Faculty Stories

Dr. Rodolfo R. Nolasco Jr. to Participate in the 2020 Summer Faculty Enrichment Retreat with the American Association for the Advancement of Science

Dr. Rolf Nolasco

Dr. Rodolfo R. Nolasco Jr., professor of pastoral theology at Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary, has been selected to attend the 2020 Summer Faculty Enrichment Retreat with the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) Dialogue on Science, Ethics, and Religion program. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the retreat will be held via Zoom August 10-13, 2020.

Established in 1995, the Dialogue on Science, Ethics, and Religion (DoSER) has sought to facilitate communication between scientific and religious communities. DoSER builds on AAAS’s long-standing commitment to relate scientific knowledge and technological development to the purposes and concerns of society at large. Among a number of events DoSER holds annually is the Faculty Enrichment Retreat. These retreats seek to introduce leading-edge scientific developments and methods for incorporating science into classrooms to better equip seminary students to enhance the role of science in their future congregations.

Reflecting upon the opportunity to attend the 2020 Summer Faculty Enrichment Retreat, Nolasco said, “The mission of Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary is to prepare skilled, bold, and articulate leaders who share the transforming love of Jesus Christ. One of the ways to accomplish this is to train students to see themselves and others as whole beings ­­– brain and mind, body, and spirit – so they can participate more fully in the transformation of persons and communities.”

Nolasco went on to say, “Integral to our student’s call is caring for oneself and others throughout life’s vicissitudes. This requires teaching in and learning from the field of brain science, particularly the pivotal role of the brain in mediating all domains of human experience. Being selected to participate in this faculty enrichment will help deepen my understanding of and appreciation for the emerging scientific and practical knowledge on neuroscience, which I incorporate more fully in my scholarship, teaching, and activism.”

Nolasco is an experienced professor, trained in pastoral and counseling psychology, mindfulness and contemplative spirituality, and affective neuroscience. He is also a psychotherapist, published author, and has vast experience in cross-cultural communications from living and working across the world within varying social and cultural backgrounds. In 2019 he was awarded Exemplary Teacher by the General Board of Higher Education and Ministry of The United Methodist Church and he was also awarded a 2020 Project Grant Research from the Louisville Institute.

He is the author of The Contemplative Counselor: A Way of Being (Fortress Press, 2011) and Compassionate Presence: A Radical Response to Human Suffering (Cascade Books, 2016), which seeks to affirm compassion as the pulsating heartbeat of Christian theology and praxis through the hermeneutical perspectives of brain science, psychology, and practical theology. His latest book is God’s Beloved Queer (Wipf and Stock, 2019). Nolasco is also currently working on a new book, Depression, Dark Night of the Soul, and Joy (Cascade Books, 2020).

The American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) is the world’s largest general scientific society and publisher of the Science family of journals. Building upon its mission to “advance science and serve society,” AAAS established the Dialogue on Science, Ethics, and Religion (DoSER) program in 1995 to facilitate communication between scientific and religious communities. DoSER builds this dialogue through initiatives such as the Science for Seminaries project. The project helps a diverse group of seminaries integrate science into their core curricula and provides support and resources to seminary professors to encourage informed dialogue and a positive understanding of science among future religious leaders. For the latest information and news about AAAS DoSER and the Science for Seminaries Project, visit AAAS.org/DoSER and ScienceforSeminaries.org.

Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary, a graduate school of theology related to The United Methodist Church, was founded in 1853. Located on the campus of Northwestern University, the seminary serves more than 450 students from various denominations and cultural backgrounds, fostering an atmosphere of ecumenical interaction. Garrett-Evangelical creates bold leaders through master of divinity, master of arts, master of theological studies, doctor of philosophy, and doctor of ministry degrees. Its 4,500 living alumni serve church and society around the world.