Science in Christian Perspective
Wanted: A Caption
Richard H. Bube, Editor
From: JASA 25 (September 1973): 89-90.
The curious thing about the cartoon on the cover of this issue of the Journal ASA is that there isn't any caption. We need one. I think of, "Why isn't there somebody on the bridge?" What do you think of? We'll be happy to receive your suggestions and will duly honor the most appropriate caption submitted in a future issue of the Journal ASA.
To be "a bridge over troubled waters" has been claimed for many different types of ventures and activities since the phrase was immortalized in song by Simon and Garfunkel. And yet it seems to me that we in the ASA must recognize the special and unique way in which indeed the ASA is called by God to be such a bridge between the scientific community and the Christian community: two all too often isolated islands in the midst of a troubled sea of controversy.
The ASA is an organization of Christian men and women of science. It is not an organization of Christians who are interested in science. Nor is it an organization of scientists who happen to be Christians. Its existence assumes the significance of a whole world perspective to which men and women who are Christians and scientists can make a meaningful contribution. If the ASA were to function only as a particular arm of the Church, it would fail its opportunities in the scientific community. If the ASA were to function only as a sounding board for scientific theories and ideas, it would fail its opportunities in the Christian community. To fulfil the unique potentialities possible in its existence, therefore, the ASA must be intimately related to both the Christian and scientific communities.
The possibilities for this relationship exist in its members. Here are men and women who have made a personal commitment of themselves and their lives to Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior. They know the Christian community from within the family warmth and fellowship. They know the grace of God's forgiving love in Jesus Christ. They understand the call to be a salt and a light for Him in the world. Here also are men and women who have made a personal commitment of themselves and their lives to a scientific understanding of the world. They know by experience not only what science is, but what it means to do science. They are accepted by their scientific colleagues, respected for their teaching and research, and worship the Cod of Creation through their obedience to Him who calls men and women to be responsible for this created world in which He has placed us.
If a bridge is not to be peopled by Christian men and women of science, by whom is it to be peopled? Scientists who have no real understanding of the nature of the Christian community can get no further across the bridge from their side than Christian theologians with no real understanding of the nature of the scientific community can get from their side.
Wanted: A Commitment
By its very nature the ASA has provided some kind of bridge for more than 30 years. Sometimes it was perhaps more like a swinging bamboo bridge, fragile and mobile. And sometimes perhaps it was more like the bridge over the River Kwai, the purpose and circumstances of the construction of which were almost forgotten. But a bridge it has been and a bridge it remains, today with new foundations and a vision of a new stability.
Bridges do not just appear; they must be built. And the building of bridges, like most other worthwhile activities, costs. It costs in time, concern, personal involvement, prayer-and not surprisingly it also costs dollars. Just a year ago the ASA hired its first full time Executive Secretary, who has in his first year already made major strides toward increasing the number of members, strengthening the local sections, finding alternate sources of funding, and developing a program in which the particular gifts of Christian men and women of science can be most appropriately used for the witness of Jesus Christ.
Recently his efforts have been blessed by an amazingly timely opportunity: a foundation has offered to contribute $10,000 to the ASA if others will contribute $10,000 to this project before November 30, 1973. This means that for every new contribution of $1.00 that our members can make, the effective contribution for ASA will be $2.00.
The present level of membership dues and of non-member Journal subscriptions do not by themselves provide the kind of financial support we need for the ASA to respond to the challenges of a modern day in which science is exalted on the one extreme and denigrated on the other. We need a secure financial base, which a few members can build, each by recognizing the appropriateness of a small portion of his regular tithe for the work of the ASA. This kind of financial base is being sought in the establishment of a $100 group, men and women who each pledge to contribute $100 to the work of the ASA in one year. We already have 50 such members with the vision and the means to make such a pledge. We need at least 50 more. With almost 2000 members, is this too much to expect?
And now we have the additional challenge of foundation matching support for the expansion of the work of the ASA into new areas and opportunities beyond that involved in the regular annual budget.
Get out on that bridge!
Wanted: A Helping Hand
I recognize the unique call of God to the members of the ASA. I pledge, as God enables me, to contribute as I have indicated below:
I wish to join the $100 group, pledging this amount per year
I wish to make a special gift to take advantage of the special opportunity for foundation matching funds for ASA expansion
Please mail this pledge or your own personal note to Bill Sisterson, Executive Secretary, ASA, Suite 450, 5 Douglas Ave., Elgin, Illinois 60120, to let him know that you are supporting this work through your prayer and gifts.