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On November 1, I had an opportunity to speak with Mike McHargue. We discussed Mike’s latest book, “Finding God in the Waves: How I Lost My Faith And Found It Again Through Science”.
Mike McHargue (better known as Science Mike) is the best-selling author of Finding God in the Waves, host of Ask Science Mike and co-host of The Liturgists Podcast. He’s a leading voice on matters of science and religion with a monthly reach in the hundreds of thousands. Among other outlets, Mike has written for RELEVANT, Don Miller’s Storyline, BioLogos, and The Washington Post.
You can learn more about Mike at MikeMchargue.com.
“Finding God in the Waves” is a story of having faith, losing it, and finding it again through science-revealing how the latest in neuroscience, physics, and biology helps us understand God, faith, and ourselves.
I am excited to share some of our discussion.
Who is your book written for?
My book is written for doubters. However, I am finding that my book is appealing to Christians because it allows them to see how atheists feel. I am also finding my book is appealing to Atheists in that it helps them better understand Christians.
You mention in your book, “After praying, I decided to start a spreadsheet on which I could keep track of verses that seemed to hold contradictions.”
Do you ever look back at this list? How large was this list?
I had at least a thousand contradictory verses. I realized these same lists were online. I stopped duplicating my work. I have not looked at my lists recently. I am a lot more comfortable with the Bible the way it is.
You mention in your book, “If you’ve never studied astronomy, you may not realize that the sky is a time machine.” I love your analogy.
Space is vast. We cannot look back earlier than 380,000 years after the birth of the universe. When we look into the sky we see things that no longer exist.
Explain to me what it means when we say the universe is expanding.
The universe is expanding. The space between galaxies is expanding. The shape of the universe is flat and expanding forever. Suppose you are making raison bread. The bread is the universe and the raisons are the galaxies. As the bread rises, the space between the raisons increases.
You mention, “Our churches will never be healthy as long as those experiencing doubt feel they have to hide”. How do we change this?
They must pass the ‘knock’ test. We must remove the fences. The barriers of exclusion must be knocked down. We can’t push people away.
Mike, you mention the following mystical experiences:
“I was here when you were eight, and I’m here now.”
“I felt God with me, in me and through me.”
“Through God I felt connected to everyone else, all of humanity. And then to all of life on earth.”
What do you say to those who have never had a mystical experience? Why do some people have them and some do not? What is mystic?
A mystic is not out of bounds in science. Science does not rule it out. Science supports that some people have a natural pre-disposition to mysticism through practice. Anyone can increase their propensity to have mystical experiences through a practice such as centering prayer.
A mystic is someone who believes God can be experienced but not defined through languages. A mystic is someone who sits with God. No words are spoken. They simply sit with the experience and let it change them.
How do you pray? What forms of prayer do you practice?
I mostly practice centering prayer. I have been practicing centering prayer for 4 years. I practice Lectio Divina on a daily basis. I practice Ignatian spirituality where I place myself in the Scripture. I do practice intercessory prayer from time to time.
I believe in the Trinity. God is the source of all. God is unchanging. God is Being itself. Christ is the incarnate part of the Trinity that draws people to God. Christ is not Jesus’ last name. Christ issues the open invitation. The Holy Spirit dwells within. The Trinity is the ground of my faith.
Christ/Holy Spirit are enmeshed in our reality. They are personal and with us but also a great mystery. Scripture paints this picture
You mention, “As humans we experience space-time as a series of moments, with some in the past, some in the future and one special, fleeting moment called now. God’s perspective has to encompass space-time not as a series of moments, as we see them but as an interconnected set of coordinates that always exists.”
What do you mean by this?
God’s perspective must be so different. It can hardly be called a perspective. We see sequentially. The universe is not sequential. It does not seem to operate in this manner. God is timeless.
You mention, “Science gives us facts. Faith gives us meaning.”
How do you suggest people use faith and science together?
I let science win the fact arguments. But faith gives me meaning. Faith is the glue that holds it all together. Faith gives me a sense of belonging. It gives me hope. Love is the basic reality of our existence because God is love. We find God through love.
What might your next book cover?
It will be a look at what Paul said through the lens of neuroscience.
Thank you so much for talking with me today! Thank you for the great work you do!
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I am currently taking on clients for Centering Prayer One on One Coaching sessions. I am happy to setup weekly, bi-weekly or monthly sessions with you over the phone or skype to help you go deeper into your centering prayer practice and integrate it into your daily life. Contact me for more information. The first session is 1/2 off.
I am currently reading The Wisdom Jesus: Transforming Heart and Mind – a New Perspective on Christ and His Message by Cynthia Bourgeault and Contemplative Living: An Invitation to a Deepening Journey by .
The Way of the Wisdom Jesus: Going Beyond the Mind to the Heart of His Teaching – If you put aside what you think you know about Jesus and approach the Gospels as though for the first time, something remarkable happens: Jesus emerges as a teacher of the transformation of consciousness. In this online course, Episcopal priest, teacher, and retreat and conference leader Cynthia Bourgeault serves as a masterful guide to Jesus’s vision and to the traditional contemplative practices you can use to experience the heart of his teaching for yourself.
Our friends at Contemplative Light are offering Contemplative Practices. This course examines in-depth traditional practices of the Christian mystics, including: The Examen, Centering Prayer, Lectio Divina, The Jesus Prayer and Christian Meditation.
Prepare to be immersed in the 1st Century A.D. context of the life, work, teachings, and actions of Jesus. Check out Simply Jesus by N. T. Wright. It is based on his book Simply Jesus. Enjoy an article I wrote about one of the lectures on the Beatitudes.
This course is a short course based on Prof. N.T. Wright’s latest book, Simply Good News. Tom Wright will guide you through the chapters of his book through videos that suggest what some of the main points are. You will instantly get into the heart of the idea of ‘good news’ as it was understood by the 1st Century writers of the New Testament. You will be brought into their world in order to make more sense of what ‘good news’ means in our world.
Try Audible and Get Two Free Audiobooks – This is a great way to listen to books with your cell phone while you drive, walk or relax at home. I frequently listen in my car during my commute to and from work. I’m a proud affiliate.
David Frenette’s book The Path of Centering Prayer reenergized the Centering Prayer tradition with its fresh insights and teachings. Centering Prayer Meditations: Effortless Contemplation to Deepen Your Experience of God is a wonderful companion audio program created to be equally rewarding as a stand-alone guide – gives listeners an immersive resource to learn contemplative prayer, step by step and in the moment. With clarity and compassionate presence, Frenette explains the essential principles of this contemplative practice for both new and seasoned practitioners.
Centering Prayer is a silent prayer practice that can move you toward a profound relationship with the Spirit of God within. It is a way of praying that opens the door to the Divine Indwelling—the ground of our being. With Centering Prayer, Father Thomas Keating and his colleagues Gail Fitzpatrick-Hopler and Father Carl Arico present the first online course in this method for deepening your intimacy with God and ultimately consenting to the presence and action of the Divine in all aspects of your life.
Since the time of the Desert Fathers in the third century, Finley begins, Christian mystics have practiced meditation as a way of opening to the direct presence of God in daily life. Legendary seekers such as Saint John of the Cross, Saint Teresa of Avila, and Meister Eckhart explored how meditation can lead us beyond the closed horizon of the ego, to an interior and holy refuge that is always available to us. On Christian Meditation, James Finley offers a gentle introduction to this all-transforming way of life, and the ever-deepening realization of oneness with Christ it leads us to. (Based upon his book, Christian Meditation.)