by Susan Barreto, editor
A sacred sense of calling
I have known the subject of this month's profile for a number of years and long enough to know the question that she shares with the religion and science community — Why?
It's a question that Carol Albright has just kept asking and asking of scientists and theologians alike. It's a question that she has asked me more than once over the years — "Why are you doing this?" As for myself I have never had a pat answer, but in reference to my growing interest in religion and science, all I could say is that someone needs to explain all this to the public at large.
It's taken more years than I care to think about to turn the tables on Carol! When I asked her, why, this last month you can see that the answer was not an easy one necessarily. Albright generally has the distinction at most religion and science conferences of being the only one who is not a pastor, theologian, university student or scientist. It has left a fair number of people over the years pondering her aims of learning about topics that seem so disconnected from daily life, but at the same time her interest is in subjects that cut to core of who we are and what we believe our role is in the universe as human beings.
You can read more about Carol's intellectual journey in this month's profile.
Most people have a natural curiosity about how the world fits together. It is the very few though who take the time to pursue their own informed theories on what is real and what it all means.
In fact most of society is probably more interested in how "reality" translates into a larger bank account or a stress free life, that is, if we allow the proliferation of self-help gurus and reality television to define what our focus "ought" to be.
It is easy to lose our sacred sense of calling or to never even find it at all. It's that quiet tug that calls even grown-ups to productive "time outs." It is the stories such as Carol's that show us that there is plenty of opportunity to listen and discern callings. And ultimately, it is her story that shows the rewards of asking the simple questions of why and turning it into a simple "why not?"
So as the Lenten season gives way into the Easter celebrations, it is the perfect time to explore new vistas and consider learning more about scientific endeavors and theological reflection. If you have never attended a public forum on religion and science, maybe now is the time to say "why not?"
Susan Barreto is a journalist who has been following religion and science since 2003 with articles appearing in various newsletters and The Lutheran magazine. She is also a deputy editor of a monthly hedge fund magazine owned by Euromoney Institutional Investor. Susan is a long-time member of Luther Memorial Church in Chicago, where she lives with her husband and son.
Covalence, April 2011