Christian teachers are called to be reconcilers. As ambassadors of Christ, they are given this ministry of reconciliation: pointing students to living in harmony with God, neighbor, creation, and self. In II Corinthians 5:16-21, the apostle Paul encourages the Corinthians that, being given this message of reconciliation, they are then called to share the sweetness of wholeness through Christ and to be ambassadors to others of the reconciliation they have received through Christ the source. Teachers hold out this vision for their students – that through the process of becoming reconciled to God, neighbor, creation and self, they might become the righteousness of God to the world!
Yet one area of reconciliation that some Christian teachers and churches quietly avoid addressing is the reconciliation of faith and science. This reconciliation gap has been cited as one of the reasons that students “lose faith” in the transition between high school and college. As educators and reconcilers, we are called to imitate Christ, in whom all things cohere and whose perfect love casts out fear. This includes discussing science and faith with students. We are called to continue to show students how the revelation of God’s truth, Christ’s design in creation is an ongoing process of discovery as human beings.
There are a number of excellent and recent resources for assistance in this work of reconciliation, whether at school, church, or home.
First – how can we have the conversation with each other in a grace-filled way?
- The Colossian Forum is a great place to start. They exist to assist churches and schools to engage on difficult issues of faith, science, and culture in ways that “build community, expand knowledge, and increase faith”. On a related website called The Colossian Way, they present “wicked problems, Christian virtues, and stories of hope” – each giving further insight and concrete examples as to how Christians can constructively engage with each other over issues that often divide and cause retreat.
Second – where can we find helpful resources?
- Teaching FASTly
I am very excited about a brand new project that has come out in the last month called FAST (Faith and Science Teaching). It is a joint project of The Kuyers Institute and The Colossians Forum through the support of a Templeton Foundation grant. I love the question posed on the About Us page of the site: “Could there be a way forward, a way of exploring the intersection of faith and science that isn’t fearful but hopeful?” The site has two main avenues of exploration of its resources – Activity Maps, which may be accessed through the lenses of Subject, Faith, or Strategy, and Insights, which contains many resources such as essays, book reviews, teaching strategies, faith articulation examples, and training materials.
BioLogos is a Christian organization that grew out of the work of Dr. Francis Collins, a former atheist who shared his journey to faith and discussed the relationship of faith and belief in his best selling book, The Language of God: a Scientist Presents Evidence for Belief. Collins was the Director of the Human Genome Project at the time and later was appointed by the President to be the Director of the National Institutes of Health. The mission of BioLogos is as follows: “BioLogos invites the church and the world to see the harmony between science and biblical faith as we present an evolutionary understanding of God’s creation.”
The website contains hundreds of resources – videos, articles, book recommendations, curriculum suggestions, sermons, blogs, etc. Here are the best resources for K-12 educators.
- The Ministry Theorem: Engaging Science in the Life of Your Congregation
This site may sound like it is just for pastors but I believe educators will also find the resources here to be very helpful. This website has been created by Calvin Seminary and includes resources from a wide range of churches and organizations. Here is the link for helpful resources for youth and these can be useful whether you are working in a church, school, or home setting. I think that the video section in particular has great videos that highlight the wonder of God’s creation.
Dan Beerens is an educational consultant, author, international speaker, and educational leader. Before starting Dan Beerens Consulting in May 2010, he served as Vice President of Learning Services and Director of Instructional Improvement at Christian Schools International. Prior to that, he was the Director of Curriculum and Instruction for Holland Christian Schools. Dan has also worked as teacher and principal in urban and suburban public and Christian schools in Wisconsin and Illinois. He serves as a Senior Fellow at CACE (Center for the Advancement of Christian Education), represents Curriculum Trak sales and professional development and serves as co-chair of the annual Christian Deeper Learning conference. He blogs regularly for CACE and is the author of Evaluating Teachers for Professional Growth: Creating a Culture of Motivation and Learning (Corwin Press) and co-editor of the recent book MindShift: Catalyzing Change in Christian Education (ACSI).