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Psalm 30 thanks God (vv. 1-3, 11-12) and exhorts others to thank God (vv. 4-5). Both emerge from the concrete reality of David’s own experience. Here is what that experience looks like:

Step one: David was set on high and was flourishing at the hand of God’s bounty (v. 7a).
Step two: David became too self-confident (v. 6).
Step three: The Lord disciplined David for his pride (v. 7b).
Step four: David cried to the Lord and turned his heart away from pride (vv. 8-10).
Step five: The Lord answered David’s request and pleadings (vv. 11-12, back to vv 1-3).
The story is a common story; it is our story; it is Israel’s story; it is the story of Israel during the time of the judges; during the time of the kings and prophets; during the Exile and after the return; it is the story of the church in Acts. 
Humans beings can experience the blessing of God and flourish and will always face the temptation of self-confidence and pride; and God often reminds us of our pride and summons us to become faithful and trusting and we see all over again that we are creatures and God alone is God.

One of the more important and more difficult pieces of the puzzle as we feel our way forward at the interface of science and faith is the theological implications of discoveries in modern science. A comment on my post Evolution in the Key of D: Deity or Deism noted:

…this reminds me of why I get annoyed so much by those who write on theology and evolution. It’s usually just deism and fluff, to be frank.

I’ve enjoyed reading through the comments and seeing some of the ideas shared by others. I firmly believe that this discussion on deism vs/compared to theism in natural theology should be given much more attention. Some of the scientist-theologians (Barbour, Polkinghorne come to mind) speak of a “theology of nature” instead of a natural theology, but in my mind, they haven’t really given us a good framework for how God acts in and through nature. It’s important to note that while natural theology is only one component of theology, it’s clearly a vital one today.

Justin developed these thoughts a bit more on his own blog A Biologists View of Science  & Religion.

I think that this is an extremely important issue that should receive
more attention by theologians (especially those that have training or a
fairly deep understanding of evolutionary biology).  The scientists like
me or those at BioLogos have got to admit that our theology of
evolution is weak.  You cannot persuade Christians that evolution is not
the enemy (and literal Creationism is bunk) if you don’t provide them
with a meaningful and understandable natural theology alongside the
scientific evidence. 

What kind of discussion do you think we need to develop a workable theological understanding of evolution? What is the most significant issue?

KendaDean.jpgWho does well when it comes to passing on the faith to the youth? Studies show two groups do really well: conservative Protestants and Mormons; two groups that don’t do well are mainline Protestants and Roman Catholics. 

Kenda Dean’s new book is called Almost Christian: What the Faith of Our Teenagers is Telling the American Church
, and in her next chp she examines what makes the Mormons so effective — and she calls the chp “Mormon Envy.”
What can we learn from the Mormons about passing on the faith?
She opens with something I’ve not known about: high school Mormons begin the day at “seminary” where they are taught the scriptures and theology of Mormonism. All this before school — four years, five days a week during the school year. Parents are the teachers. It involves journaling and pragmatics as well.
Her big point is that Mormons top the charts when it comes to integrating their faith as teenagers. 73% hold faith similar to their parents; 43% attend services weekly; 80% talk about religion once a week with parents. Thus: “Mormon youth participate in more religious practices of all kinds, and are much more articulate about church teachings” (51). 
And her thesis is that four components, yea five, are involved in their “intense religious socialization”: