Adults Christian Formation
I have recently been binge-watching the TV series The Good Wife, featuring the ups and downs of lawyer Alicia Florrick (played by Julianna Marguiles). Alicia is a staunch atheist, and so is more than a little bemused and concerned when her teenage daughter Grace becomes a Christian.
One day Alicia needs Biblical knowledge for a case, and so she goes to her daughter for help. As they discuss various Biblical passages that are relevant to the case, Alicia suddenly stops and asks her daughter, “Do you really believe all this?”
Grace answered yes. Alicia then says, “You believe all this is true? The Tower of Babel, God creating the world in seven days? You’re an intelligent girl, Grace. How you can believe this?”
“You don’t have to believe it actually happened that way to believe it’s true,” Grace replied, “If you want to explain to someone that God created the world, you tell a story. It may not have happened exactly like that story says, but it still contains the truth.”
In that explanation, Grace shows a wisdom far beyond her mother’s.
I have been impressed with the thoughtful, respectful conversations about religion in this show.
We all know people like intelligent, thoughtful people like Alicia, who mistakenly think that belief in God requires turning off your mind, who think that the only way to read scripture is literally, who see religion and science in opposition to one another.
This fall in Adult Sunday School (also suitable for youth), we will be looking at the relationship between science and religion, using a series called Painting the Stars.
Celebrating the communion of science and faith, Painting the Stars explores the promise of evolutionary Christian spirituality. Each of the seven classes includes a 20-minute video featuring leading theologians and progressive thinkers.
Here is what the introduction to the series says: “The evolutionary process is a deep mystery. Spiritually, mystery is not the sum total of all that we don’t know yet, but given enough time could figure out and move on to the next problem. Mystery is a condition of awe, of resting precisely in an unknowing, long enough for the silence to have its way with us.
“The goal of this curriculum is to create some space for us to inhabit this mystery more deeply, and explore the relationship between science, particularly evolution, and religion.
“Perhaps more importantly, the hope is that each participant will feel from the inside what it is like to be the presence of all this creativity showing up after 13.8 billion years as him or her. Without this felt sense of being one with the creative process that is ceaselessly animating life, the conversation will remain objective and academic.
“We invite you to engage this class with an awareness that you are not separate from the creativity that produced you.
” Why is this series called Painting the Stars? Because of this quote from Vincent Van Gogh: “When I have a terrible need of – dare I say, religion? – then I go outside at night and paint the stars.”
Come paint the stars with us, beginning September 11 at 9:30 in the Founders’ Room.