I woke up today asking myself, once again, why I am doing this. Fortunately, my bouts of self doubt are periodic and generally fleeting. Like the relentless optimist that I am, I usually don’t go looking for the answer- other than the obvious that is explained in the intro of this Blog. ( I hope to write an essay about the results of the “conversation”.) Waiting for the answer to be “revealed” to me on some other way, – you know–either by the Universe or Divine Providence- I scurry about my daily activities while secretly shouting at God- ” Show me a sign!”
Having said all of that , answers often come to me in the form of other people’s words. In this case, I was perusing the website “On Being” , recommended by a very wise colleague and friend for looking at other writings on the “Big Questions.” One of the writers, Parker J. Palmer, included a poem that I had not seen before and miraculously ( 🙂 the last 2 lines contained the answer I was seeking.
“It doesn’t matter whether she (he) knows what she serves.
Who serves best doesn’t always understand.”
Czeslaw Milosz from the poem “Love”
Works for me! 🙂
So now that we have established that I don’t really know what I’m doing –lol—on to today’s post.
Looking for some specific inspiration on the subject of Science and Faith and how it relates to theme of the Awakening Blog, I found a section on the same website that contains various posts and podcasts on the Big Questions – aptly named ” The Civil Conversations Project”_ ( http://www.civilconversationsproject. org)
I was definitely in sync with the Universe as I perused the podcasts and found exactly what I was looking for without even knowing exactly what I was looking for- ” Evolution of the Science -Religion Debate“, featuring a discussion between Christian mathematician, Jim Bradley and Philosophy Professsor, Micheal Muse. Deftly and congenially moderated by Krista Tippet, who opened with an astute observation that the historical divide between religion and science has been “quietly evolving” over recent years into more of an interplay, there was plenty of informed,honest, humorous and respectful dialogue to keep me listening–not once but twice! Although the discussion was on the much broader topic and not specific to the discovery of life elsewhere, there were may reflections that I was able to apply to my personal journey and beliefs on this topic. ( both of which are fluid and evolving. Nothing written in stone. We are all learning as we go. ) What particularly resonated with me was the concept of faith and science in a “constructive partnership” , which is what I hope will happen as each community grapples with what that discovery would “mean.”
As a person of faith with a strong interest in and commitment to science, it’s important that I am able to state my own thoughts on what that discovery will mean to me. I worry that it seems too simple. I believe that God’s creation is limitless- “unfathomably infinite” Jim Bradley says in the discussion. God created us and all that we are and it seems perfectly reasonable to me that creation extends to the rest of the Universe. It helps, I suppose, that I’m not a Creationist or literal believer in the Bible ( Old Testament ) so no conflict there. How convenient, more fundamental Christians might argue. And they would be right. I guess I’m just fortunate that all this makes sense to me given what I know about science and evolution and ( conveniently ) doesn’t conflict with my “faith”. Like I said- it seems too easy. But what if it is that simple?
Both of the panel members reflected on their thoughts of some of the ultimate existential concepts, like purpose and randomness—the latter is a concept that actually scares me when I observe daily how totally random our lives seem to be. But doesn’t God have a plan for us? What’s the deal?
Jim Bradley summed it up again in words that could be uttered by me as the next layer of my belief. And perhaps it goes back to my early Catholic education and belief that God endowed us with free will. And then let us run with it…
“God delights in the process of becoming” Bradley observes.
We are supposed to grow, change, evolve and “become” and I believe that part of the “becoming” is accepting that we are part of a much larger creation –and all that goes with it. Whatever that might be. This journey is just beginning.
Would love to hear some other thoughts on this.