Philip Clayton on the intersection of faith and science

Philip Clayton, philosopher and theologian at Claremont School of Theology, joins ThinkFwd host, Spencer Burke, at the Rancho Santa Ana Botanical Gardens north of Los Angeles where they talk about faith, science, and the parallels between ecosystems and the Church. Clayton describes how the scientific community had the idea that when they figured out the human genome, everything else would be deduced outward from that starting point. What scientists found instead is that life is unpredictable, and dependent on the individual’s environment. A variety of top-down influences determine what we become, and so life unfolds in an unpredictable, unimaginable way.

View Philip Clayton on emergence taking on a life of it’s own

Consider reflecting on the following questions:

Personal Reflections:
1. How has nature, life, death and rhythms enhanced your understanding of God?
2. How do you see God with, in and through us as co-creators of life?

Small Group or Staff Questions:
1. The top-down approach to management has served us in the past. But now we have networks of networks growing in unpredictable ways. How can we use this new metaphor for growing our faith?
2. If Kingdom-building is going to be more unpredictable, vulnerable, and collaborative, how can we embrace that interconnectedness—the flowing together and even the breaking apart into more parts than before?

Gabe Lyons talks about learning from those unlike you

The skill of listening needs to be regained, says Gabe Lyons, co-author of UnChristian and guest of this week’s ThinkFwd interview hosted by Spencer Burke. Lyons believes this generation is ready—open to learning from each other at a heart-level without expectations of immediate results, and without needing to control the direction of the conversation.

View Gabe Lyons on learning from those unlike you.

You may want to reflect on the questions below and consider purchasing Lyon’s book UnChristian.

Personal Reflections:
1. If you could invite four people who wouldn’t agree on everything to the table—who would you invite and why?
2. How can I add real value to a present project, group or learning experience I’m involved in?

Small Group or Staff Questions:
1. Share a new experience or resource that has opened your mind to new ideas. What did you learn about humility, awareness, or different opinions?
2. What would it take for our community to be known more for what we support, are open to, and encourage rather than what we disagree with or exclude?

Matt Soerens talks about immigration and Christian hospitality

Spencer Burke at TheOOZE has a great series of interviews with folks around the world about how they are living our their Christian faith in the emerging post-modern world. This week he talks about immigration with Matt Soerens.

“Immigrants are more than what they can contribute to our affluence,” says Matt Soerens. Made in the image of God, they are people like you and I who demonstrate the beautiful diversity of God’s creation of humanity. ThinkFwd host, Spencer Burke, talks with Soerens in the Chicago suburb where he lives. His neighbors are a diverse population including immigrants from Mexico, Africa, and Southeast Asia.

View Matt Soerens on Immigration and the Stranger

Soerens has co-authored a book about the church and immigration called “Welcoming the Stranger.” He says his goal with the book was not to convince anyone of a particular immigration policy but rather to look at the issue Biblically and ask—as Christians—what do we do with this complicated topic of immigrants and immigration?

Personal Reflections:
1. Take a moment to role play—what would you be feeling if you were in a foreign country, didn’t know the language, didn’t know the customs, you saw law-enforcement as an enemy and it was criminal to work, yet the conditions in your country were worse?
2. Moving beyond policy to personal, what has been your first-hand interaction with immigrants?

Small Group or Staff Questions:
1. Throughout history we’ve used language to de-humanize people we don’t want to deal with. How have terms like “alien” influenced you?
2. As a Christian, how do you feel about evaluating people solely on their economic impact to our organization, city, or country?

Jay Bakker talks with Spencer Burke about the Love that Restores

The reality is that life is messy, says Jay Bakker in an interview with ThinkFwd host, Spencer Burke. We can respond out of fear and avoid both people and life, or we can follow the gospel and live like Christ? Can Christians be marked by love, grace, and inclusiveness instead of fear, legalism, and exclusivity?