What I Wish My Pastor Knew about the Life of a Scientist

A pastoral reflection on what it means to be a scientist, and how the Church may better minister to scientists.
Chemistry
 (Jean Scheijen)

Andy Crouch has written a wonderful essay about science (PDF). It’s not at all your typical ​“faith vs. science” piece, but rather, an almost pastoral reflection on what it means to be a scientist, and how the Church may better minister to scientists.

When we talk about faith and science, we tend to focus on the cognitive content of both endeavors, the truth claims and worldviews that animate these two crucial dimensions of modern human life. These are important matters, and I don’t at all mean to diminish them. At the same time, there are inevitable limits to what any pastor can do to constructively integrate the knowledge content of science — so vast and rapidly expanding that even scientists cannot pretend to be expert in anything but a tiny portion — with the content of Christian faith. But there is another way to approach faith and science which I believe might well be more within reach of most pastors, and more essential to their job description than being deeply literate in the latest scientific discoveries and theories — and that is simply to attend to and prayerfully support and encourage the scientific life itself as a vocation that can reflect the image of God and be a place for working out one’s own salvation.

So here is what I wish our pastors — and fellow Christians — knew about the life of a working scientist.

Also, I love this part:

Let’s see — a community of people that work side by side, motivated by delight and wonder, characterized by intellectual humility and a willingness to admit they have been wrong and change direction, who together help one another bear the frustrations of work in a fallen world… does this sound like something the church ought to celebrate? Or perhaps even emulate? And yet I have never heard the world of science, the world my wife inhabits every day, held up even as a potential metaphorical reference point for the true beloved community toward which all of us are called. Perhaps it is closer than we think.

Crouch’s essay is part of a series titled ​“What I Wish My Pastor Knew” that addresses pastors on various scientific topics, e.g., bioethics, multiverse theory, and stem cells. It looks like some very fascinating reading.