Gary Kowalski, a Unitarian minister and author of The Soul of Animals, one of the best books ever written on that subject, states: "The cleavage between science and religion has haunted our world for four centuries. Our culture has become soul-sick as a consequence. Nothing could be more important than healing this historic schism, for our technologically driven, spiritually fragmented world can no longer afford either a heartless science or a mindless faith."
This book started out as a class Kowalski developed for his congregation on topics in science and religion. He explores this turf with chapters on Tell Me Why; Star Dust; All Is Forgiven, Galileo; A Brief History of Stuff; Gaia and the Great Mother; After Darwin; A Passionate Epistemology; God is a Verb; Elephants All the Way Down; and The Future of Faith. As is evident by the chapter headings, the author has taken a creative approach to this interface between science and religion.
We love Kowalski's celebration of mystery as a meeting place: "Mystery is the element in which both science and religion live and move and have their being, and the question of why anything exists at all forever confounds the human intellect. Humility-the opposite of intellectual arrogance-may be one value on which science and faith can converge, for the world will always be infinitely wider than our understanding of it." Equally uplifting is the author's respect for the spiritual practice of wonder. Kowalski made it a habit each Sunday morning to include some mention of what stars and planets were visible in the night sky, thus creating his own weekly almanac of the heavens. What a fine way to bring the marvels of the natural world into the worship experience. And if we are truly star dust, then what better way to help us see ourselves afresh and to teach us about our deep connections with the universe.
Whether discussing process theology; the emotional intelligence of Jane Goodall, Dian Fossey and Birute Galdikas; or the limitations of the ideology of materialism, Kowalski keeps us alert to the complexities of our special place in the cosmos. He also points out some of the daunting challenges which lie ahead in the twenty-first century.