Sarah Voss is currently an interest-based mediation practitioner affiliated with the Concord Center in Omaha. A lifetime member of the Unitarian Universalist Ministers Association, she performs weddings, guest preaches, and continues to research and share her work in the area of religion and math/science.
Sarah specializes in Workshops, Lectures, Sermons, and Informal Education Classes on mathematics/science and religion. She is also available for Weddings and for Mediation by special arrangement.
NEW OPPORTUNITY: Watch for upcoming dates and sites for an innovative series of Moral Math Training Sessions.
“Science and Spirit: A Mathaphorical Tour” is an introduction to topics in the religion and science dialogue. Using metaphors drawn from mathematics as a starting point, Rev. Sarah Voss offers a smorgasbord-approach that traverses much territory and leaves plenty of “pointers” (resources) for those who want to explore a topic in more depth. Areas “toured” include the history of the science/religion dialogue, artificial intelligence, human/machine life, the impact of chaos theory on religion, holographic and other world views, various cosmologies, biology, genetics, and “moral” math. This day and a half workshop was first presented as a weekend workshop for an adult religious education retreat held at the Center for Development in Ministry, University of St. Mary of the Lake, Mundelein, IL, October, 2001. It is designed to be user-friendly to the non-mathematician and is ideal for informal adult religious education gatherings of all sorts. It has also been presented in a more extended form as a course for seminarians at the Graduate Theological Union in Berkeley.
Other workshops, with varying time-frames, are also available. Past examples include:
- How Math Can Help Us Become More Altruistic, Cooperative, Caring Individuals, a workshop presented at the Prairie Star District Annual Conference, Kansas City, KS, April, 2004.
- Using Moral Math to Understand Oppression, a workshop presented at a Healing from Oppression conference, San Francisco, CA, March, 2004.
- Conscious Computers? Workshop presented at the Prairie Star District Annual Conference in Lincoln, NE, April 8, 2000.
- Math: The New Language of Theology, a public lecture and six-session workshop sponsored by the Chicago Center for Religion and Science, January, 1997. Re-offered in shortened form at the Annual Pastor’s School of the Nebraska United Methodist Conference, Kearney, NE, January, 1999.
- Mathematics and Religion, a workshop at the Unitarian Universalist Church of Corpus Christi, TX, June, 1996.
A Note from Rome:
“Math” Illusion at the Vatican
The elliptical shape of the Colonnade of St. Peter’s Square in Rome symbolizes the Church’s embrace of all of humankind. It is defined by a series of 284 columns arranged in 4 rows. If, however, you stand on one of the two foci of the ellipse,marked by a granite disk, the colonnade appears to be made up of only a single row of columns.
Dr. Voss has lectured at a wide variety of conferences and campuses. She was guest faculty at a Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute course in Rome, Italy, in Spring, 2008; a presenter at the 2004 World Congress of the International Christian Studies Association held at Pepperdine University; the Klein 2000 Lecturer at First UU Church in Ann Arbor, Michigan; featured lecturer, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute’s Distinguished Lecture Series on Science & Religion, Albany, NY, 1999; featured speaker at the 1998 CNRS Templeton Lecture Series at York University, Ontario, Canada; and the featured speaker at the Rabbi Brooks Lecture Series, University of Nebraska, Omaha, Religious Studies Colloquium, 1995.
Sarah’s past lecture topics include:
- Ten Ways Mathaphors Are Shaping Our Spiritual Lives
- Moral Math and the Golden Rule
- What Mathaphors Offer Contemporary Religion
- Old Pythagoras Would Be Pleased: Theological Reflections about Freeman Dyson’s Mathematics
- Why Science Is a Religious Issue
- Bridging Science and Spirit
- Science, Religion, and Holy Mathaphors
- The Impact of Contemporary Mathematical Metaphors on Faith Understandings of Consciousness
- What Mathaphors Tell Us about the Development of Personhood
- The Unique Place of Mathematics in the Science and Religion Dialogue
- Mathematical Images for God
- Out of Order, Chaos
- UUism, the Religion of All Religions: A Mathematical Apology
- Holy Mathaphors
- What Number Is God?
- Mathematics and Religion
- Beyond the Copernican Revolution
Dr. Voss tailors her lectures to the specific needs and desires of her audience. To view her in action, check out a panel discussion on Science and Unitarian Universalism at the 2004 Annual General Assembly of the Unitarian Universalist Association, in Long Beach, California. Watch the video!
From pulpits in places as diverse as Georgia and Nebraska, Toronto and the Virgin Islands, Rev. Voss has delivered special “math” sermons. Sample titles include:
- Reflections about Nothing
- Out of Statistics, Hope
- Prayers that Count
- Our Electronic Church
- Gödel on Evil
- Dare to Be Average
- Beyond Copernicus
- Our Entangled Web
- God and Quantum Transitions
- Computers and Consciousness
- Towards a Cantorian Religion
- The Nature of Love in a World Where Dolly Gives Birth to Herself
- When the Future Is Now
- Religion in Our Genes
“Spiritual Resources for UUs in the 21st Century” is a six-part sermon series which Sarah presented in 2006 at the First Unitarian Church of Omaha and again in 2006-7 at the First Unitarian Church of Sioux City. The series includes two explicitly mathematical sermons: Coming Out (of the Math Closet) and The ‘Strange Attractor’ of Hope. This series would be particularly appropriate for a church which anticipates a short gap in their regular professional services or for a lay-led fellowship which is experimenting with the idea of professional leadership.
Informal Education Classes
Dr. Voss has a long history of teaching. During the first decade of the 21st Century, she taught World Religions in the Department of Philosophy and Religion at the University of Nebraska, Omaha. In an earlier career she was Mathematics Program Director at the College of St. Mary in Omaha, where she taught everything from basic Algebra to Differential Equations and Statistics. Before that, she was an Instructor in Mathematics at the University of Nebraska, Omaha, and before that, she taught mathematics at the high school and community college levels.
In the late 1990s and early 2000s, Sarah developed and taught a prize winning course, “Math: A New Language of Theology.” Using mathematical metaphors as a focal point, this course offered both undergraduates and seminarians a chance to:
- review the history of the science/religion relationship
- examine sacred images containing a mathematical reference
- explore the impact of computers on our understanding of consciousness and reality
- investigate the effect of modern chaos theory on our religious lives
- consider holographic, quantum, and other world-views
Yes, Rev. Voss officiates at weddings, most (but not all) of which are in the Omaha vicinity. Her approach is collaborative and facilitative: no two ceremonies are identical, but all are tailored to meet the needs of the couple.
Sarah Voss is interested in ways to resolve disputes fairly, agreeably, and with a consensus that maintains respect and fosters peace. For many years she developed skills in this area through her work as a parish minister and as an Omaha City Police Chaplain. Following her retirement from active ministry, she was trained by the State of Nebraska in interest-based and family mediation. She is now a member of the Nebraska Mediation Association and is currently affiliated with the Concord Center in Omaha, which is the Nebraska ODR-approved non-profit agency serving Douglas and Sarpy counties.