Science in Christian Perspective
The View from Shepherdís KnollÖ
Look Out! Construction in Progress!
Roman J. Miller, Editor
From: PSCF 51 (December 1999): 211.
A few years ago, my life was consumed by a major construction projectóbuilding our home on a Virginian hillside that we call "Shepherdís Knoll." Completing the basement foundation and walls provided a place to attach the first permanent pieces of wood that began to give shape to our modified Swiss-Chalet home. The ten months, spanning the time we first cleared trees and brush from our house site in March until the time that we moved into the house the following December, were filled with intense constructive activity. We are grateful for our house, which is functional, attractive, and "ours." I relish the southeast view from our home that catches the first rays of the morning sun rising over the top of Massanutten Mountain.
My life is in a construction mode corresponding to the writing of the Apostle Paul:
Ö each one should be careful how he builds. For no one can lay any foundation other than the one already laid, which is Jesus Christ. If any man builds on this foundation using gold, silver, costly stones, wood, hay, or straw, his work will be shown for what it is, because the Day will bring it to light (1 Cor. 3:10bñ13a [NIV]).
As a theologically conservative Mennonite in the Evangelical Anabaptist tradition, I build upon the Living Word, Jesus Christ, by embracing three foundational paragons. First of all, I am committed to the church, my "co-builders" who have voluntarily and communally entrusted themselves to the Lordship of Jesus as revealed through the Spirit and in Scripture. This local embodiment of Jesus provides direction, assistance, and discipline in constructing my personal life, my home, and my work. Secondly, the way of peace and love, as modeled by Jesus in the New Testament, is the "plumb bob" in my personal relationships, in my home and church, and even in the mission of my academic institution which seeks "to glorify God, to pursue excellence in all educational programs, and to challenge students to answer Christís call to a life of service and peacemaking." Thirdly, discipleship means following the "blueprint" of Jesus by practically applying his teaching and example to my whole life. I read, interpret, and apply the entire canon of Scripture through the "lens" of Jesus. Choosing to follow Jesus directs me to walk a different path from our pagan culture. Thus, I believe that discipleship is more than a Christian way of thinkingóit is also a Christ-like way of doing.
As the new editor of PSCF, I bring these construction paragons to my editing work. These paragons have defined me as a person; they will also, as I am faithful, define my editorship. I see our journal as a tool to build the kingdom of Christ among scientists who are Christians. I also see our journal as a "light on the hill" for our pagan, postmodern society. I am fortunate to follow in the footsteps of J.W. Haas, Jr., a master craftsman, who for many years has done a quality job in editing this journal. I want articles in our journal to be inclusive of science and faith issues that are important to the diversity of the membership of the American Scientific Affiliation. I hope readers will look to our journal to gain the current Christian perspectives on origins, biomedical and environmental ethics, science education, gender and sexuality issues, nature of the universe, functioning of the mind, as well as a host of other scientific issues!
In December of 1996, when we were concluding the main construction phase of our house and preparing to move into it, one obstacle remainedóthe final approval from the Office of the Rockingham County Building Inspection. I well remember the day when we received our occupancy permit: "You can now move into your house; the building complies with the county building code." That was a celebrative moment! In a similar vein, the Apostle Paul reminds us that a day will come when our edifice will be examined and given a final assessment by the Master Builder. In looking toward that day, I pray that my simple construction projects will reflect Godís design, be helpful in building the Kingdom of Christ, and be judged as "well done."