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As a first-year undergraduate student and prospective Global Affairs major at Yale, Jackson Parrott has an...
June 1, 2014

The Answer to the Lack of Faithful Communities Is to Create Our Own

In certain circles, an open display of Christian faith in public may be received negatively. At a bar, a party, even and perhaps especially in academia, Christians are often fearful that discussing their prayer lives or church-going habits will shuffle them into the “small-minded” category among peers and colleagues.  

BioLogos web editor Emily Ruppel recounts the story of one Harvard astronomy student’s brave decision to leave her studies to pursue ministry, which sparked an entire network of Christian scientists to come together in community—men and women who were accustomed to staying quiet about faith in their particular sphere of influence, the hard sciences.

Impossible world

[O]ther current students…expressed their support for their colleague and the fact that they, too, loved Jesus and wished to serve and know him more fully. …A small community of Christians emerged within the astronomy department and began meeting and exploring what it means to be young scientists in a secular age not often welcoming of religious belief (especially Christian religious belief).
Ruppel also reflects upon the stark contrast between her own Midwestern upbringing and the time she spend studying for her science writing master’s degree at MIT.  

To [many at MIT], the sign of the cross is a sign of ignorance and small-mindedness. It represents a group of believers who automatically reject anything and everything that threatens the way they think about God and the universe they live in.
…Who to blame for this?…Maybe the ordination of academia, the conferring of authoritative status to those who know so much about so little.
After hiding her beliefs at MIT, Ruppel joined the American Scientific Affiliation, an international network of Christian scientists. This was in fact her first experience being part of a community that was openly passionate about both scientific literacy and faith in Christ, which she found to be intellectually and spiritually challenging, supportive, and inspiring.  

Now, more than ever, is the time for Christian intellectuals to come together in community. Support and encouragement in Christ, particularly in scholarly settings that are known to be less friendly toward Christianity, helps to propagate networks and connect Christians who perhaps did not even realize they were in the same field.  

Creating strategic networks of world-class Christian leaders like those at Harvard and ASA—networks to engage and lead cultural change—is one of Christian Union’s core distinctives. Christians who are isolated in a "holy huddle" either socially or intellectually will not change culture, but well-networked Christians of influence—who are thoughtful about their faith—will be fully equipped and prepared to maximize their godly impact on society.  

Read Emily Ruppel’s full article, An Impossible World, over at BioLogos.