February 19, 2012 

by Sue Zimmerman, congregant

I am a member of Mt. Adams Pilgrim Chapel and an Evolutionary Christian.  Most people ne more than that statement to understand where I stand with religion. Organized religion hasn’t always been my cup of tea.  But Michael Dowd’s Thank God for Evolution, struck home for me. Science and religion aren’t at odds; rather they are one in the same.

Science can’t be denied, and agree with Rev. Dr. Malcolm Brown who maintains human beings are “using to the utmost and their God-given abilities to advance and enhance the loves of everybody” through science.  In fact, I believe it is our job as humans to use our brains to explore our world and to seek answers to improve our society. I believe the world is organic and thus constantly changing, and as inhabitants, we need to evolve and adapt to the environment and circumstance.  Change is essential.

There are two languages we speak and understand: Day and Night language.  Day language is based in science, facts, and logic; Night language is our stories.  Both are important. Day language gives us the weather report so we know what to expect; Night language gives us “Stopping by Woods on a Snow Evening.”  Both deal with nature, but Night language makes it memorable.  We use these stories to illustrated themes of life.  The story may be fiction, but the point has the validity for life. We tell children stories on why it’s dangerous to wander off in a store, etc. We don’

We don’t give the statistics of facts on child kidnapping or child molesters.  We wouldn’t want to terrify our kids.  When something is confusing or complex, we break it down and make up stories to explain hard truths.  As we grow, we can understand more Day language and details of complex subjects. Science has taught us that disease is not God’s wrath but a virus.  We no longer believe that someone who is born with a handicap is being punished by God.

I also believe nature reveals and enhances spirituality. God to me is more like Emerson’s Universal Being or Oversoul.  We are according to Emerson “a part and parcel” of the universe. We, like our universe, are always evolving. If we don’t react to nature or knowledge, we stagnate and become the stubborn oak in the wind and tumble to the ground rather than the willow which bends and flexes in the face of challenge.  I must be open to new ideas and use my abilities to sift through breaking news or challenges.

My core beliefs must be based on knowledge, reason and intuition, not on fear or exclusion.  I need to enjoy this life and try to make life better for others. It’s not easy, and I am a work in progress.   I want to be open and accepting. I plan to keep evolving.

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