Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Science and Spirit

I'm getting kind of excited about a lecture series I'm dreaming up for this spring and next fall. Not sermons or worship services, but a series of presentations by local people about issues of science and spirit.

A couple of months ago, a friend who is a retired anthropology professor said she'd been thinking about putting together a presentation on Darwin and "The Origin of Species" and offering it to the larger community. I immediately volunteered our space as a venue for her presentation, which was intended to be a one-time offering, but then I got to thinking about how we might offer something more extensive than a one-shot.

So I've been mentioning it to people I get together with, both in the music world and in the congregation, and my excitement has grown. Our community, South Whidbey Island, is very heavily into music and art; the science we hear about is environmental science and there's nothing wrong with that at all, none of it. But there's never been any other scientific offering that I'm aware of.

I'm kind of a science bug, even though my studies in science have been limited to the requirements of school graduations. I love reading science mags, learning more about the universe, geology, biology, all that kind of stuff. I'm strictly an armchair scientist, though a congregant years ago told me that I had a biological approach to my theology. And I think he was right. I do---I see life and spirit and religion through a lens of biological life.

So here's what I've concocted so far. We'll start out this spring with MK's Darwin night and then we'll offer other evenings as well. At a recent gathering, we dreamed up "Planet Eden" by biologist Sarah, "Physics and Philosophy: Lifting the Veil" by philosopher Andrew, something on marine biology and dendrology by Ranger Rick, and brainstormed other possible topics.

What I'd like to do is connect the broad category of Scientific Inquiry with Spirituality, seeing where science and religion and ethics interface. I'd like to avoid "woowoo" spirituality and focus on ethical issues rather than metaphysical issues. I think there might be an audience for science-related topics. It might even be something teenagers would find interesting---extra credit! Yay!

Anyhow, I'm going to help MK pull hers together and then see what we might schedule for the next one, depending on the feedback we get from the community. Wish me luck!


Heather said...

I'm sure you've heard the NPR stuff about the new Darwin movie--Creation, I think it's called. Just in case you haven't heard...

ms. kitty said...

It's on my Netflix list already, Heather, and I'll go see it in the theater if I can.