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The Rev. Dr. Luke Powery The Rev. Dr. Luke Powery
The Rev. Dr. Luke Powery is dean of Duke University Chapel and associate professor of homiletics at Duke Divinity School, Durham, NC. He was ordained by the Progressive National Baptist Convention.

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Faith & Science in the 21st Century Series Faith & Science in the 21st Century Series
Day1 presents the "Faith & Science in the 21st Century" Series, featuring outstanding theologians and scientists exploring vital issues of science and religion today. This series is made possible through the support of a grant from the John Templeton Foundation.

Day1 Faith & Science Series 8: Luke Powery - Continuing Education

August 22, 2016

The Rev. Dr. Luke A. Powery, Dean of the Chapel at Duke University, encourages people of faith to continue their inquiry into science and keep learning. This enhanced version video is part of the Day1 Faith & Science in the 21st Century Series, made possible through the support of a grant by the John Templeton Foundation.


There is a refrain in my Day1 sermon that goes something like this: "We can learn something new everyday."  I use that refrain in light of the witness of the disciples in Ephesus. They didn't know anything about the Holy Spirit and had not even heard about the Spirit yet they were still considered disciples, suggesting that one can become a disciple of Jesus and still not know everything there is to know about God or faith. Learning is continual and we never arrive at the place where we know everything; thus, there's a level of intellectual humility that we should possess as people of faith.

This means that an aspect of our calling as Christian disciples is to keep asking questions and being inquisitive. It means to live into the notion of 'faith seeking understanding' realizing  that 'seeking' is key. And as we seek knowledge and desire to learn more, there is the gift of mentorship on the journey. The apostle Paul taught these Ephesian disciples about the Holy Spirit revealing how learning happens in community, as long as we are teachable.

As we continue to seek understanding in community, we should humbly recognize that God is mystery and that we will never come to know everything about God and faith and its interface with science because we are not God.  In fact, the Ephesian disciples speak in tongues and prophesy when Paul lays his hands on them which reveals that the gift of the Holy Spirit is intelligibility and unintelligibility, knowing and understanding and not knowing and not understanding. 

This is the gift of serving a God who is mysterious, unknown, yet becomes incarnate in Jesus Christ, known. We will always not know and know so there will always be something more for us to learn and hopefully we will be curious enough to learn because learning is a lifelong journey; it is not one class, one degree, or one worship service. It encompasses our entire lifetime. This means we should keep our conversations of mutual learning going and enroll in God's school of continuing education.



The Day1 Faith & Science Series project was made possible through the support of a grant from the John Templeton Foundation. The opinions expressed in these documents are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of the John Templeton Foundation.


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