[Below is a modified excerpt from Faculty Roundtable founder, Dave Thom, who uses the metaphor of a cup of coffee to describe what our roundtables are all about.]
The Providence Roundtable energizes and equips subsets faculty and grad-students at Brown University and the greater Providence area to engage in exploring the intersections of science, religion, and society.
- The cup: Science and technology’s titans are increasingly being turned to for cultural and ethical leadership as if broadly accessible norms of understanding come exclusively from science, rational argument, and natural intuition, and that any common grounds with religious leadership in any crucial area of shared concern is entirely coincidental.
- The coffee: Providence Roundtables convene science and technology faculty with colleagues in every academic discipline and with a variety of religious leaders. Roundtable evenings are sponsored by chairpersons dedicated to fostering hospitality-guided dialogue that explores the intersections of science, faith, and philosophy, net-working these cultural and ethical leaders together.
- The cream: Roundtable participants commonly concur in written reviews that thoughtful theological thinking shared at The Roundtable actually includes the importance of experience and experimentation examined alongside text, tradition, rationality, and intuition. Though such forums could be “part and parcel” to all civic and social platforms, those aware of the Providence Roundtable model concur that none exist anywhere except in the several similar regional forums that we have since founded.
- The clincher: Providence area professors are the majority of our guests at each Roundtable, experiencing an exchange with the potential to bring added depth to their lives as scholars and as educators. In an informal exchange of personal and professional insights and experiences, the table is set for a remarkable reflection space that is available in virtually no other venue. Lasting reflections impress teaching, research, writing and relationships with students, colleagues, and the world at large.