July 10, 2006

Roughgarden, who teaches biological sciences and geophysics at Stanford University, attempts to sort fact from fiction in the debate over evolution. Although she criticizes the social Darwinism of Richard Dawkins, she thinks that most of the time evolutionary biologists have it right, and that failing to teach evolution is like failing to teach that the earth is round. An Episcopalian, she argues that evolution doesn’t conflict with Christian faith but instead enhances it in some ways. Roughgarden uses scripture in a rather literalistic fashion, which actually may be a strength in attempting to convince people from conservative Christian backgrounds about the merits of evolutionary theory. Evolution and Christian Faith can also serve as a very accessible and short refresher course for those who may have forgotten what they learned about evolution in Biology 101.

While many people read Nouwen’s books for spiritual guidance, he never wrote a book on spiritual direction. Two of his former students have pieced together what Nouwen might have written on the subject, using class notes from a seminary course he taught on spiritual direction, unpublished writings from the Nouwen archives and excerpts from published books and articles. The book is built around three movements: looking for God within, looking for God in the Bible and other sacred writings and looking for God in community. It is designed to be used as a resource for spiritual formation either in groups or by individuals.