Brian Swimme is fond of saying, "Four billion years ago, the earth was molten rock and now it sings opera."  In their 1992 book "The Universe Story," Swimme and Thomas Berry attempted to bridge the gap between science, religion and the humanities. When Michael Dowd read it, he got goose bumps and says he wept at the realization that "this is what I’m going to spend the rest of my life doing, popularizing this perspective."

Rather than a 2,000 year old story of the past, Dowd believes that God’s revelations are happening all the time as proved by scientific changes in the universe, and that, he claims, is the sacred story of evolution. Dowd and his wife, science writer Connie Barlow, now travel the country in a van presenting "The Great Story: The 14 billion year epic of cosmos, life and humanity told as a sacred story glorifying all!"

Dowd and Barlow assert that the people’s cosmology celebrates all cultures. Margaret Meade showed that each culture has a similar story of creation. Each teaches moral propriety, guidance and warnings. But, today, the old parables are divisive, inadequate and ineffective. They offered a mechanistic perspective where differences are problems to solve. In the sacred evolution theory differences are a solution to the problem.

"While it has rarely been recognized as such, science is in fact evolution theology," Dowd says. The new viewpoint recognizes an ever-evolving earth, sky, atmosphere, universe, "a creation story that is not yet over." World conflict is causing a resurgence in spirituality and religion. Dowd predicts science will usher religion into its greatness in the next millennium.

When delivering in person, Dowd flits through material so quickly the brain hasn't time to absorb the complexities of his theory, but his exuberance is infectious. Dowd explains he is not an optimist; that’s one who thinks everything is wonderful regardless of reality. Dowd is an ameliorator: one who believes we triumph by reason, logic and action.

Brian Swimme says, "The universe is my larger self." Dowd elaborates: "When we realize our greater role in the scheme of existence, we cannot help but respect and want to help in sustaining all life. The big picture becomes relevant. We must save and preserve the ecology of the world and universe or there is no future."

Presentations by Dowd inspired a group at Unity in Marin to meet regularly for the last three years to study, explore, and uphold the principles of sacred evolution. As the Ecos group they produce public forums with prominent speakers including Dowd, Swimme and David Haskell, Director of Garden of Eatin'. Ecos schedules nature walks, hikes and trips to see migrating whales, eagles in their habitat and the Chabot Planetarium.

Dowd and Barlow provide three websites for The Great Story, Evolutionary Christianity and Dowd's book, "Thank God for Evolution." Program titles include Cosmos, Mysticism and Reverence for Life; Christianity in an Evolving Universe; The Great Story of Science&Spirit. Dowd delivered the talk "Why Jesus Loves Darwin and You Can Too" to the University of Tennessee. Donations and sales of their books and DVDs provide them the means to take the message to Unitarians, Episcopalians, Catholics, Jews, Quakers and a long list of other communities.

Dowd and Barlow create workshops for every age group. Dowd visited an alternative high school where he wondered if anyone would experience the "Aha!" moment. Near the end of his presentation, the biggest, meanest looking, shaggy-haired leader said, "I get it, I’m stardust evolved to the place where the stardust can now think about itself. What a mindbender, dude!"

Dowd and Barlow plan their itinerary by regions to practice and encourage ecology and economy. They offer their programs free of charge. In order to live as troubadours, they accept "home hospitality" in communities where they are speaking to cover expenses.

What a fascinating round table could be had during dinner with this dynamic pair.