The 2 Windows Project is an organization that is attempting to engage discussions on the relationship between science and faith. These two subjects are often seen in ideological competition with the other, and the intention of the 2 Windows Project is to show the importance of balancing both science and faith. The most recent subject of this organization was “Human Sexuality: Science & Theology in Conversation.”
On Sunday, March 4, people of all variations gathered together to hear a panel on human sexuality and religion, a topic that many Christian denominations are beginning to have. This panel consisted of Dr. Dan Boone, Justin Lee, Justϊne Underwood-Jones, Dr. Paulette Pitt and Dr. William Reiner. With the wide variety of experiences and expertise on this panel, the discussion was able to find the balance of scientific fact and theological opinion.
Justin Lee and Justϊne Underwood-Jones are not only activists for the LGBT+ community in the Christian community but also have the experience of balancing their LGBT+ status with their faith. Both Lee and Underwood-Jones talked of their experience of exploring their sexualities in the various churches they attended, coming to the conclusion that human sexuality must be treated as a communal and relational experience rather than a science project in the Church.
Dr. Pitt, who works as a Clinical Assistant Professor at the University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center, attempted to describe scientific issues on human sexuality, specifically the issue of biology versus culture. It was difficult for her to answer because, as she stated, “We don’t know.”
From both Dr. Pitt and Dr. Reiner, this phrase was present throughout the panel, emphasizing the importance to “… know what we don’t know,” as Dr. Pitt said. It is important for people to become educated on topics of human sexuality as it is becoming prevalent in our society, yet we must understand that there will be limits to our understanding. Within the realms of these limits, we must not make assumptions.
As Dr. Reiner, Professor Emeritus of Pediatric Urology at the University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center, voiced, “Science can’t explain everything… only you know who you are.” Again, understanding the limits of science and viewing the response to human sexuality as a communal experience is crucial to the balance of science and faith. Our response must not be judgement; rather, we must respond with love and grace.
Dr. Boone, President of Trevecca Nazarene University and President-Elect of Eastern Nazarene College, emphasized this need for a response of love and grace. When explaining the beauty of the Nazarene tradition, he said, “This is a faith experience that has more space within it that understands and respects individual experiences.” Dr. Boone continued to stress the importance of hospitality within a church, expressing love and grace through all situations.
Overall, this panel conveyed the idea that humans are complex and nuanced– there is not and will not be one answer to the question of human sexuality in the Church. What Lee emphasized was the need to “depoliticize” human sexuality in the Church, to respond Christianly before we respond with a partisan criticism. As Christians, it is our job to represent the love and grace of Christ by listening to stories and participating in civil discourse as reflected in this panel.
(Photos by Zach Lucero)