An Ecclesiastical Peculiar

Hello!

My name is Lucas Mix, and I am an Episcopal priest, author, and martial artist. Currently, I work as a writer and speaker on biology and Christianity.  I spent last year at the Center of Theological Inquiry in Princeton, NJ. Our research topic was societal implications of astrobiology (the study of origins, extent, and diversity of life in space).  You can find out more about astrobiology at the NASA Astrobiology website. My continuing research explores historical and contemporary “life-concepts” – what work do we want to do in biology, theology, law, medicine, ethics, etc. What’s at stake in defining life?

In my life, I’ve done a little of everything; I’ve been a preacher, a pastor, a scientist, a technician, a teacher, and an athlete.  This blog is an attempt to bring all of that together into some meaningful whole. For context, I have a doctorate in evolutionary biology from Harvard and a masters in divinity from the Church Divinity School of the Pacific.  My first book, Life in Space: Astrobiology for Everyone came out in March 2009 and talks about what we know from science about the history of life in the universe. It also deals with some the philosophical foundations and implications of astrobiology. My most recent book, Thinking Fair: Rules for Reason in Science and Religion explores how we think critically in science, in religion, and in putting the pieces together to understand the world we inhabit. It also suggests ways to be mindful about shaping our own knowledge and beliefs.

I am currently an “independent scholar” and a member of the Ronin Institute, which facilitates quality research outside the regular institutional boundaries of department and university.

I’m also an instructor at Enso Center for International Arts, a non-profit arts organization that specializes in martial, fine, and healing arts. I have a deep love of Hapkido (the Korean art of balance taking).

Please check out the pages below and some of my other materials to find out more about science, religion, and my perspective on life:

  1. Mindfulness and community around serving in religion and science through the Society of Ordained Scientists
  2. Discussions on life and death across disciplines at Harvard and MIT 2013-2015
  3. Discussions on religion and evolutionary biology at the University of Arizona 2010-13
  4. My poetry: Species of Love

Thank you for visiting and may all the blessings of joy, peace, and purpose find you.

Oddly Enough,

Lucas

PS. Traditionally, an ecclesiastical peculiar was a church outside the normal diocesan structure. An academic peculiar belonged to the university rather than the diocese. A royal peculiar belonged to the king. Trying to straddle the divide between academia and religion, between faith and science, I’ve always liked the phrase.

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Responses

  1. …and thank you!!!

  2. Cool blog, I hadn’t noticed dacalu.wordpress.com earlier during my searches!
    Carry on the superb work!

  3. Hi Lucas!

    Fantastic sermon on Sunday at St. Marks. I was the first one that ID’d myself as yet another “not normal” Christian 🙂 You spoke truth to the heart Sunday and I was gearing up to get internally self defiant when I saw the readings that were chosen. You took both readings of Elija and Peter and turned them into a logical way of thinking about the process. I too am a scientist, in fact, I have just finished taking the MCAT and I will “hopefully” be attending a medical school in the fall of 2012. I’m considered a “non traditional” student due to my age. But I guess I am that way in other facets in my life.
    I have been an Episcopalian for as long as I can remember and have never had anyone lay it down like you did on Sunday. Thank you for helping me get over my hold up on talking about how I am a Christian. I just finished reading a book “If Grace is True” by Phillip Gulley that coincided with some of what you said in a way as well.
    I have been feeling guilty for over analyzing and the logic wasn’t working out and the way you described perception of an event helped my focus. Thank you again! Kathy

  4. Lucas:
    I enjoyed browsing your blog and reading excerpts of your sermons. I plan to eventually spend more time in your sermon “Archives” and perhaps put links on my website (projectworldview.org) to selected ones. My daughter Keziah worked with you at Harvard and has repeatedly told me I should contact you–thus this communication. I invite you to check out the Project Worldview website. After years of pretty much doing my own thing in maintaining and expanding it, I’m finally seeking input from others and considering partnering with other organizations and individuals. Some of this is driven by ideas for future development that definitely require more than my own talents. Given your background and religious beliefs (seems you both parallel and complement me in this regard–at least my daughter thinks so), you’ve landed on my list of those I’m soliciting input from. I’m especially interested in your reaction to the worldview characterization and analysis structure on the website (from the home page, click on either “Go Directly To the Reality Marketplace Map” or “Wiki Worldview Themes”). Note: If there are sermons that you feel deserve a link on webpages of particular worldview themes there, please let me know!) If you explore the website more, you’ll find the blog I write: Worldview Watch, which often gets into issues at the interface of science and religion. And given your astrobiology and evolutionary biology interest, you might enjoy my recent chapter contributions (to books published by Springer Science): “SETI: Assessing Imaginative Proposals” and “Imagining a Theory of Everything for Adaptive Systems”. To find them, from the homepage click on “Links to Scholarly Papers Related to Worldviews”. I look forward to hearing from you.
    Best, Steve
    PS: Living in New Mexico I feel like we’re neighbors!

  5. just saw you will be speaking at our St Philips

    As trustee Center of Theological Inquiry Princeton NJ and former astrophysicist (on Univ Chicago visiting committee) I am awed by your journey thus far and hope to connect on Sunday

    As Harvard physics graduate I was member Committee for University Resources COUR

  6. Thanks. Delighted to have found your thoughtful work. Very much in favour of ‘Peculiars’! Looking forward to engaging with your arguments. Regards from Thom at the immortal jukebox (plugged in and ready to play).

  7. Just spent hours reading your thoughts. Very interesting stuff.

    I do have a question that in reality reflects struggles and questions that I had in my past.

    In all of the material of yours that I have read so far, I have not seen any indication that the existence of God is in question in your mind. It is simple assumed without a second thought whether God is real or not.

    I did read the blog where you state that Christianity informs your world view, so this isn’t a surprise, but having gone through a deconversion myself, I was wondering if you have ever had the opportunity to experience a different world view from a lens in which God/Jesus are mythological.

    • Dear Scott,
      I’m glad you enjoyed the work. I’m not sure we use “myth” in the same way, so let me say that I have considered whether God and/or Jesus are fictional at several times in my life. I also set aside one day a year to meditate on how I would live differently, if I did not believe in/have a relationship with God. So I take the question quite seriously. I would likely be Tibetan Buddhist, which strikes me as much more rational. Having said that, God is an experience in my life that I need to integrate with sight, sound, etc. Much as are the people in my life, including you. It would be very hard for me to construct a rational or functional worldview that did not incorporate God as a presence and an actor. Wishing you all the best.

      Oddly Enough,
      Lucas

  8. […] area parish. You can find out more about his research into theological biology at his website here. His work in martial arts has been with Enso Center for International Arts in Redmond, […]


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