In this episode, which kicks off our year of “Science in the Seminary,” Kristin Largen talks with Kristin Stuempfle about the importance of dialogue between science and religion. Kris uses the example of her father, Herman Stuempfle who was the President of Gettysburg Seminary from 1976 to 1989. In particular she references the hymn he wrote for her, “Go Forth in Search of Truth.”
Dr. Leonard Hummel, Professor of Pastoral Theology, Gettysburg Seminary, describes a grant from the Templeton Foundation that enables the three “c’s”: competencies in science for seminarians, connections with scientists at other institutions and a core that encourages dialogue with science--for example, the connection between a professor of physics and a professor of Old Testament in a course on Genesis and the origins of the universe.
Dr. Christianson asks Dr. Daryl Black, new President and Executive Director of the Gettysburg Seminary Ridge Museum, the question, “Why do we have museums and should they do more than just collect “keepsakes”? Dr. Black describes the change in museums over the past two decades from emphasizing a collection of items, e.g. rifles, to interpretation of these items in the wider context of the need for human beings to make meaning of the past. He illustrates this with the conflicting ways North and South used the Bible and even viewed God in the Civil War.
The Rev. Dr. Mark Oldenburg shares with Dr. Largen two “horror stories” involving 4th of July Sunday morning worship services as a way to talk more constructively about how to balance “secular religion” and Sunday worship services. The goal is to both recognize and celebrate the things that matter in our daily lives—like our country, but also honor and worship God as the absolute center of our life. Public ministers, you don’t want to miss this one!
Dr. Largen speaks with The Rev. Dr. Martin Zimmann, Pastor, Trinity Evangelical Lutheran Church, Mechanicsburg, PA, about the importance of talking about issues of race and culture in the church. Pastor Zimmann offers some helpful strategies for beginning the conversation.
Shirley Armstrong, Psychological Counselor and Peer Education Advisor at Gettysburg College describes the goals of The Reconciling in Christ (RIC) Program is for congregations, synods, colleges, seminaries, and other Lutheran organizations. RIC recognizes Lutheran communities that publicly welcome lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender believers. She discusses the need for churches to make a statement on the subject, but stresses that the main objective is to get people talking with each other, not simply taking votes.
Pastor Brown discussed her week as Minister-in-Residence at Gettysburg Seminary with Dr. Strobert. She describes her conversations with students, preaching and presiding in chapel as well as attending and lecturing in seminary classes. Pastor Brown also discussed her context of parish ministry at Advent Lutheran Church in New York City. It has an immigrant population in addition to being in a gentrified neighborhood. Although a small congregation, the church is involved in broad social outreach in the community.
Dr. Christianson speaks with Dr. Bradley Hoch, Pediatrician and author of The Lincoln Trail in Pennsylvania about President Lincoln’s religious evolution. Lincoln developed throughout his life, beginning as (what his neighbors called) an “infidel” and moving on to a doctrine of “necessity” before coming to terms with Providence. In 1862, probably because of the horrifying numbers of casualties and the death of his son Willie, the president began to affirm a personal deity. In the Second Inaugural he envisions a God who has purposes for humankind, although they may not be ours.
Dr. William O. Avery, Arthur O. Larson Professor Emeritus of Stewardship and Parish Ministry, Gettysburg Seminary speaks about the dramatic difference in the world of young people today, driven especially by technology, drives the question: how should the church respond? Dr. Avery suggests some interesting ideas that might help meet the needs of Millennials who are looking for dialogue, new kinds of spirituality, and above all meaning.