I recently received the book, If Darwin Pray to review for the Speak Easy blog network. I was unfamiliar with the book and was excited to read something out of the recent main-stay big publisher works.
Can/will evolution ever be conclusively proved or disproved? Probably not. While evolution is almost exclusively upheld in the science community, the community at-large accepts the theory in much smaller numbers (39% of Americans and 59% of Canadians cited by Sanguin) will there ever be a definitive discovery to prove to everyone the truth or falsity of evolution? Probably not. That being the case, Sanguin seeks to move forward in exploring implications the theory of evolution can have on theology. After all, the world is evolving – there’s no denying that (what’s up for discussion is the origins of the world, etc. – that can be discussed ad nauseum with little practical benefit).
“Book” is a little bit of a misnomer as what Sanguin really offer here is a liturgical collection of prayers and readings seeking to offer liturgical reflection rooted in evolutionary insights. Outlined in the early pages is Sanguin’s belief that theology has been too slow to embrace the theological implications of Darwin’s evolutionary findings.
While the introduction and preface may scare away fundamentalist sympathizers, the content of the prayers and readings are a valuable contribution to contemporary liturgy and offers a helpful and practical offering that can infuse any worship assembly with well-written and solidly-theological reflections. Sanguin ends the preface with the poetic offering also named “If Darwin Prayed.” It is a creative reflection on the father of evolutionary thought – a Christian, remember – and opens the book with thoughtful humility in an area that’s only beginning to be appreciated theologically.
I can recommend this book as a helpful resource for churches, worship leaders, and anyone looking for some unique prayers to reflect on in their own personal time of spiritual formation.