You might be wondering, “What is ‘Passion Talks’ anyway? And why should I devote an entire day of my busy life to attend?”
If that is you I ask a couple minutes of your time and attention to hear me about why I think Passion Talks is important and why you should consider getting involved.
Simply put, Passion Talks is a venue where we give “professional testimonies.” It is a hybrid between professional conferences, and testimonials. The need for Passion Talks arises from the big chasm we, people in academia and for that matter any field of research, face as believers in a personal God. Almost everything about our work, the way we conduct research, the way we talk about it, the way we communicate, is purged of all forms of subjective and personal thoughts, regardless whether they are true or not. This has its benefits, it keeps science universal. However, if we believe a personal God is the author of creation which we are trying to understand, how can we hope to know him better through our work if we insist on confining all our thoughts about our work to the truly impersonal and objective?
The truth is, no science is purely objective, and it is imperative that we who hope to live genuine lives of worship to God find ways to speak about the personal and subjective aspects of our work in hopes that we reflect better the beautiful qualities of our personal God, who nonetheless created the seemingly objective and impersonal universe and the laws governing it.
Though this sounds huge, in practice what it means is that we strive to find ways of discussing our research in a holistic manner. We will discuss not just the objective work, but go down to the personal aspects of what motivates us, what fuels us, what encourages us when times are hard, and what keeps us going when, by the world’s standards, we seem to be utter failures.
For those of you familiar with the history of science, and for that matter the university in general, it started out from very sound Christian world view about who God is and how the universe he created should therefore behave in orderly, intelligible ways. Many prominent scientists in the early days saw their work as a form of worship to God. The famous astronomer, Johannes Kepler (of Kepler’s law) is quoted to have said, “For a long time, I wanted to become a theologian. Now, however, behold, how through my efforts God is being glorified through astronomy.”
I may not fully understand, the way Kepler did, how God is being glorified through my research. But I can assure you that he will be glorified on August 17th at Passion Talks. Imagine you got the sense, after listening to the first Passion Talk, “Wow, I can see how God really is sustaining that guy.” And after the second one, “I can see how her work is bringing her close to God,” after the third, “Wow, God really did humble him through his research, but he is all the better for it now.” Imagine that went on for the majority of the day, and imagine that not only you, but most of the people in attendance felt that way most of the day. What more can we do to glorify God in a day than this? We are helping people see that God is alive and at work as displayed in each of the talks! Have no doubt, he will be smiling down on us. And for those of us who at least WANT to love him (whether or not we actually love him) what makes him happy will make us happy, and his glory is our glory.
So why Passion Talks? Passion Talks is a novel way where we can bring glory to God through our testimonies about our work. After all, we give talks about our work to advance our careers! Why can’t we do it to please God?