Q&A: Theology of Celebration Attendee Shiao Chong
Last month, BioLogos gathered campus leaders, pastors, biblical scholars, and scientists to discuss science, faith, and Christian ministry in New York City at our “Theology of Celebration” conference. We sat down with attendee Shiao Chong, who is the Christian Reformed Chaplain serving York University in Toronto, Canada, to hear his thoughts on the event.
As a first-time attendee, what surprised you most about the gathering?
What surprised me most was the number of biblical scholars attending this. I had expected the scientists, and since it was targeted on campus ministry, I had expected the various campus ministry pastors and workers. The number of pastors too surprised me somewhat. But there were a good number of biblical scholars who have even authored and published on the subject present.
What was the most eye-opening thing you learned at the workshop?
The scientific evidence, especially DNA evidence, for human evolution was the “new” thing I learned. I had heard of it but never actually had it laid out for me so clearly and accessibly to me as Dr. Dennis Venema did in his lecture.
What was the most memorable moment of the event for you?
I think it has to be N.T. Wright playing guitar and singing! Not to belittle the lectures and discussions, which were all excellent, but as far as memorable goes, watching arguably one of the greatest theological minds singing songs about science and faith was something I won’t soon forget.
Do you think your time at Theology of Celebration will have an impact on your day-to-day ministry to college campuses?
I believe so. It confirmed for me that this is a topic I need to continue addressing on campus. And I am better equipped now to address it than before. The resources as well as the networking will be a great aid in the long run for my campus ministry.
Finally, what one piece of advice do you have for other campus ministers who are discussing science and faith with students and faculty?
My advice would be that we approach this from a posture of graciousness and peace. In the past, I have been rather defensive and at times fearful in my discussions of this. The general tone of hostility and antagonism that often accompanies these discussions had fed into those fears and defensiveness. But if there’s one thing I got out of the conference is that we should proceed in a spirit of grace and of peace-making.