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Stirring up some dialogue

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By Kirsten Laskey

According to the Rev. Bruce Kuenzel, the wisdom of a community is more than just what one person has to say. This point will be exercised during the Science, Ethics and Religion Workshop from 9:30 a.m.-3:30 p.m. April 19 at Bethlehem Lutheran Church.While ELCA theologian Larry Rasmussen will lead the discussion, he will not be the lone voice. Many people from different walks of life will carry the conversation. For instance, physicist Robert Kraus, theologian Dick Avery of Santa Fe, retired Catholic Rev. Monsignor Leo Gomez of Albuquerque and President of the New Mexico Stake for Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints Russell Pack are among the moderators and panelists participating in the event.Jo Baer, co-chairperson for the workshop, explained the goal is to create a dialogue about different topics “with as many perspectives as possible.”The dialogue begins with a lecture by Rasmussen, titled, “A conversation with the Brothers Bonhoeffer.”Kuenzel explained Dietrich Bonhoeffer was a German Lutheran pastor who opposed the Nazi party during World War II, and was executed as a result. Before he died, Dietrich had many theological and scientific discussions with his brother, Karl Friedrich Bonhoeffer, who was a physicist.Their talks coincide nicely with what the workshop is working to achieve. “(Their) conversation between science and religion promises to be an interested contribution to this whole conversation of religion and science,” Kuenzel said.He added Rasmussen was asked to lead the workshop because “I think he is, without question, one of the finest Christian ethicists in the country.”The workshop continues with a panel discussion titled, “A Moral Scientific Life.” A second panel talk, “How Should Faith Guide Governance?” will follow.Baer said the panels are “an opportunity to develop on-going dialogue with people representing different points of view.”The panels also offer a chance to “think together,” and listen to one another, Kuenzel said.Mark Dunham, chairperson of the Bethlehem Lutheran outreach committee, said these topics were selected because “I would hope people have some of these topics in the back of their mind ee this may be the place to get some answers or at least start to get some answers.”A dialogue about science and religion is necessary, he added, “because we’re having one whether we like it or not.” There are debates raging about stem cell research, and family planning, he said, “I don’t see how you can avoid science and religion.” “I think additionally,” Kuenzel said, “we’ll get insight about the kind of life worth living and then in the afternoon at least (explore) the question, what kind of future (is in store)?”Plus, Dunham said, it’s high time Lutherans started having a voice in these discussions. They are trying to “wake up,” he said. “We are the original church of this country ee it’s important for us to be heard in the national dialogue.”It should be a discussion Los Alamos is interested in participating in not only because it is a strong scientific community, but it is also a strong faith community, Baer said. “Just the intersection between science and religion is very apropos in this community,” she said.Kuenzel agreed. “I do think we do have so many practicing scientists, hopefully, we will address some of things they do every day.”The registration fee is $15 for individuals and $25 for couples. The deadline to register is April 12.For more information, call co-chair Jane Clements at 661-6570 or e-mail at jclements1813@msn.com or e-mail Dunham at MEDunham2@msn.com.