|December 23, 2014
Dear WesleyNexus Colleague:
It is the shortest day of the year and only four days until Christmas. I know this time of the year is
filled with getting together with friends, family and faith community. That is how it should be and we
at WesleyNexus hope your week is filled with joy and wonder. I will be taking the time to be with my
family and to give thanks for all the blessings which I have received. I also hope to spend a little time
reading some of the books I discovered over the course of the year.
Top of my list is a new book by Matthew Avery Sutton, Edward R.
Meyer Distinguished Professor of History at Washington State University.
The book, American Apocalypse: A History of Modern Evangelicalism,
focuses on the impact apocalyptic thinking has had on American cultural
identity over the past hundred years. Based on a particular approach to
interpreting Biblical prophecy, American apocalyptic premillennialism,
with the anticipation of Jesus’ return at any moment, has become one of the primary forces preventing
the acceptance of science and modern scholarship by American Protestant churches. It has affected
views on such diverse topics as politics, education, ethics and entertainment. It has emerged as one of
the primary players in what has become known as the Culture War. Understanding those with whom
one disagrees is very important. It is hoped that this book will provide necessary nuance and context
on what is a very prickly aspect of current American culture.
I invite you to share your reading list as well. If there are any books or article you feel are worth
sharing, please let us know.
Below you will find some reminders of future events that will take place in 2015. We encourage you
to participate and to share with others.
Finally, we ask for your support. WesleyNexus is very much a virtual organization. We have no
buildings, no offices, no staff or paid consultants. All funds that we collect are spent on maintaining
our web presence, sponsoring programs, distributing the newsletter and promoting activities of other
organizations within the science and religion space. Please consider supporting us with a contribution
either through the PayPal DONATE link below, or, by sending a check to:
24500 Fossen Road
Damascus, MD 20872
Thanks in advance for your support.
Rick Barr, Secretary,
WesleyNexus, Board of Directors
Reminder: January 10, 2015 Reminder: Dr. Ted Peters to speak at Trinity UMC in MD
On January 10, 2015, Trinity United Methodist Church in Frederick,
Maryland, will host Rev. Dr. Ted. F. Peters in an evening conversation
on the intersection between Science and Faith. Dr. Peters, is Distinguished
Research Professor of Systematic Theology at Pacific Lutheran
Theological Seminary, Berkeley, CA and one of the early trailblazers
in the developing discipline of science and religion. He served as
principal investigator of the Center for Theology and the Natural
Sciences (CTNS) research project funded by the NIH to study the
"Theological and Ethical Questions Raised by the Human Genome
Initiative" and is the author of Playing God? Genetic Determinism and Human Freedom. He is also
editor of Science and Theology: The New Consonance where the contributing authors from a variety
of disciplines address issues affecting both theology and science. His most recent book was released
earlier this month with the provocative title: UFOs: God's Chariots: Spirituality, Ancient Aliens, and
Religious Yearnings in the Age of Extraterrestrials. Dr. Peters' blog can be found here.
The program flyer can be found here.
WesleyNexus Evolution Weekend, February 15, 2015 in Fulton, MD
For the past two years, WesleyNexus has sponsored a major
panel discussion as part of the Clergy Letter Project's Evolution
Weekend. This year we plan to continue this tradition by hosting
a panel discussion between representatives of the following traditions
talking about God: Christianity, Islam, Judaism and Atheism. They will
address the topic of “Science, Story, Scripture: Living Together with
Understanding.” The panel includes Haytham Younis, a scholar in Arabic
and Islamic Studies, Dennis Skocz, Ph.D. career diplomat and Adjunct
Professor of Philosophy at UDC, Daniel Spiro, author and coordinator of
the Washington Spinoza Society, and John Shook, Ph.D. Instructor in science education at the
University of Buffalo. The initial flyer can be found here. The program will begin at 4:00 p.m.
Eastern time. This is the Program that WesleyNexus plans to live stream worldwide, funds permitting,
so you should plan now to have a discussion group organized and ready to participate. As we did last
year, those groups registering will be provided a special email address through which your participants
can submit questions to the panel. More information will be posted once available so please come
Update: By January 3, we will have a link available on the WesleyNexus website (www.wesnex.org)
to register for the Evolution Weekend event. We will be sending out a separate announcement once
the registration is open. Please send us an email at WesleyNexus@aol.com if you have any
Reminder: DoSER Program of AAAS: Science Perceptions National Conference, March 13,
2015. Register before December 31, 2014 and save $20!
Registration for the Science Perceptions Conference is now open with
a discount rate of $59 in effect through December 31, 2014. After
that, the cost of the program will be $79. You may register here.
“Perceptions: Science and Religious Communities is a national conference
that will bring together leaders in science and religion—including DoSER
director Jennifer Wiseman, National Association of Evangelicals president
Leith Anderson, and climate scientist Katharine Hayhoe—to further
conversation and to plan a course for future dialogue.”
The list of speakers includes Nobel Prize winner in physics William D. Phillips, climate scientist
Katherine Hayhoe, Doser director Jennifer Wiseman and Leith Anderson, the President of the
National Association of Evangelicals. Additional speakers are listed on the website which can be
New Posting: Religion, Science and the Future, January 14 – 17, 2016 in Gainesville, FL
In a little over a year’s time, The International Society for the Study
of Religion, Nature and Culture will sponsor a major conference at the
University of Florida in Gainesville, FL. The theme is “Religion, Science
and the Future” and proposals are now being accepted on a variety of
topics including Evolution, Religion and Science; Religion, Violence, and
Neuroscience; Religion and Science on Health and Well Being; Religion,
Science, and Indigenous Knowledge Systems; Consciousness, Mysticism, & Meditative Practice; The
Greening of Religion; Religion and Nature in the Arts; and Ethology, Botany, and Sentience. This will
be a major US conference and one you may want to attend. I know I do. Information on the
conference can be found here.