ESN Conversation: What Hath Darwin to Do with Scripture?

Date and Time: June 12, 2024 08:00 PM Eastern Time

Believe it or not, the book of Genesis might have been the most Darwinian text in the ancient world. And throughout the opening books of Scripture, we find ideas that would also become prominent insights of the biologist Charles Darwin interlaced with the Bible’s one-of-a-kind origin story. Biblical scholar Dru Johnson calls us beyond typical creation-versus-evolution debates to explore the conceptual worlds underlying both Scripture and evolutionary science. He points toward remarkable continuities and discontinuities between the Bible’s central concerns and those of Darwin and modern science—ideas so fundamental that they can easily escape our notice.

Dru Johnson (PhD, University of St. Andrews) directs the Center for Hebraic Thought and has been a research fellow at the Herzl Institute (Jerusalem), Logos Institute (St. Andrews), and Henry Center (Trinity Evangelical Divinity School). He is the author or editor of numerous books, including Biblical Philosophy, Human Rites, and Knowledge by Ritual. He is ordained as an EPC minister and is cohost of the OnScript podcast.


Photo of Dru Johnson and the cover of the book What Hath Darwin to Do with Scripture

ESN Conversation: Beyond the Clinical Hour

May 15, 2024 12:00 PM Eastern Time on Zoom
The global mental health crisis is growing faster than our existing mental health care system can address. Psychologists James Sells and Amy Trout and journalist Heather Sells know firsthand the urgency of the situation—but they have also witnessed creative partnerships between churches and mental health professionals springing up across the United States. In this book, they call clinicians, students, and educators to collaborate with churches and lay leaders to envision and then create innovative solutions in their own communities.
Photos of Amy Trout, James Sells, and the Beyond the Clinical Hour.

Christians, Climate, and Our Culture Around the World.

April 9, 2024 at 7:30 pm ET

Our friends with the Affiliation of Christian Biologists (ACB), part of the American Scientific Affiliation, are hosting Katharine Hayhoe, who will speak on “Christians, Climate, and Our Culture Around the World.” Dr. Hayhoe is an atmospheric scientist whose research focuses on understanding the impacts of climate change on people and the planet.  She is a distinguished professor and chair at Texas Tech University, and chief scientist for The Nature Conservancy. She is also the author of the book “Saving Us: A Climate Scientist’s Case for Hope and Healing in a Divided World.”

At its core, climate change is profoundly unjust. It exacerbates hunger, poverty, and even political instability, disproportionally impacting the most vulnerable people of the world, the very ones we Christians are called to love and care for. As the scientific evidence builds, however, so does the opposition to solutions: they’re impractical, or they’ll harm people, or they’re even too late, some argue. Why is climate change such a difficult problem to solve, and what can we as Christians do about it? Join Katharine Hayhoe as she untangles the complex science behind global warming and highlights the key role our faith and values play in shaping our attitudes and actions on this crucial topic.

Photo og Katharine Hayhoe and converation information

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ESN Conversation: The Wood Between the Worlds with Brian Zahnd

March 20, 2024 at 1 pm ET

Everything about the gospel message leads to the cross, and proceeds from the cross. But it would be a mistake to think we could sum up the significance of the crucifixion in a tidy sentence or two. Brian Zahnd reminds us that the meaning of the cross is multifaceted. Just as gazing through the eyepiece of a kaleidoscope reveals a new geometric image with every turn, Zahnd helps us see that there are infinite ways to behold the cross of Christ as the beautiful form that saves the world.

Brian Zahnd is the founder and lead pastor of Word of Life Church in St. Joseph, Missouri. Known for his theologically informed preaching and his embrace of the deep and long history of the church, Zahnd provides a forum for pastors to engage with leading theologians and is a frequent conference speaker. He is the author of several books, including When Everything’s On Fire, Sinners in the Hands of a Loving God, A Farewell to Mars, and Beauty Will Save the World.
Photo of author Brian Zahnd and book cover of The Wood Between the Worlds

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ESN Conversation: Witness in the Academy with Rick Mattson

February 29, 2024 at 8 pm ETRick Mattson writes, “As a graduate or faculty member,  identifying yourself as a follower of Jesus and sharing his message with others can feel daunting. Your reputation and even your career could be at risk.” Rick offers a fresh perspective and practical suggestions grounded in God’s prior work in others.

