My original plan was to abstain from regular posts during the guest-post series on Evangelicals, Evolution, and Academics. However, I want to highlight an update on Richard Colling’s situation at Olivet Nazarene University (ONU). Richard is one of the participants in this series, and his essay Evolution and Faith: Communicating their Compatibility in Christian Higher Education is the most recent post. In this essay Richard indicated that communicating the evidence for biological evolution should be done in a spirit of Christian charity, and that in the faith / science dialogue listening should often come before speaking. Given the fear that evolution produces in many Christians, this is indeed wise counsel.
But the spirit of Christian charity that Richard espouses does not seem to be reciprocated to him by some in his own community. For details on his struggle, check out Richard’s new update at his randomdesigner site. I’m not going to comment further here since I think everyone should read Richard’s own words. However, I really appreciate that he can remain positive throughout these struggles. Richard states:
Some people view the current situation as a negative for the university, but I think that depends on us and our responses. There is a rich history in scripture of God working in the lives of his people to right wrongs and accomplish great good for the Kingdom. Perhaps this is actually a golden opportunity for Olivet and the Church of the Nazarene to publicly reaffirm its core statements - to insistently hold out education, truth, and transparency as foundations for a brighter future. I believe if we are faithful to this commitment – willing to openly and honestly talk, teach, and learn together, God will bless our efforts. As a result, perhaps we can emerge stronger and even better-equipped to accomplish the truly important tasks to which He has called us in a world yearning for honest, credible answers to their deepest heartfelt questions.
I am hoping that Richard’s optimism is rewarded.