Drew Rick-Miller

Denomination: Presbyterian Church (USA) (PCUSA)
Organization: Science for the Church

Drew Rick-Miller is Project Co-director of Science for the Church and the lead editor of the weekly email newsletter.

In addition to leading this project, he does freelance work on a range of projects including Science for Seminaries, Orbiter magazine, and programs at the Fuller Youth Institute and Biola University. Previously, he spent more than ten years with the John Templeton Foundation, most recently leading the Religious Engagement Department, where he developed programs helping religious leaders and media engage scientific content.

Drew studied literature and physics at Northwestern University before attending Princeton Theological Seminary (M.Div.). Drew’s vocational passion is to help the church navigate the faith and science interface.

Drew lives in Raleigh, North Carolina with his wife, a Presbyterian pastor, and their three daughters. He still proudly dons purple and cheers on his Northwestern Wildcats.

Articles by Drew Rick-Miller

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So Lonely

Tuesday June 11, 2024
Can you hear Sting’s unique voice repeating the chorus, “So lonely, so lonely (I feel so lonely)” in the Police’s 1978 anthem to loneliness and isolation? Sting was once asked if it was ironic singing this song to large crowds. He replied, “No, there’s no irony whatsoever. From the outside it might look a bit strange, being surrounded by all this attention and yet experiencing the worst lonely feeling…but I do. And then suddenly...

Hope for Easter

Tuesday March 26, 2024
My eldest is a high school senior, the class of ’24, that endured an entirely remote freshman year. We were looking forward to her last round of exams, the decision of which college to attend, prom, graduation, and a lot what my daughter’s circle of friends has dubbed the senior sillies. Her friends are an amazing group—the kind that gives all who know them hope for the future—and their laughter delights us whenever they gather. However, nearly two weeks ago, the ground under their feet shifted and...

Awe: A Vital Bridge Between Science and Worship

Tuesday January 16, 2024
Awe has been described as the experience of self-transcendence. According to the Greater Good Science Center, it shifts “our attention away from ourselves, make us feel like we are part of something greater than ourselves, and make us more generous toward others.” But the focus of Christian worship is not us or our experience of awe. Nor is it science. Worship is about recognizing God’s glory, proclaiming the truths of a triune God who is our creator, redeemer, and sustainer, and then...

Material Matters

Tuesday December 05, 2023
In the past, I have asked: what kind of God would create a world with this or that characteristic? It is a fun way to recognize God’s creative work and also to wonder about what the natural world is telling us about God. Let’s give it a try. What kind of God would create a universe that is nearly 14 billion years old, stretches across 90+ billion light years, and contains something like a septillion stars? Now, before we can answer the question, we must understand the scale of these numbers. They are not just big, or even really, really big; rather, they are beyond comprehension...

What Good is the Science of Happiness for the Church

Thursday October 12, 2023
Happiness research, a central theme of the growing positive psychology field, seeks to understand what it looks like when our mental and emotional life is good. What makes us happy and contributes to human flourishing? That might seem cheesy and even shallow for those of us who find our satisfaction in the Gospel of Jesus Christ, but this research can be an asset to our ministries.

Drew Rick-Miller: The Cradle of Humankind

Tuesday August 08, 2023
How do we tell better stories of our past? This question motivated my wife’s sabbatical trip. She was particularly interested in how we tell better stories of the more difficult parts of our past. So, our journey took us to post-Apartheid South Africa, post-Holocaust Germany (and Netherlands), and post-The Troubles Northern Ireland.

Drew Rick-Miller: Conflicted about the Conflict

Wednesday March 08, 2023
I no longer begin a talk or lesson affirming the idea that there is a conflict between science and religion unless I am asked to address it explicitly. The conflict between science and religion is difficult to maintain.

Drew Rick-Miller: A Hard Question from Scientists in our Churches

Tuesday February 28, 2023
What do I do if my church does not accept me as a scientist? Wherever two or more evangelicals in the sciences are gathered, this question inevitably comes up.

Drew Rick-Miller: Our Common Humanity

Wednesday February 08, 2023
Together, scripture and science, tell a remarkably similar story—despite all the difference and variation we see among humans—we share a common humanity. For science, it is known through our DNA. For faith, it comes from our unity in Christ and the image of God granted to each and every one us.

Drew Rick-Miller: How are Humans Unique?

Tuesday January 10, 2023
Any plausible Christian response to the question of human uniqueness must account for Genesis 1:26: “Let us make humankind in our image, according to our likeness.” The opening chapter of the Bible is clear: God created us, and there is something like God in us.

