Christians in Science and Technology Give Thanks

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At Purpose Nation, we are thankful to our God, to our families and to all of you -- our supporters!

Since we launched the Purpose Nation Podcast in August, thanks to your interest and support, episodes of the Podcast have been played nearly 30,000 times! We are also very thankful for our Podcast guests, including nine of them who sent along their own messages of thanks below (in alphabetical order by last name).  We asked them what they are most thankful for in their careers and personal lives. Thank you again all for your support and enjoy the messages below.

Have a happy and safe Thanksgiving!

- Brad and Lisa Cooper, Co-Founders

Stephen Barr, PhD, Professor of Physics and Astronomy, University of Delaware (Podcast Episode #12)

"I have to say, fundamentally, the thing I'm most grateful for is that I exist at all. I mean God is the source of being. He is the Creator of all things. Everything we have, our very existence, our minds, our bodies, everything, our senses, our faculties of reason, our ability to see and smell and hear everything and our intelligence and skills everything is a gift from God.

And so I'm grateful for everything. I really can't pick one thing out and say I'm grateful just for that because I'm grateful for the whole thing. I wouldn't exist at all unless it were God's creative power. And of course for the gift of faith. I suppose if there's one other than the fact that I exist at all it's for the gift of faith."

- An excerpt from our Podcast #12 interview

Gerald Cleaver, Professor and Graduate Program Director, Baylor University (Podcast Episode Coming Soon)

"[I am thankful for] ...the opportunities we encounter, not just the science part, but I think our opportunities with family. I think the human side always goes beyond the science side. I am most thankful for family and friends."

- Excerpt from an upcoming Podcast episode, stay tuned!

Michael Dennin, PhD, University of Irvine Professor of Physics and Astronomy, Dean of Undergraduate Division and Vice Provost for Teaching & Learning (Podcast Episode #10)

"I am most thankful for God’s gift of awareness and openness to new things. Most of my interesting work came out of trying something new and noticing the surprising results that could have been easily missed.

I am most thankful for the opportunities my new role as Vice Provost of Teaching and Learning are providing me in my continued service to students, and for the support of my family given the demands this role has placed on my time."

- Sent to us from Prof. Dennin

Pat Gelsinger, CEO of VMWare (Podcast Episode #4)

"I have seen the hand of God through my career in profound ways – pulling me from a farming community into tech, moving me to the West Coast, magical moments like managing the 80486 and being Intel’s first CTO and now CEO of VMW – the scarlet thread of His sovereign leaders.

2016 was a horrific year of challenge... with [VMWare] stock going from 80 to 40, son with cancer, a broken foot, executive transitions, collapse of a joint venture, father-in-law passing away.

2017 has a been a year of blessing, stock going to 120, healthy son, recognition and plenty. 2017 a year of Thanksgiving after a year in the desert of challenge and growth!"

- Sent to us from Mr. Gelsinger

Victor Ho, CEO of FiveStars (Podcast Episode Coming Soon)

"There are a lot of things I am thankful for. I am just thankful for God not giving up on me... how often He's provided for me and shown me, yet how often I am unfaithful or driven by other temptations... how many days I even just neglect to do my quiet time as I should or pray as I should... how often I let worldly goals impede my vision... Then through it all, God has just always been there and pursued me regardless. I can't even fathom the depths of the grace and mercy He's shown me. So I guess I am just incredibly grateful for that.

I am hopeful and grateful for how He'll extend that to my wife, she's pregnant right now with our first child... how He'll extend that to our child. I think these are all sort of faith things, too. Intellectually I know that God will be faithful to them also and that God will be as devoted to them as He has been to me. But, there are those parts of you that are nervous, or worried, or doubt. "Hey God, you are going to be there for my kid, right? My wife, you are going to draw her close as relentlessly as you have pursued me, right?"  I guess it is kind of a question and a prayer and a thanks all wrapped in one!"

- Excerpt from an upcoming Podcast episode, stay tuned!

Jonathan Lunine, PhD, Professor in the Physical Sciences at Cornell University (Podcast Episode #1)

"I am grateful for everything! My family, my health, my career, and for the opportunity to testify to my own faith through venues like your Podcast and a talk I gave this week at Notre Dame. 

I try very hard to confine my prayers to the health of my family and friends, and not to include “this proposal” or “that professional opportunity.” Science is a huge messy tapestry of opportunities, successes and failures; whether something I’m involved in goes or not, whether it is I or a competitor who gets to do something in particular is not for me to either wish or pray for. 

I do pray that the young people coming up in planetary exploration will have the chance for the same kinds of incredible opportunities and experiences I have been blessed to have in my career. And for those, I am truly grateful to our Lord."

