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Jesus Loves You and Evolution Is True: Why Youth Ministry Needs Science

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Science is not a danger to the faith of Christian youth. In fact, Sara Sybesma Tolsma, an award-winning scientist, and Jason Lief, a leading practical theologian, argue that youth ministry needs science to help young people explore their relationship to God and engage their world faithfully.

Jesus Loves You and Evolution Is True invites the church and its leaders to open their minds and hearts to what science can tell us about our human lives and our connections to, and role in, our natural world. But it does not stop there: evolutionary science is theological, argues Lief and Tolsma, and so it must have a central place in the day-to-day work of youth ministry.

If the church wants to help youth develop robust spiritual lives and prepare them for the challenges that life will bring them, pastors, faith leaders, and youth workers must not only engage science but embrace its lessons for the life and practice of Christian faith today.

228 pages, Paperback

Published May 7, 2019

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Sara Sybesma Tolsma

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Displaying 1 - 3 of 3 reviews
Profile Image for Paulo Reimann.
370 reviews1 follower
August 11, 2019
BS"D ב״ה
This is a great book. To view religion through the science optics is always a challenge. At the end of the day, G-d’s manifestation is through nature which is per se science itself (or at lest this is how I face religion in my own believe in G-d). Anthropomorphism above manifestations that could resemble paganism or at least hint for adoration. The principle of anthropomorphism or pantheism is a good way to explain the beginning from big bang (and what was before and why) to DNA and its almost singular perfection. Sara’s and Jason’s dialogue ain’t a walk in the park as the subject is dense, heavy (just to use some physical-chemical adjectives), requires focus and moreover as someone much smarter than me said: G-d doesn’t roll the dice. The dialogue (di and no mono) get’s entangled in a superb manner. I wish the book had no end. Congrats for both for being inspired to a level of excellence and sharing their thoughts in a written (thus sharable) way.
Profile Image for Lisa.
18 reviews2 followers
January 22, 2020
Really enjoyed this book and underlined at least half of it. My only complaint is that it is extremely academic in nature—which is fine—but, as such, doesn’t provide tangible, practical, “in every day language” how to put these theories into practice. Being that this book has a focus on youth ministry, I would like to see a more practical guide from these authors.
148 reviews2 followers
September 28, 2020
This book was written by 2 professors from Northwestern College, Dr. Sara Sybesma Tolsma (biology) and Dr. Jason Lief (practical theology). The 8 chapters alternate between the biological discussion and the theological discussion.

Chapter 1: Making Connections: Science and Faith
This chapter starts with a common scenario where a science-minded Christian student struggles with what he hears in church about the age of the earth and evolution and what he is learning in school. He feels forced to choose between science and faith. Some important definitions are included and an introduction to the evidence for evolution.

Chapter 2: Baseball and Barth: Why Youth Ministry Needs Evolution
Chapter 2 uses several analogies and stories from baseball to talk about why youth ministry needs evolution. There are also references to Karl Barth and Franciscan theologian Ilia Delio and their approaches to creation. Most importantly, Jesus Christ is the primary lens for interpreting creation.

Chapter 3: Adam and Lucy: What Evolution Says about Being Human
Many people misunderstand evolution and think it means that people came from monkeys. This inaccurate understanding is corrected and Dr. Tolsma talks about what it means to be human through an analogy of how language changes over time.

Chapter 4: The Cross and Creation: Saint Francis, Evolution, and the Love of God
Sometimes there’s too big of a disconnect between the physical world and the spiritual world. This chapter draws them together, emphasizing that creation is an expression of God’s love.

Chapter 5: Tending in the Garden: What Evolution Says about Our Future
Touching on evolution and creation care, this chapter looks at how we live in and are a part of this physical world that God has asked us to govern. It also discusses race, racism, and genetics.

Chapter 6: Jesus Can Hit a Curve Ball: What It Means to Be Made in the Image of God
I’ve heard of several views on what does it mean for us to be made in the image of God. This book talks about how that looks from an evolutionary perspective framed by God’s love.

Chapter 7: When Darwin Wept: Redeeming Suffering and Death
Suffering and death are always difficult to discuss. This chapter looks at examples in nature and scripture where suffering and death has brought about new life and renewal.

Chapter 8: Embracing Our Animal: Youth Ministry in a Secular3 World
Looking at how culture has changed over time, Dr. Leif questions if some of the approaches in modern youth groups are obsolete and challenges youth leaders to go deeper and tackle the hard questions that need to be asked in order for this and future generations of young people to have the depth and insight to continue pledging allegiance to Jesus beyond the church walls.

I truly enjoyed this book and found the focus on Jesus Incarnate refreshing. I found chapter 7 a bit technical and felt that a few diagrams or pictures could have been helpful. I recommend the book and sure wish many youth pastors, including the ones at our church, would read it.
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