Non-academic ASA'ers

Joseph Carson (73530.2350@CompuServe.COM)
11 Jun 97 18:52:09 EDT

June 9, 1997

Dr. Don Munro, Executive Director,
Executive Board and Members,

Dear Colleagues in ASA,

ASA has made and continues to make a signal contribution to the Church. Just
as Darwin made the possibility of "intellectually justifiable atheism" real
for many, ASA has, directly and indirectly, helped LARGE [enormous] numbers of
Christians realize (and be strengthen by the knowledge) that Christianity is
an "intellectually justifiable faith."

We now, however, have come into a time when "truth" along with principle of
"scientific" proofs and disproofs have been called into question. "True for
you, but not for me" is representative of today's post-modern intellectual
climate, a far cry from that prevalent in 1941 when ASA was established.

In our day, a challenging question to the Christian community from a
skeptical world is "Show me something real." We need now to rise to meet this
challenge as we can and should. If we are to do so, in a world of 6 billion
people, widespread weapons of mass destruction, instant communications, and a
threatened environment, ASA, though the leadership of Don Munro and the
Executive Board with the support and cooperation of the ASA staff and members,
needs to change its self-concept and culture. Specifically, we will have to
see our organization as both a Christian Professional Society and a Christian
Academic Society, with the one not denying the other. Scholarship continues
to be important in this world. However, practice and profession has emerged
as critically vital for us in the ASA. We both need to continue our work at
integration of scholarly activities and Christian belief while we deliberately
address the integration of professional activities with a Christian worldview.

This is for me, a Professional Engineer (P.E.) whose career has involved
various aspects of nuclear technology, which (in various aspects) now
undergirds much of our modern technological society, particularly apparent.

Here are some specific observations and recommendations:

1. The under-representation of non-academic professionals can be addressed
by a specific recruitment program for membership in that category. A
strategy for recruitment of these members needs to be developed in
parallel with efforts now being made for PhD academics and students in
the PhD pipeline.

2. The annual conference needs to have significant program elements that
are attractive to and which serve the interests of the non-academic
professionals including the challenges they are facing as Christian
practioners in a rapidly changing and challenging world.

3. ASA has to develop substantial relationships with Christian professional
societies much as it has with Christian scholarly societies.

4. The ASA mission statement needs to include a "salt, light and leaven"
role for its members in their workplaces and larger professions.

5. The ASA mission statement or other document should call for ethical,
competent and accountable professonal performance on the part of its

6. Positive action needs to be taken to achieve greater participation for
non-academic members of ASA as Fellows and on the Executive Council.

7. Some heuristic questions that can help include these:

a. Why "should" an eligible Christian professional join ASA?

b. How should the larger Church encourage eligible people to join ASA?

c. How should ASA interact with other Christian Professional and
Academic Societies?

d. How should ASA interact with secular Professional and Academic
Societies, particularly ones to which many ASA members belong?

ASA is the major existing Christian academic and professional society.
As such, it should have significant influence on this country's and the
world's spiritual, professional, and academic endeavors.

I hope the upcoming Annual ASA Meeting allows opportunity for the ASA Board,
staff, and members to consider these suggestions.

May God's wisdom and sovereignity shine forth in ASA as we seek to fulfill its
vital mission in God's economy.

Your coworker in His creation,

Joseph Carson, P.E.
10953 Twin Harbour Drive
Knoxville, TN. 37922
423/966-1675 fax