On August 15, 1943, two years before the end of World War II, I was born into the beginning of an extended time of exceptional opportunity, growth, change, affluence, world leadership and awakening to many social injustices in the United States. Another gift to me was my family’s participation in the Moravian Church which provided a context where I learned about the love of God and the importance of a community where social connections and personal and spiritual growth were encouraged. I credit the ethos of the Moravian church, with its emphasis on education, music and community development with giving me a solid foundation for my life. I sometimes say I drifted into ministry in my early years, but I also believe I was called into ministry. I graduated from Moravian College and finally from Moravian Theological Seminary in 1969.
A second influence on my young self was my love of science and science fiction. I was an avid science fiction reader as a teen, and loved speculating about space travel, possible worlds, alien races, and the interaction of humans with the universe. At age 26 when the first moon landing happened I had just graduated from Moravian Theological Seminary and was also newly married.
In seminary I was introduced to process theology which gave me a good foundation for loving the journey more than the destination. Process Theology built on my undergraduate philosophy degree which had grounded me in existentialism and phenomenology, both of which focused on the sacredness of the “now” moment.
I also found exciting expressions/explorations of life in the avant-garde theatre of Samuel Beckett (Waiting for Godot), Eugene Ionesco (The Bald Soprano, Rhinoceros and Other Plays), the beatnik writings of Jack Kerouac (On the Road) and the poetry of Lawrence Ferlinghetti and Allen Ginsberg.
Finally, it was in the social unrest of the Viet Nam War and the Civil Rights Movement where I found my social conscience. This sparked in me a recognition that change and unrest is at the centre of life. My desire for Truth, what is real and what is possible, would be a continuing exploration throughout my life.
In my ministry I began with a Journey Theology that morphed into a Liberation Theology and has landed in an Evolutionary Theology. It’s not that a new perspective replaced the former one. For me, the next step always incorporated and expanded my previous understanding of God at work in the world.
The discipline of science developed exponentially in knowledge and influence in my lifetime, and became the major influence in defining our understanding of life in the twentieth century. The church struggled to adjust to the challenges posed especially by physics and biology to its own world view and held science at arm’s length, seeing its findings as a threat to the Christian faith. Theologians struggled to find ways of accommodating scientific findings with the Gospel message. But that was just a necessary stage preparing us to enter the paradigm shift presently taking place. This shift is enabling us to see how science and religion can inform each other to establish a new basis for our understanding of the reality/world we live in. I am very excited by the possibilities that the union of these disciplines will open up to us as a human species. I realize this is what some fear. It is what I cherish.
I retired in June 2015 after 30 years of active pastoral ministry and 16 years of teaching and providing spiritual direction. Yet my mind has not retired and my life long seeking for Truth continues. I am a firm believer in the value of community to help us find The Way, The Truth and The Life. For me I seldom find the whole Truth on my own. I grab a tail if it, I get a glimpse, a paragraph here and there that grounds itself in my experience and begins a transformation in me and the way I live.
I have procrastinated long enough and am finally committing to this blog as a way of sharing my thoughts and receiving feedback. What Was I Thinking — Reflections of an Evolutionary Christian Pilgrim will share thoughts from my reading, conversations, moments of contemplation and my desire to live faithfully in this changing world. My blog will not necessarily be about religion; often it will be about my attempts to express my faith in some action, explore some new understanding or just share what I am discovering on this wonder-full journey I am still on after all these years.
I am excited to share my musings and my explorations of how faith informs my life and I hope you will join me on my journey and provide companionship and feedback for a lively conversation.