Six weeks away and reviews are coming in!

Six weeks away and reviews are coming in!

Baby Dinosaurs on the Ark? The Bible and Modern Science and the Trouble of Making It All Fit releases in less than six weeks!

Read below for reviews from Sean Palmer, Andrew Root, Don McLaughlin, Jon Walton, Karl Giberson, and Deborah Haraasma:

“It’s often unwise to judge a book by its title, yet this is the rare case when you should do just this.  Baby Dinosaurs on the Ark? is an intriguing title completely backed up with an even more intriguing book.  Janet Kellogg Ray blends storytelling, biology, and biblical reflection to offer a very helpful, engaging, and important book.  All pastors, parents, and young adults will find this book an essential resource in understanding faith and science and a way to faithful embrace them both.”

Andrew Root, author of The Congregation in a Secular Age and Exploding Star, Dead Dinosaurs and Zombies: Youth Ministry in an Age of Science

“Janet Kellogg Ray combines transformative faith in God with a gritty commitment to science. Baby Dinosaurs on the Ark? opens new possibilities for bridge-building between the truth of faith and the facts of science. If you are tired of clumsy science and combative religion, Ray is the conversation partner you have been looking for! This book is for anyone who seeks truth wherever truth may be found.”

Don McLaughlin, senior minister, North Atlanta Church of Christ, author of Love First: Ending Hate before It’s Too Late

“My wife, like Janet Kellogg Ray, is a science teacher. Her students and colleagues know she is married to a pastor. Each year, like clockwork, a student or fellow teacher asks her about the intersection of science and faith. Their assumption is that her allegiances lie with one faith or science, that she couldn’t hold them both appropriately. Science and faith are in a dance together, and Janet Kellogg Ray’s, Baby Dinosaurs on the Ark, helps those of us with questions about the interplay of faith and science articulate and understand our faith better. Here you will discover more of what (and some of how) God is up to in the world, how faith and science testify to one another, but even more so testify the beauty of our Creator.”

Sean Palmer, Author Unarmed Empire: In Search of Beloved Community and 40 Days of Being a Three (Enneagram Daily Reflections) andTeaching Pastor, Ecclesia Houston

“This is a well-written, insightful, and accessible book with pitch-perfect and well-balanced tone. I couldn’t help but to be drawn into the stories that punctuated the treatment.”

John H. Walton, author of The Lost World of Genesis One and professor of Old Testament at Wheaton College

“Janet Ray’s Baby Dinosaurs on the Ark?  is a deeply personal, scientifically informed, and valuable contribution to our troubled conversation on evolution. Readers will appreciate the engaging and often humorous anecdotes.  The book deserves a broad readership.”

Karl Giberson, author of The Language of Science and Faith, Saving Darwin, and others.

(from the foreword) “If you are . . . wondering if there is any way that Christian faith and evidence-based science can work together, Janet Kellogg Ray is an able guide. She is a biology teacher and a Christ-follower who invites you to walk alongside her in her journey and provides an engaging overview of the views, evidence, and arguments on origins science.”
Deborah Haarsma, President of BioLogos

(If you missed reviews from Jared Byas, Dennis Venema, Ken Cukrowski, and Thomas J. Oord, see July 15 post “A Blaggblurp-blurb on the Road to Publishing”)


A Blaggblurp-blurb on the Road to Publishing

“BLORK”

“BLuuRF”

Believe it or not, these are lines from a #1 New York Times Bestselling children’s picture book! The Book With No Pictures, written by B. J. Novak (of “The Office” fame), requires the (presumably) adult reader to read nonsense words in a monkey voice or a robot voice and say things like “boo boo butt”, while the kids rollick in the hilarity of it all. 

So, BLURB!! (said in my best monkey-robot voice!)

One of the final steps in the long, long, LONG road to book publishing is collecting “blurbs”. Blurbs are short quotes about the book and are usually printed on the back cover or sometimes just inside the front cover. A publisher asks noted authors and experts to read and review a soon-to-be-released copy of a new book, and these become the book’s “blurbs”. 