Drew Rick-Miller: Devotional: Look Closely to see the Big Picture

Tuesday December 20, 2022
Whether it is the nativity in your living room (or maybe the one in your front yard) or the Christmas pageant, the three Magi are often the grandest of the figures. Tall and distinguished, robed, and often crowned, they carry those gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh....

Drew Rick-Miller: No Place for Them in the Therapy Room

Wednesday December 07, 2022
Imagine with me for a moment being Mary and Joseph’s rabbi. How on earth would you counsel this young couple, expecting a child, on the move due to the powers and principalities of their day?

Drew Rick-Miller: A Case Study on Science in Sermons

Tuesday October 25, 2022
Today we launch bonus material connected to our Standard Model videos. I am pleased to offer you The Standard Model in Action, a sermon by Chris Dolson, the pastor emeritus of Blackhawk Church.

Drew Rick-Miller: Ministry Profile: The Culture [and Programs] of Blackhawk Church

Wednesday September 28, 2022
An emphasis on atmosphere and culture is part of what helped senior pastor emeritus Chris Dolson grow Blackhawk Church, an Evangelical Free Church of America congregation in Madison, Wisconsin, into a multi-site congregation that attracts upwards of 5,000 multiethnic attendees on a Sunday.

Drew Rick-Miller: Our Minds and the Mind of Christ

Tuesday August 23, 2022
In 1 Corinthians, Paul is writing to a church that is divided and struggling with elitist attitudes and dissension. Like today, it is a church divided. Paul’s antidote for the church in Corinth is the cross and Christ crucified.

Drew Rick-Miller: Science in Support of Children’s Ministry: (More) Q&A with Erin Smith

Tuesday August 02, 2022
In last week’s post, we introduced you to Erin Smith. We continue with her this week to learn about her research on children’s ministry. Her research is wide-ranging, but one focus is applying empirical questions to children’s ministry in an effort improve it.

Drew Rick-Miller: Psychology for the Church - Q&A with Erin Smith

Wednesday July 27, 2022
I’m excited to introduce you to Erin Smith, the Fletcher Jones Foundation Endowed Professor of Research in psychology at California Baptist University. We met as advisors for the Science for Seminaries project—a program she calls “a really beautiful experience”—and I became aware of her work understanding faith and science and using psychology to strengthen the church.

Drew Rick-Miller: On Debates, Differences, and Dismissals

Tuesday June 21, 2022
My first seminary course with Wentzel van Huyssteen introduced me to Paul Davies through his classic 1993 book, The Mind of God. So I was thrilled a few years later when Davies was in town to debate British chemist Peter Atkins....

Drew Rick-Miller: Devotional: Seeing Wisdom from God’s View

Tuesday May 24, 2022
“God sees everything under the heavens.” Does that mean God sees nebulae, supernovae, and galaxies? What about black holes, dark matter, and even empty space? Can God see wonders beyond the scope of human vision and technology?

Drew Rick-Miller: The Role of Faith in a Mental Health Crisis

Tuesday May 10, 2022
I’m not a mental health professional, nor am I trained to treat even mild mental illnesses. I do, however, know a little about the connection between spirituality and health and its relevance to the role of faith in a mental health crisis.

Drew Rick-Miller: “I Was Made to Do This.”

Wednesday April 27, 2022
Reflect back with me to your formative years. Consider the stepping stones that led you to where you are today. Trace the path of discerning your vocation. Hold on to those moments when you see that your work is what God intended it to be....

Drew Rick-Miller: Considering Culture

Wednesday March 30, 2022
Does our biology determine us, for better or for worse? Or is it culture and environment that shape us into who we are?

Drew Rick-Miller: Jesus and Love: The Bible and Science Tell Us So

Wednesday March 16, 2022
Here is a thought experiment: Imagine asking your congregation the first thing that comes to mind from the prompt, “Human evolution.” What kind of responses would you anticipate?

Drew Rick-Miller: Science and Public Witness: A Ministry Profile of Holy Trinity Lutheran Church

Wednesday February 16, 2022
While The Standard Model—as we see in the good and faithful work of Holy Trinity—may not be sufficient to undo the church’s decreased influence in our culture, we believe it is a necessary part of the solution.

Drew Rick-Miller: The Standard Model (of Science for the Church)

Tuesday February 08, 2022
This is what Science for the Church is about. Bringing science to church will continue to be awkward or worse until the church learns how to do it and do it well.

Drew Rick-Miller: The Standard Model (of Particle Physics)

Wednesday January 19, 2022
As we prepare to reveal the Standard Model of Science for the Church—how the church can benefit from engaging science—let us first consider its namesake from particle physics...

