2013 - A Year in Review
The theistic evolution…perspective makes it possible for the scientist-believer to be intellectually fulfilled and spiritually alive, both worshipping God and using the tools of science to uncover some of the awesome mysteries of His creation. – Francis Collins, The Language of God
As we look forward to the new year, we’ve also reflected on the old and rediscovered some of the great events, grant programs, and changes that 2013 had to offer.
EVOLUTION AND GRACIOUS DIALOGUE
On April 23, 2013, nearly 100 campus ministers, pastors, scientists, and theologians gathered at the Harvard Club in New York City for our fourth Theology of Celebration workshop. The following three days were filled with worship, learning, and discussion, all centered on the harmony of Christian faith and evolutionary science. Campus ministers and pastors near universities are on the frontlines of this issue with students. For some, it was the first time they had met serious, thoughtful Christians who accept the science of evolution without denying the authority of the Bible. Ministers had a chance to interact with great scientists, including Jeffrey Schloss and Dennis Venema, and great biblical scholars including Tremper Longman and N.T. Wright. Even the most controversial topics were characterized by respectful discourse and Christian fellowship.
In October, BioLogos continued its commitment to dialogue with those who hold other positions by sharing the stage with Reasons to Believe and affirming our shared faith even as we disagreed about evolution. Fuz Rana from Reasons to Believe, BioLogos senior scholar Jeff Schloss, and former BioLogos president Darrel Falk spoke at this event and each speaker opened with prayer about the important of Christ’s call to unity in the church. The speakers explained their differing views of the scientific evidence (particularly the genetics of human origins), while noting the many areas of agreement and acknowledging challenges facing their own position. Respect and friendship were clearly in evidence as the speakers stood together to answer questions and create an atmosphere of humility and graciousness.
NEW RESEARCH AND GROWING RESOURCES
The Evolution and Christian Faith grant program continues to bear fruit. Last month we shared an article in our newsletter that discussed in detail the many events and projects that have already produced noteworthy results. This grant program has hosted multiple events with leading scholars and faith leaders discussing the complex intersection of science and faith. One group has made significant progress translating quality materials to Spanish while another group examined the cognitive and emotional challenges presented by different human origins accounts. Other grantees are introducing new curriculum for high school students, along with a web collection of essays on the relationship between science and theology. Many more exciting developments are on the way in 2014 and you can read further about this work on our Evolution and Christian Faith grant program web page.
CHANGES IN 2013
It has been a year of transition for BioLogos with new leadership and new offices in Grand Rapids, Michigan. Deborah Haarsma and Jeff Schloss are leading BioLogos in an exciting direction filled with unique opportunities to enrich the church with resources focusing on the complex topics of evolution and Christian faith. We are thankful for dedicated new staff and for God’s guidance and provision and for all those who helped build BioLogos over the years. We have seen God at work with the stories that have been shared with us this past year including those struggling to reconcile science with Christianity and finding their faith strengthened through our work. You have made all of these blessings possible through your encouragement, prayers and gifts.
Our website has had amazing growth in readership not only in this past year of 2013 but since the launch of our website. When we launched in May of 2009 we had a readership of nearly 10,000 people. Since then we have had many fluctuations in readership but we are thrilled to state that our current traffic is up to over 50,000 unique visitors each month. These visitors come to our website from all over the world to read and discover God’s revelation of himself through the Word and through his created order.
Can you guess what the top keyword search is that brings people to our website? It’s “What is evolution”! People are learning about evolution and how it relates to biblical findings and Christian faith. Our Facebook page has over 16,000 likes and our Twitter feed is up to nearly 4,000 followers. There are many who want to be a part of the conversation and who are discovering that there is no conflict between science and their spiritual beliefs. This growth places BioLogos in the unique position to be a leader and a voice for the church as the church responds to the complex subject of evolution.