that’s going to be.

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