On Tuesday of this week, I drove down to Austin to attend the Texas State Board of Education hearing on K-12 science textbooks. Texas is one of the major textbook markets in the country (along with California), and often what is approved/demanded in Texas is then carried on and sold throughout the country, so what we do matters nationally. And controversy has erupted as year after year, certain folks in the state legislature and on the school board have overtly tried to allow creationism and intelligent design to be shoved into the place of, or right beside, the teaching of evolution.
I am a person of faith—hence the whole senior pastor thing—and I also like to consider myself a person of science. As I testified to the Board yesterday, we believe in a heliocentric universe even though Joshua made the sun stand still in the sky. Faith asks why, science asks how, and we should not confuse the two questions. There were a couple board members who grilled any speakers who supported evolution, stood against creationism, and were under 50; I was asked by one if I’d reviewed the text. I wish I had said, “No, I left that to the experts, and honestly, I trust them to teach me more than myself.” But I was—and this should shock us all—remarkably nervous standing up there.
Here’s my whole thing on this: The folks who promote a strong, literal creationism (or its uninvited and offensive cousin Intelligent Design) do so demanding that the Bible provides proof. No, it does not. The Bible provides a long-reaching interpretative narrative of God’s continuing relationship with creation. There HAS to be metaphor, there HAS to be mystery, and there HAS to be that which is taken on faith because (and this, I thought, was Christianity 101)—God is bigger than our definitions, textbooks and ideas. To say “The Bible is true,” is not to say “The Bible is fact.” But to not say “The Bible is fact,” does absolutely nothing to the statement “The Bible is true.”
This week, we will be looking at yet another Disciples paradigm,“Where the Scriptures speak, we speak; where the Scriptures are silent, we remain silent.” And we’ll be talking about how our movement of unity, liberty and love split a couple times. And Paul’s first letter to the Corinthians. It should truly AND factually be a blast. I hope to see you all Sunday.