Balaam’s Ass Workshops

How is it that Presbyterians or Christians generally see the relationship between science and religion? As one of conflict, separation, dialogue, or something else? What have we learned about God’s creating in the past 350 years and what difference does our understanding of creation make for our worship, education, and mission as congregations.

These are the questions explored in a daylong workshop that PASTCF provides for laity and/or clergy. The subtitle of the workshop is, “The Heavens Are Declaring But Are We Listening?” The workshop’s registration fee is $10 for PASTCF members, $30 for non-members, and $15 for students. Non-member participants receive a complimentary one-year membership in PASTCF.

If your congregation or presbytery would like to host a workshop, PASTCF will provide leadership and materials as well as assistance with publicity. The host is asked to provide the location for the workshop, audio/visual support (an LCD projector and screen), lunch ($10 of the registration fee goes to the host for this purpose), and assistance publicizing the event.

For more information or to schedule a workshop, contact Jim Miller, PASTCF president. A brief bio is included at the bottom of this page.


This day-long workshop, hosted by one or more congregations or a pesbytery, is a comprehensive introduction to the relationship between contemporary science and technology and the life and work of the local church.  There is a registration fee.  PASTCF covers the cost of leadership and materials for the workshop.  The host congregation(s) or presbytery receive a portion of the registration fee to cover the cost of lunch.  Participants in the workshop receive a one-year complementary membership in PASTCF.


The following presentations are available in a variety of formats (e.g., Friday evening, Saturday morning). The host congregation or presbytery covers travel expenses. 

  • single session
    • “At the Banks of the River Jordan:  The Challenges of the 21st Century for the Presbyterian Church (USA)”
    • “Christian Theological Naturalism:  God Without the Supernatural”
    • “Darwin and Christ:  Evolution as Incarnation”
    • “Presbyterians and Evolution:  Lessons from the Case of James Woodrow”
  • two session
    • “Singing the Lord’s Song in a Strange Land:  Journey Toward a Land We Know Not Of, Faithful Living Toward the Future”
    • “Intelligent Design:  Bad Science, Bad Theology”

biographical sketch

Jim Miller is an honorably retired ordained minister in the Presbyterian Church (USA) with an MDiv from Union Presbyterian Seminary in Virginia and a Ph.D. from Marquette University. He has served as an ecumenical campus minister at Michigan Technological University, the University of Pittsburgh, and Carnegie Mellon University.  Immediately following seminary, Jim worked for five years in the School of Engineering at North Carolina State University. From 1996-2006 he was the Senior Program Associate for the Program of Dialogue on Science, Ethics, and Religion of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS). Since 2008 he has served as co-chair of the interfaith Broader Social Impact Committee of the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History Human Origins Program. He is the editor or co-editor of five books, most recently The Evolution Dialogues (2006).  Jim has served as an elected officer or volunteer staff for PASTCF since its establishment in 1992.