My name is David Spakes. I earned a bachelorís degree in Computer Science in 1993 at Tennessee Tech in Cookeville. I am originally from the Knoxville area, and after graduation I moved back to Knoxville. I am a science enthusiast and also a Christian. After working at the same software company for the past 21 years, I am anticipating a career change to being a full-time church pastor at some point in the future.
Spirit and Truth Fellowship is a concept church for people who are science-minded thinkers who also happen to Christian and believe in God. Spirit and Truth Fellowship of Knoxville, or STFK, is the first instance of such a church that I organized in 2010 with my wife Sheila and a few friends. We are extremely small but believe strongly that the church will grow as more people like us discover that someone is actually doing this.
I would be involved in organizing Science Cafes even if STFK was not in the picture, because I enjoy talking about science with other people. There are Science Cafes all over the country that are connected by WGBH Boston, the producers of the NOVA and NOVA scienceNOW programs for public television. Their web site is sciencecafes.org. The STFK Science Cafe is a local chapter NOVA Science Cafe, and you can find us on their map at sciencecafes.org/find/37902.
The church, STFK, sponsors the STFK Science Cafe, but the STFK Science Cafe is not a religious activity. It is strictly a science discussion. We follow the NOVA Science Cafe guidelines which includes the stipulation that there is no discussion of religion or politics. We do this willingly. This is the way we want it to work. We want others to see that some people who are Christians can also participate in a science discussion and not turn it into a debate or drag in pseudoscience.
The guest scientists we invite to lead our science discussions are from a variety of backgrounds. Some are Christians. Some are atheists. The presenter at our Science Cafe on September 10, 2013 (www.spirit-and-truth.net/sciencecafe/2013-09-10/index.html) was a Jewish professor from Israel. You can see a list of all of our past and upcoming topics and speakers by going to www.spirit-and-truth.net/sciencecafe/events.html, then click on the year.
STFK rents space on Sunday mornings for our church services from Ijams Nature Center. We had to rent somewhere, and we choose to rent at Ijams so that our rent money goes to help fund their science education programs. The church also supports science in other ways. We have been sponsoring the STFK Science Cafe since April, 2011, which currently meets part of the year at Ijams Nature Center and part of the year at the Knoxville Zoo. We are also a partner and financial sponsor of the UT Science Forum that meets weekly in the bottom level of the Thompson-Boling arena on the University of Tennessee main campus.
The church has a web site and several domain names that point to it. The primary domain name that points to the churchís home page is www.spirit-and-truth.net. We also have www.nerdchurch.net (some people find it easier to remember). The home page for the STFK Science Cafe is hosted on our web site; you can get there using either the address sciencecafe.spirit-and-truth.net or www.knoxsciencecafe.org. We also have a links to the UT Science Forum at scienceforum.spirit-and-truth.net.
I look forward to meeting you at our next STFK Science Cafe or church service. Before then, feel free to write me or call if you have any other questions.
In Jesus' name,