Drew Rick-Miller/Science for the Church - Advent Devotional: God’s Real Presence

Wednesday December 15, 2021
Note: We offer another devotional in part three of our 2021 series of science-informed Christmas reflections. “And the Word became flesh and lived among us, and we have seen his glory, the glory as of a father’s only son, full of grace and truth.” (John 1:14)

Ciara Reyes-Ton/Science for the Church: Advent Devotional: Lessons on Waiting from Dividing Cells

Wednesday December 08, 2021
We continue our series of science-informed Christmas reflections with an Advent devotional by biologist, writer, singer-songwriter, and coffee lover, Ciara Reyes-Ton.

Drew Rick-Miller/Science for the Church: The Giving in Thanksgiving

Tuesday November 16, 2021
For many churches, stewardship season is in the fall. We talk about money a lot this time of year—both pledges for the coming year and reminders to help meet the current year’s budget. This regularly overlaps with Thanksgiving, when we offer thanks for all that God is doing in and through our communities of faith.

Drew Rick-Miller/Science for the Church: Hope for a Worn-Out Church

Tuesday October 26, 2021
Leading a church already had its own set of challenges. Add 18 months of pandemic, social upheaval, and political unrest, and it is indeed overwhelming. Part of what makes it so difficult is that both pastors and their congregations are overwhelmed and worn out.

Drew Rick-Miller/Science for the Church - Science and Spirit: An Interview with Fred Ware

Tuesday October 12, 2021
Relationships are central to our work at Science for the Church. We include interviews to introduce you to scientists, theologians, and Christian leaders who have taught us much. Fred Ware, professor of theology and associate dean for academic affairs at Howard University School of Divinity (HUSD), is one such individual.

Drew Rick-Miller/Science for the Church: How God Works

Tuesday September 28, 2021
David DeSteno puts it this way: “Science and religion have often been at odds. But if we remove the theology—views about the nature of God, the creation of the universe, and the like—from the day-to-day practice of religious faith, the animosity in the debate evaporates.”

Drew Rick-Miller/Science for the Church: Has Science Changed My Prayer Life?

Tuesday September 14, 2021
How has science impacted my prayer life? I hope this is a question our series on prayer is leading you to ask. It certainly is for me.

Drew Rick-Miller/Science for the Church: Is the Scientific Study of Prayer Legit?

Tuesday August 31, 2021
Several years ago, a pastor asked me if the scientific study of prayer is legit. I replied, “That’s complicated.” At the time, I did not fully understand how true this is. Why is it complicated? There are many reasons...

Drew Rick-Miller/Science for the Church: What Kind of God… Entropy and the Arrow of Time?

Wednesday August 18, 2021
Another way to answer the question I asked last week, “What kind of God would create a universe that obeys the second law of thermodynamics, where entropy always increases?” is that it is a God who wants there to be an arrow of time.

Drew Rick-Miller/Science for the Church: What Kind of God… Entropy?

Tuesday August 10, 2021
A pandemic that won’t let go. Political division. Racial tension. A changing—some might say—deteriorating, landscape for the Christian church. We know firsthand a thing or two about disorder. And it doesn’t even include the disorder each of us feels in the personal chaos we must navigate.

Drew Rick-Miller/Science for the Church: Why Care About Creation? Part 3

Friday July 30, 2021
In the previous two newsletters, I outlined seven rationales for why Christians should care about the environment. They are all compelling, but if the church is going to get folks talking about creation care and motivate increasing numbers of us to take our roles as stewards of the earth more seriously, we need more than secular arguments with a Christian gloss.

Drew Rick-Miller/Science for the Church: Why Care for Creation? Part 2

Tuesday July 27, 2021
Our churches are often divided over climate change. A discussion of the topic will generate much heat–and whether it is a heat that illuminates or burns is unclear.

Drew Rick-Miller/Science for the Church: Why Care About Creation? Part 1

Friday July 23, 2021
“Talk about it.” Those three words are what Katharine Hayhoe tells the church and every other community to do if they want to learn how to support the long-term well-being of Earth and all its inhabitants.

Drew Rick-Miller: Summer Reading and Watching - Science for the Church

Thursday July 01, 2021
Here we offer our 2021 recommendations for books and films with the hope that, like us, you have extra bandwidth in July and August to sit with them.

Drew Rick-Miller: Make Your Face Shine Upon Us

Thursday June 17, 2021
I experienced a post-pandemic first last week, flying for the first time in nearly 18 months (to attend an in-person meeting no less). Then, upon my return home, I learned something even more exciting. Our church is returning to in-person worship next month. I can’t wait to pass the peace face-to-face.

