1. Preach a sermon on neurons, get to know a brain scientist in the process, and wait for her to send you an email saying, “Hey John, you should look at this cool science my husband does – Epigenetics!”
2. When you get the part of her email that says, “Scientists have irrefutably shown that Darwin wasn’t quite correct… your environment can change your genes, and these changes are heritable,” be reminded of that part of the second commandment that says, “…to the third and fourth generation of those who hate me, but showing love to a thousand generations of those who love me.”
3. Think, “hey, that’ll preach!”
4. Apply for a $30,000. grant from the John Templeton foundation to preach 5 sermons on faith and science and recieve grant monies to take the entire church to your city’s new science centre so that you can preach the epigenetics sermon there and then gift the congregation with time to explore the world of science for themselves.
5. Meet with the epigenetics scientist and a university science grad several times and go to school on them.
6. Take the risk and say, “As I’ve engaged the epigenetics text, this is the bible passage that comes to mind for me… what do you think?”
7. Hear the scientist excitedly say, “That would be perfect actually.”
8. Make plans to preach (and prepare) the sermon in two parts; 10 minutes on Epigenetics 101, and 25 minutes as a theological response.
9. Meet together the day before preaching and ‘preach each other’s part’ to each other. Get excited about the perfect fit. Assuage the scientist’s anxiety about being too sciency. Calm the pastor’s nerves about communicating the science correctly.
10. Show up at the science centre with a crowd that is twice the size of a normal Sunday service, and preach Christ; through the book of epigenetics and the book of the bible. Pray for epiphanies to happen.
(11. Postscript: And here’s how the message turned out – http://vimeo.com/35423943 )