“As a Christian at university, I was faced with a hierarchy of possibilities. The really holy people became missionaries, the rather holy people were ordained, and the fairly holy people became teachers; the ‘also rans’ did all the other jobs in the world,” so wrote R. J. Berry in his book Real Science, Real Faith. Having discovered that he either couldn’t or shouldn’t do any of the “holy” jobs, Berry, known to most as Sam, eventually realized “that we have all been given different talents and callings, and that there is not (and should not be) such a thing as a typical or normal Christian.”
Sam Berry was anything but a normal Christian. He attended his local church regularly, went to the monthly prayer meetings whenever he could, and served on the church council. For the last 30 years of his life he was licensed to preach, and for about 20 years he took part in national synod meetings. This would have been a huge commitment on top of a regular job and raising three children, but Sam was a high-capacity person who was not content to conform to the stereotype of “also-ran”—those who run races but never win. He demonstrated to the best of his ability that every single Christian is in full-time ministry.
Ruth Bancewicz is a Senior Research Associate at The Faraday Institute for Science and Religion, where she works on the positive interaction between science and faith. After studying Genetics at Aberdeen University, she completed a PhD at Edinburgh University. She spent two years as a part-time postdoctoral researcher at the Wellcome Trust Centre for Cell Biology at Edinburgh University, while also working as the Development Officer for Christians in Science. Ruth arrived at The Faraday Institute in 2006, and is currently a trustee of Christians in Science.
Visitors to London Zoo last autumn stood enthralled, watching the family dynamics of the critically endangered Sumatran tiger playing out before them. The two newborn cubs, instinctively mischievous, repeatedly pounced and climbed up their 280-pound father, claws unsheathed. Crowds admired this tiger, built for predatory power, turning his obvious annoyance into gentle reprimands. The scene is reminiscent of Aslan the lion, whom C. S. Lewis used to capture some of the attributes of God—tender but also powerful and “not a tame lion.”
Today, these majestic cats are the focus of World Wildlife Day, along with the other big cats that are under threat on our watch—no, because of our watch. Habitat loss, conflict with people, and poaching are just some of the reasons for their drastic declines. There has been a 95 percent drop in tiger numbers over the last hundred years and a 40 percent drop in African lions over just 20 years.
There is something oddly satisfying about rock pools. These are natural playgrounds for children, and I love seeing the delight in their faces as they turn over rocks, not knowing quite what they are going to find. Children seem to thrive on the everyday wonders that surround them, like seeing “… A universe in a grain of sand…” (William Blake – Auguries of Innocence). Continue reading →
One of the main issues for conservation is communication. How can scientists share their knowledge with the people whose behaviour is affecting the land? This is one of the questions that drew zoologist Stephanie Bryant into Continue reading →
The oceans are the least explored place in the world. They are a source of great beauty and value to ourselves as a source of food, water and so many other ‘ecosystem services’, as well as having their own intrinsic value. Marine conservationist Bob Sluka has featured on this blog a number of times, and in this month’s podcast he shares his appreciation of the beauty of the oceans, and how that relates to his faith. Continue reading →
Bob Sluka is a marine conservationist whose work feeds directly into his faith. In this short video series Bob explains how he came to be working in marine biology, and how his science and belief fit together. To find out more about Bob’s work, and the experience of awe in science, see God in the Lab: How Science Enhances Faith (Monarch, 2015).
There is a place in Portugal where people of faith use their knowledge of ornithology, botany, ecology and other environmental sciences to serve God by studying and conserving whole ecosystems. Visitors help with bird ringing, observing and recording the different plants and animals in the surrounding area, and join in with every aspect of community life.