Drew Rick-Miller: Making Progress Post-Pandemic - Science for the Church

Wednesday June 02, 2021
“Trouble is opportunity.” I don’t think Sir John Marks Templeton was the first to coin that phrase, but I heard it a lot during my decade working for his foundation. It was one of his investment mantras. When the market was down, he would find the next big winner. Trouble did not interrupt progress, but was a catalyst for it.

Drew Rick-Miller: When Loss Is a Gain - Science for the Church

Tuesday May 11, 2021
New research suggests a cognitive bias may account for why subtraction can be difficult for us, even well outside the domain of mathematics. We are really good at adding things, but often miss the benefits of removing them. In this there appears to be some convergence between science and Scripture.

Drew Rick-Miller: A History Lesson - Science for the Church

Wednesday April 28, 2021
Getting Our History Right on Faith and Science: A Lesson Outline for use by your church group...

Drew Rick-Miller: Signs of New Life - Science for the Church

Tuesday March 30, 2021
New life, like resurrection, is a theme for Easter and every other Sunday of the year. We proclaim it at baptism, we preach it to motivate folks to come to know Christ as their Lord and Savior, we celebrate it whenever we see it, and we offer it as balm to those facing difficult and dark days.

Drew Rick-Miller: Mangoes from Heaven - Science for the Church

Thursday March 25, 2021
Many conceptions of missionaries focus on the Great Commission, the teaching of the Christian Scriptures and faith, and truth be told, quite a bit of colonialist baggage. Missionaries I have known live out the Great Commission and the Great Commandment by both showing and telling God’s love.

Drew Rick-Miller: Be Still and Know

Wednesday March 03, 2021
Psalm 46 instructs us: “Be still and know that I am God!” Truth be told, stillness is not my thing. I can sit still for a while, especially snuggled up to one of my daughters or pets. And I’m part of a denomination that is known as the ‘frozen chosen.’

Drew Rick-Miller: Scientists Matter to the Church

Thursday February 18, 2021
“Our church doesn’t really have any scientists. That is simply not relevant for us.” These are the statements I often hear from pastors after describing the work of Science for the Church. It is not entirely surprising either.

Drew Rick-Miller: Tools for a Divided Nation

Tuesday January 12, 2021
While faith and science debates—such as the Intelligent Design paradigm, an old vs. young Earth, or a literal Adam and Eve—seem peripheral to our political division, the experience of having those conversations offer us tools that translate to our current predicament.

Drew Rick-Miller: To Know the Christ Child

Tuesday December 22, 2020
On Christmas Eve—my favorite night of the entire Christian calendar—I pray that you don’t let your brain and rationality get in the way of the moment, and that language and logic do not paralyze you.

Drew Rick-Miller: Prepare the Way for a COVID Christmas

Wednesday December 09, 2020
If researchers are correct, forgetfulness is increasing in this pandemic. But why? Why is it so hard to remember right now? Since memory is deeply contextual and socialization helps us consolidate memories, this COVID-induced isolation can also induce forgetfulness.

Drew Rick-Miller: In a Funk

Wednesday November 04, 2020
Scientists tell us we are a highly social species. Our minds and bodies are built for interpersonal connections. Isolation is not good for any of us, even the most introverted. Facial expression, physical touch, and body language are all crucial ways we engage and thrive as social beings.

Drew Rick-Miller: Science & Faith: An Alleged Rivalry

Thursday October 29, 2020
There’s been a longstanding warfare thesis about the alleged rivalry between faith and science. But in the words of historian Ron Numbers, it’s “more propaganda than history.” Decades of research—by believers and non-believers—is unanimous on this point. The history of science and religion is not the history of an enduring conflict. There is no war, but a pervasive perception of conflict.

Drew Rick-Miller: What Kind of God?

Tuesday October 06, 2020
Most science and faith geeks, like myself, love Psalm 19. The heavens declare, they tell of, they proclaim the glory of God. Scripture shows us that God is revealed by both nature (vv. 1-6) and the Law of the Lord (vv. 7-14). This gives warrant for the two books understanding of revelation—it is both the Bible and nature that are declaring, telling of, and proclaiming the glory of God.

Drew Rick-Miller: The Wonderful Burden of Caregiving

Saturday September 19, 2020
In this article I want to look at some of the research around caregiving—an expansive field looking at numerous dimensions of delivering and receiving care—and challenge you and your church to think about ways this research can strengthen your ministry to those giving and receiving care.

Drew Rick-Miller: Some Science Behind Sin

Tuesday June 23, 2020
In his article for "Science for the Church," Drew Rick-Miller says, whether it is our selfish nature that compels us to prioritize ourselves and our families, or the study of various neuroses, or understanding how our emotions get the best of us, science has a lot to say about sin. Including the sin of racism.