Chaplain’s Office hosts course series to dispel misconception

Faith, Science, and Ethics. That is the theme of this winter’s in-depth mini-course series at Gustavus. The Exploring Religious Questions series was originally created in the fall of 2008 by Darrell Jodock (Bernhardson Chair) and Grady St. Dennis (Church Relations) in partnership with 16 area congregations.

The course is offered in both fall and spring semesters. Each series contains 4-5 sessions with meetings on Monday evenings from 7-9pm.

“We have any where from 50-70 participants each series who travel to campus from about a 40 minute radius.” said Director of Church Relations and Chaplain, Grady St. Dennis “ERQ is open to Gustavus students, faculty, and staff but is primarily made up of people from the surrounding area.”

This winter series was organized by Dr. Marcia Bunge. It is put on by the office of church relations and explores some of the common misconceptions about relationships between science and religion.

It does so by providing examples of creative alliances and conversations between scientists and religious leaders today.

The first session began on Feb. 6 and Dr. Scott Bur lead a discussion based on faith and science: creationism, creation, and evolution.

“I talked about Creation, Creationism, and evolution. Mostly I talked about four general kinds of relationships there are between science and religion, and a primer on evolution. It was pretty fun, and I was very happy with both the turnout and how engaged the group was,” said Bur.

On Feb. 13, the second session was lead by Rev. Siri Erickson. This session focused on the models of engagement between science and religion.

On Feb. 20, the third session was held. It’s focus was on informed conversations about science and religion. Also discussed practical strategies for local congregations. The meeting was lead by Erickson as well as the GAC student mentors from the Gustavus Academy for faith, science, and ethics.

The final session is held on Feb. 27, it will be lead by Dr. Mary D. Gaebler and Dr. Deborah L. Goodwin. In this session there will be a discussion of religion, science, and climate change and how challenges are addressed together.

“Dr. Gaebler and I are sharing a session on Global Warming as a theological and ethical issue. We both have been incorporating this topic into our classes lately,” said Goodwin.

These exploring religious question series are not for school credit, however they do offer an adult education for the wider Gustavus community beyond students, faculty, and staff.