Baby Dinosaurs on the Ark was read and blurbed by an amazing group of scientists, theologians, and pastors. It is a surreal experience to read about my book in the words of people I read, respect, and follow!

Here are a few of the blurbs for Baby Dinos:

“Ray writes with candid humor, a pastoral spirit, and engaging, accessible science. This book deserves to be widely read, especially if you’re not sure that evolution and robust faith can go together.” 

 -Dennis Venema, Ph.D.

Professor of biology at Trinity Western University in Langley, British Columbia; author of Adam and the Genome: Reading Scripture After Genetic Science

“Too much Christian opinion on science has been uninformed and unhelpful. In Baby Dinosaurs on the Ark? Dr. Ray gives us a down-to-earth, yet thorough, introduction for how science works and how necessary it is to shake off unhelpful and untrue assumptions about the Bible. If anyone asks why you accept the science of evolution as a Christian-feel free to simply pass them a copy of this book.”

 -Jared Byas, co-author of Genesis for Normal People and co-host of the podcast The Bible for Normal People 

“What a delight to read! With an engaging style and a keen mind, Ray navigates the landscape between the false binary that so many Christians face: reject science or reject God. A trustworthy guide, Ray explores the various positions with intellectual honesty and civility; rare is the author who can explain this complex topic in such a clear and compelling way. If you are looking for a resource that equips you both to embrace the findings of science and to embody a deep faith, this is the book for you.”

-Ken Cukrowski, Ph.D., Dean of the College of Biblical Studies, Abilene Christian University

“This is the most cleverly written and yet profound book I’ve read in some time. I love it! Ray makes complex and deep issues accessible. She answers questions about science and contemporary debates. I plan to give copies to friends trying to make sense of evolution and Christian faith.”-Thomas Jay Oord, Ph.D., author of The Uncontrolling Love of God and other books

Watch for more blurbs to come!

Releases September 9

Finding My Audience

Finding My Audience

Representative Mary Bentley of Arkansas wants to party like it’s 1986. 

That’s the last year creationism could be legally taught in public schools in the United States. The following year, the Supreme Court ruled that creationism is a religious construct, and as such, it could not be taught (as science) in public schools.

Bentley recently introduced a bill in the Arkansas House which allows creationism to be taught as science in Arkansas public schools. The bill passed in the House and is headed to the Senate for a vote. If the bill is successful there, it heads to the governor’s desk. 

According to Bentley, Arkansas teachers are pushing for the right to teach creationism as science in the public classroom.

“Scientists have been on both sides of the issue for thousands of years,” Bentley said, noting that Isaac Newton and Galileo* believed in “God and biblical creation.” (*As residents of the 17th century, they probably also believed in the science of bloodletting to cure disease.)

Creationism can legally be discussed in philosophy class.

Creationism can be discussed in a comparative religions class.

Creationism can even be discussed in a history or social studies class.

We just can’t (legally) teach creationism as science in science class. 

People know I teach biology in university and they know I love dinosaurs and they know I wrote a book and they know I am a Christian, so casual questions over dinner are inevitable. Usually there’s little-to-no preamble. 

Often, it’s just straight to the point. 

While recently at dinner with a friend, she laid this one out on the table, where it sat like an awkward frog:

“SO THIS BOOK. What about cavemen? What about dinosaurs?”

We all do this when we’re curious about a topic about which we know very little. If I wanted to join a conversation about the nuances of a fancy dish in fancy chef-terms, my contribution would probably be a Tarzan-esque “me like food”.

And it would sit there on the table, my own personal awkward frog. 

When I was pitching “Baby Dinosaurs on the Ark?” to editors and agents, I was always asked about the potential audience for the book. Some wanted a few sentences; some wanted a page:

Who would want to read this book? What are the benefits for readers?

I know I love it, but why would anyone else?

Here’s my elevator pitch:

Baby Dinosaurs builds a vocabulary to voice concerns and questions about science and faith. Baby Dinosaurs makes room for (sometimes discouraged) questions. Baby Dinosaurs is for readers who dare to form a faith that doesn’t ignore the questions.

Baby Dinosaurs isn’t just for the convinced. 

I hope you read it, even if you come away disagreeing with me.