Rick Mattson is a traveling evangelism trainer for InterVarsity’s Graduate and Faculty Ministries. His previous books include Faith is Like Skydiving and Faith Unexpected. He lives with his family in St. Paul, MN.

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Photos of Rick Mattson and Witness in the Classroom book cover

ESN Conversation: Land of My Sojourn with Mike Cosper

Feb 14, 2024 12:00 PM

“In the years since leaving local church ministry, I’ve devoted an enormous amount of time and resources to examining the church’s often troubled witness, its ongoing crisis of leadership, and the epidemic of narcissism, abuse, and cover-up that has continued to emerge year after year.” Mike Cosper is a writer and podcaster for Christians in a post-Christian world. He’s the director of podcasting for Christianity Today, where he hosts The Rise and Fall of Mars Hill and Cultivated: A Podcast about Faith and Work.

Flyer includes photo of Mike Cooper, book cover and some of the text in this post.

ESN Conversation: A Non-Anxious Life with Alan Fadling

January 16, 2024 at 3 pm ET

Anxiety leads us to succumb to fear and fight peace. Anxious living is a distortion of good motives, blocking the clarity of stillness and rest. Alan Fadling has also felt mastered by worry, but he brings counsel on how to learn a better way and who to look to for it: Jesus, “the ultimate non-anxious presence.” He constructs a posture from which we can rest more deeply, live more fully, and lead better.

Alan Fadling is president and founder of Unhurried Living, Inc. in Mission Viejo, California. He speaks and consults internationally. He is the award-winning author of An Unhurried Leader and An Unhurried Life

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Flyer with auto  and book cover photos

ESN Conversation: Rethinking the Police with Daniel Reinhardt

In Rethinking the Police, Reinhardt lays out a history of policing in the United States, showing how it developed a culture of dehumanization, systemic racism, and brutality. But Reinhardt doesn’t stop there: he offers a new model of policing based not in dominance and control but in a culture of servant leadership, with concrete suggestions for procedural justice and community policing.

Daniel Reinhardt (PhD, The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary) served as a police officer near Cleveland, Ohio, for twenty-four years. After retiring from the police force, he was assistant professor at the Heart of Texas Foundation College of Ministry at the Memorial Unit, a prison in Rosharon, Texas.

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Book Cover and photo of Daniel Reinhardt

Dead Theologians Book Group

The group is reading Augustine: On Christian Doctrine and Selected Introductory Works (Theological Foundations), Augustine (edited by Timothy George). Nashville: B & H Academic, 2022. Four works on Christian doctrine, written in the context of catechesis, by Augustine. Review

We currently  meet Wednesdays3 at 7:45AM on Zoom. We are likely to shift to Tuesdays or Thursday.

Contact Paul Post if you would like more information or to join us!

Wisdom Groups

It seems there is a common challenge among Christian faculty.

Many professors are not sufficiently relationally connected to other Christian faculty or with Christian organizations that serve students on campus; likewise, Christian faculty often feel a lack of competency in integrating their faith with their work in order to live in a missional, Christ-centered way.

We are piloting a new program we are calling Wisdom Groups, seeking to bring together faculty from various academic fields to explore what it might mean to be a truly wise Christian professor. Faculty will plan to gather bi-weekly in groups of 3 to 8 in order to read a prompt, discussing how we might follow Jesus as sage, while practicing group spiritual disciplines. Meetings will last no more than an hour and 15 minutes. Wisdom Groups will launch September, 2023. More details about time and location will be coordinated after we gather faculty’s availability (below).

This pilot program is a collaborative effort between The Thompson Institute and the Fellowship of Christian Faculty at OSU. It will be spearheaded by Aaron Badenhop, and is a fruit of his doctoral project called “The Wise Professor: The Skillful Art of Living in God’s Mission”

We imagine the biggest obstacle for participation might be our busy schedules. Though we cannot promise that a group will align with your schedule, our next step is to try to capture individual faculty’s typical weekly availability to form bi-weekly groups. Please fill out the form below to let us know what days and times are good for you.

Themes will focus on such questions as:

  • Why “wise” professors?
  • What is wisdom?
  • Is Jesus truly wise?
  • Does the academy foster wisdom?
  • How does wisdom relate to God’s mission?
  • Is wisdom more than knowledge?
  • How might wisdom respond to antagonistic environments?