An Open Letter to Pastors and Other Ministry Leaders
Dear Pastors and Ministry Leaders,
You already know your message isn't reaching many of the people about whom you care very deeply. Worse, your ideas are sometimes met with disparagement or derision. Your attempts to offer spiritual solace are met with skepticism. People don't typically say, "Wow, tell me more." Instead they challenge, "Yeah, prove it." Welcome to the age of science.
But, please don't despair. It's an exciting age where physical discoveries are revealing some of the components that underpin material reality. Curious individuals have done the laboratory equivalents of looking under rocks and lifting logs to poke at what lurks beneath. They've watched and meticulously recorded what happened. They've assembled observations and made predictions about other things that could happen. Creative people have figured out ingenious ways to test those predictions and develop new ways to understand their findings. They draw conclusions, and their colleagues gleefully challenge them, "Yeah, prove it." This is how scientifically minded individuals explore, learn, and grow in knowledge about the world and universe in which we live. The poking and testing are part of the fun.
This kind of interactive discovery contrasts sharply with traditional methods used to scrutinize spiritual matters and communicate results. Many discussions about the nonphysical aspects of reality begin with appeals to specific authorities. From defined beginning points, they untangle threads of logic. Ultimately, favored interpretations find themselves endorsed as true. These are tools developed by philosophers from centuries gone by, and they aren't working well in the current age. Just as small children outgrow a stage where a parental "Because I said so" is sufficient, society has outgrown the stage where dictates from authorities are enough to satisfy.
Historically, the Christian church embraced scientific knowledge by incorporating into its theological positions classical Greek notions about how the universe worked. During the first millennium of the church's existence, when Plato and Aristotle remained unchallenged, this tactic helped create a unified worldview that could be embraced by spiritual leaders and scientists of the age. Today, modern science has moved beyond ancient Platonic and Aristotelean ideas, and the time for spiritual leaders to do the same is long overdue.
New tools, new knowledge, and a new attitude toward experimentation can help build bridges that reach across the current physical-spiritual divide. Pier Press wants to help. Our monthly newsletter, Observations, includes facts about the natural, material world along with introspective essays intended to focus a light on spiritual matters. We're developing Bible study tools that let readers approach this sacred text in a way that preserves each individual's quest for experimentation and personal discovery. We're adding materials to our bookstore to help spiritually minded people understand the physical sciences and to help scientifically minded people understand the nonmaterial aspects of reality. Finally, we're creating an arena where all people can discuss their observations and questions. Please join us. We think it will be fun.
The Pier Press® Team