Rev. Dr. Linda Eastwood is by background a physicist (PhD, and a 25-year career designing medical MRI systems.) She is now, after earning a Master of Divinity degree from McCormick Theological Seminary, a Presbyterian teaching elder (minister.) Linda serves as Affiliate Faculty in Theology and Science at McCormick Theological Seminary, where she is currently also pursuing a Master of Theology in Science and Religion, and has also been invited to serve as Auxiliary Faculty at the Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago. She also teaches and preaches in Chicago-area churches. She was originally ordained to work for the Presbyterian Peace Fellowship, coordinating (for three and a half years) a human-rights accompaniment program in Colombia, South America. Over the last few years, these apparently disparate elements of her background have been put together lecturing and teaching Science and Religion and other topics (in Spanish) at the school of theology in the Reformed University in Barranquilla, Colombia.
Educationally, Rev. Dr. Linda Eastwood earned a Bachelor of Science degree (University of Birmingham, England, 1st class honors), a Master of Science degree and a Ph.D. in Medical Physics (University of Aberdeen, Scotland), a Master of Business Administration degree (John Carroll University, Cleveland, OH), and a Master of Divinity degree (McCormick Theological Seminary, Chicago, IL). For that last, she received two fellowships (for “Overall Excellence” and for “Theology and Ethics”) which she has put to use undertaking a part-time Master of Theology in Science in Religion, taking classes in theology and philosophy at both McCormick Theological Seminary and the University of Chicago Divinity School. She was also blessed to be part of a three-year series of colloquia on Religion and Science at the Institute of Reformed Theology in Richmond, VA.
As a professional scientist, a career in medical imaging gradually broadened her role from early technical and clinical work to marketing and business management, and to leading broad programs across functional and geographic boundaries. She started working with Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) almost at its birth, gradually moving from university (Aberdeen) to start-up company (M&D Technology,) and from there to a more established medical equipment company (Picker International, later bought by Philips) in Cleveland, OH, where she lived and worked for twenty years. As a scientist, she spoke at scientific conferences and in customer presentations all over Europe and the United States, and also worked as a project manager, planning and managing the team-development of a new high-end MR imager. Moving into a marketing role (after completing an MBA degree part-time at John Carroll University,) she worked first as a Product Manager and then Marketing Manager. She then ran a small UK company acquired for its research and development program before, back in the US, taking over as Director of the MR Program Management Office for the last 5 years of her MR-based career.
As she now develops her focus on Science and Theology, Linda’s professional background reminds her that scientists and people of faith are often the same people; faith matters in the workplace, and scientists sit in the pews on Sunday. She has no desire to “scientifically prove the existence of God;” science can’t do it, and the God we know through faith and experience has no need to be so proved and defended. She does, however, see the need for theologians and pastors to understand something of how scientists think, to appreciate some of the wonders of God’s creation as uncovered by modern science, and to develop theologies and models of pastoral interaction which respect – without being overly tied to – our current level of scientific knowledge of that creation. As a matter of urgency, both faith and science can, and should, be an influence for good on our attitudes and behavior towards each other and towards all creation.
It makes sense, then, that Linda has not meanwhile lost her interest in issues of human rights and social justice. Her role as liaison for the partnership between McCormick Theological Seminary and the Reformed University in Barranquilla, Colombia, includes not only teaching Theology and Science, but also planning a joint course in Barranquilla for students of both institutions (for 2016) in “Being Church in Contexts of Violence.” Active in social justice issues through University Church, Chicago, she also serves on the National Committee of the Presbyterian Peace Fellowship, on the Advisory Committee for Social Witness Policy of the Presbyterian Church (USA), and has been nominated to serve on the board of the Chicago Religious Leadership Network on Latin America (CRLN).