- Sent to us by Prof. Lunine

Stacy Trasancos, PhD, Scientist, Theologian, Homeschool Mom, Teacher and Author (Podcast Episode #11) 

"I am thankful for the periodic table. Like the mother of the seven martyred sons in the Second Book of Maccabees, even in the face of suffering or injustice I can look at the order in creation and remember that God is faithful. I sometimes imagine that I could meet that mother, take a walk with her, and tell her what we know about the order in the atomic realm today.

I am thankful for our family’s move to Texas to be close to my parents and siblings. I left over 20 years ago to move to the Northeast, but now my youngest children can grow up the way I did – in the land of big skies and good-natured folks. It’s so good to be back where people talk right!"

- Sent to us by Dr. Trasancos

Skip Vaccarello, Author and Technology Executive (Podcast Episode #6)

"As I look back at my life, I can see how God had a plan for me, even before I truly knew Jesus as my savior. I most thankful that God blessed me with certain skills and has given me opportunities in high technology, business, and writing that I can use as platforms to encourage others to consider faith.

Although I have enjoyed some success in my career, what gives me the greatest satisfaction is knowing I have helped someone on their spiritual journey and discover who Jesus is and how much he loves them."

- Sent to us by Mr. Vaccarello

Clare Yu, PhD, Professor of Physics and Astronomy at the University of California at Irvine (Podcast Episode #5)

"I'm thankful to have a career in science where I have the freedom to explore the mysteries of the universe. I saw God's hand in providing a job when it looked like I wouldn't get a faculty job. I also saw the Lord's miraculously provide funding to do cancer research when it looked like I had hit a dead end and I would not be granted funding to work on cancer.

Personally, I'm thankful that I and my family are healthy and for good friends."

- Sent to us by Prof. Yu

Update: new podcast, interview and our book

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August has been an incredibly busy and very exciting month for us at Purpose Nation. We successfully launched an updated website, launched the new podcast and we continue to conduct new interviews with top scientists and technology leaders. On top of all this, we are making progress with writing our book and planning many things for 2018 (God willing).

We are blessed to have been interviewed in our very first week of being live with the podcast.  Brad was a guest on SiriusXM Radio on The Jennifer Fulwiler Show on The Catholic Channel.  We weren’t looking to generate any media or press attention yet, but God somehow led Jennifer to us and we’re thankful that she had Brad on the show.

If you haven’t already, please listen to that interview with Jennifer as it gives you a good idea of why God called us to start Purpose Nation and some of the background on the opportunities and challenges we face as Christians in a modern, scientific and technical world.

Initially, in doing research for the book, we began speaking with top scientists and technologists. We found their stories to be so compelling that, rather than waiting for the book to come out, we decided to share these inspiring stories via the podcast.

Although we had not initially planned to have a podcast (nor had we ever done one before), we felt God was giving us the hint that He wanted these stories of what He had done through these amazing people to be shared with others.  Hence the podcast was launched and we are very thankful that we’ve already seen thousands of listeners and viewers.  God is good, thank you for the support!

In the course of doing the interviews and getting feedback from listeners and others, the other incredibly humbling thing we have seen is that the first words we normally hear are, “Thank you.”  Or we hear, “Thank you for doing this, we desperately need more Christians in these fields.”  These are the types of comments we hear from the top scientists and technologists we have been speaking with and, while it is incredibly humbling (and a little daunting), it helps to affirm that God has us on the right track.

And in reality, we are the ones who should be thanking these scientists and technologists. And, of course, we all should be thanking and giving all glory to our God for calling His people into service and for the wonders and gifts He gives us in the form of His nature and His tools that we may use to heal the sick and to love and serve each other. 

Purpose Nation will always be God’s ministry, through and through -- this is never about us, but always will be about Him and what He has done and continues to do to call His people into service in these science and technology fields.  We are simply servants and stewards, called to do His work.

We continue to be amazed and grateful to our Lord for calling us into this ministry and are grateful for all the support of the people we have interviewed and the support we have had from all of you.

This is a 100% volunteer endeavor for us right now as Brad continues to work full-time as a high-tech software executive and both he and his wife are full-time raising a family and active in other endeavors.

We thank you for your support and for your prayers that God will use Purpose Nation for His purposes and that He will use it to encourage Catholics and Christians to pray for a calling in science and technology!

We launch our podcast on Tuesday, August 8, 2017!

We are very excited to announce that our podcast launches Tuesday, August 8, 2017!  We have been interviewing some amazing Christians in leadership positions in science and technology and other important fields.  We will be sharing those interviews in a podcast with new episodes added 1-2x per week (to start).

The podcast will be available on YouTubeiTunes, Google Play and SoundCloud.

Look for links and more information coming soon.

If you are a Christian with a leadership position in science, technology, medicine or other "industries of the future," contact us!  We may want to interview you for the podcast and/or our blog.

We are excited to start sharing our work and thank you for your support and encouragement!