Susan is an author with a long-time interest in religion and science. She currently edits Covalence, the Lutheran Alliance for Faith, Science and Technology’s online magazine. She has written articles in The Lutheran and the Zygon Center for Religion and Science newsletter. Susan is a board member for the Center for Advanced Study of Religion and Science, the supporting organization for the Zygon Center and the Zygon Journal. She also co-wrote Our Bodies Are Selves with Dr. Philip Hefner and Dr. Ann Pederson.

We all have seemingly asked the same question over and over again, perhaps daily — Where is God?

As the loss of life due to COVID-19 continues to take its toll, we have begrudgingly called much our daily routines the so-called new normal and may be tempted to tune out of the bigger questions as we hunker down in quarantine.

When we wake up in the middle of the night or even in turning off the latest T.V. news reports, we may ask ourselves not only how is this happening, but also how could God allow it to happen?

We approached this topic last month via some timely reflections by Thomas Oord, and this month we get theologian Dr. Philip Hefner’s take on the current events.

Hefner reshapes the line of questioning on this multi-layered conundrum. Hefner references the novel Sophie’s Choice, which some may remember better as the 1982 movie starring Meryl Streep. The title character is forced to choose between the lives of her two children while imprisoned in the WWII Auschwitz Nazi concentration camp. She can save one child and the other dies or otherwise both children die.

“We are called upon to shape our future in the face of events that are beyond our control,” Dr. Hefner writes.

But it is also a time in which to look even more closely at how faith and science can work together. Faith can be a source of progress rather than a flat-out denial of science — and people of faith have an important role to play as the world moves forward to combat a deadly virus, social unrest and a changing climate.

An example of faith moving forward and relying on scientific discovery can be found in the work of Dr. Francis Collins, who was recently awarded the John Templeton Prize.

Director of the National Institutes of Health, geneticist and physician Dr. Collins wrote upon being awarded the prize, “almost my every waking moment is consumed by the effort to find treatments and a vaccine for COVID-19. The elegant complexity of human biology constantly creates in me a sense of awe.”

It is with that same sense of awe that liturgists at the Lutheran World Federation issued a 2020 Season of Creation celebration guide offering unique eco-theological worship resources and activities for congregations.

Last but not least, there are plenty of more free opportunities to learn about what is going on at the intersection of faith and science, courtesy of everyone’s new favorite communication platform — Zoom.

The Los Alamos Faith and Science Forum is continuing its annual summer program on Zoom every Wednesday evening through July 15.

Many faith and science organizations are exploring new ways of online face-to-face dialogue during this time of pandemic. What we learn together may just be as important as what we do together in becoming our neighbors’ keeper both today and in the days to come.

Until next month, be well!

Susan Barreto
Editor, Covalence

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