Last week, one of our teachers took part in in the filming of a documentary at the Dominion Astrophysical Observatory. The documentary is being produced by Iwan Russell-Jones, a professor at Regent College. Regent College, which is located on UBC’s Vancouver campus, is a graduate school of Theology where “vibrant evangelical faith meets rigorous academics” (http://www.regent-college.edu/). Mr. Teel’s invitation to be part of this documentary was a reminder of the incredible blessing it is for PCS to have a teacher who is considered a Canadian expert on Christianity and science. Mr. Teel (or, officially Dr. Teel, as he completed his PhD in Philosophy in 2011) has taught Mathematics and Christian Studies at the secondary school since 1993. He has a great way of connecting with students, helping them to think deeply, to make connections, and to just thoroughly enjoy the learning process.
We asked Mr. Teel a few questions about how he came to be invited to be part of this Regent-produced documentary:
Q: What is your connection to Regent College?
A: Since 2005, I’ve been an invited lecturer on theology and science at Regent College. My lectures have been part of Regent’s award-winning course, “Christian Thought and Culture.” It’s been a humbling privilege to have been part of every Regent College student’s education for over a decade! Some of those lectures are available here: https://www.regentaudio.com/collections/all/paul-teel
For the three summers of 2009–11, I was on the faculty of Regent College’s “Pastoral Science” program. As described in this article (http://world.regent-college.edu/leading-ideas/why-science-matters), the program was founded on the premise that scientific understanding can foster Christian growth. Science and theology are not opposed; rather, creation is best understood through learning from both God’s word and God’s world. The program was designed to equip pastors and other church leaders to think and teach carefully and holistically about science.
I continue to be involved at Regent College in the “Christian Thought and Culture” course, as well as occasionally serving as a respondent for guest lecturers. The role of a respondent is to pose questions that help to clarify ideas and spur discussion. This structure takes seriously Regent College’s role as a place where “vibrant evangelical faith meets rigorous academics,” as such exchanges serve to strengthen both our thinking and our faith.
Q: Are there other places in which you have been called on to contribute to the conversation between Christianity and science?
A: In 2012, I was contacted by the magazine Faith Today and asked to write an article helping Christians to think about Christianity and science. The specific reason for the request was the announcement of the discovery of the Higgs boson, which is sometimes given the confusing and possibly offensive nickname ‘the God particle.’ That article is here: http://digital.faithtoday.ca/faithtoday/20130102/?pg=38#pg38
For five years, I was a Fellow and researcher at UVic’s Centre for Studies in Religion and Society, one of Canada’s top research centres for issues involving religion. While there, I gave two public lectures on Christianity and science, and also helped to host a lecture series by Sir John Polkinghorne of the UK, one of the world’s most prolific authors on the relationship between Christianity and science. I even got to have dinner and conversation with Sir John!
Q: What next? Do you have any projects on the horizon?
A: In addition to continuing to teach full time at PCS where a lot of the ‘outside’ topics and stories become part of our classroom experience, I am (slowly!) working on a book manuscript. My hope for the book is to continue helping Christians to think more positively about how science and our Christian faith can be celebrated together.
I firmly believe that all truth is God’s truth, and that fearless but worshipful exploration is an important part of creating a robust and vigorous Christian worldview. I am truly grateful to the PCS community for supporting and joining me on this journey.