Faith of a Maker: Reasons for Believing in Jesus
Dr. Phillip McKerrow
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What is making? How does it interact with faith to shape our lives? Is our existence the work of an infinitely powerful maker, or the result of an infinitely impossible chance?
In this book, Dr. Phillip McKerrow discusses these and other questions as he explores reasons for believing in Jesus in many maker contexts, including the impact of faith in Jesus concerning his own making.
To skilfully debunk some of the common myths and beliefs surrounding making and its multifaceted relationship with the Christian faith, the author draws upon many years of experience in the realm of STEAM (science, technology, engineering, art, and mathematics).
In each chapter, McKerrow dives into a different area of STEAM, offering novel and transformative ideas that have the power to fundamentally change your perspective on both making and faith in Jesus.
Using personal anecdotes and creative stories, he provides a unique insight into the influence of the Christian faith on the life of a maker. To develop this insight, Dr. McKerrow explores a broad area of human thought about the existence of an infinitely powerful maker. To make this exploration of fascinating thinking a straightforward and engaging read, he also employs clear and concise language.
About the author
Dr. Phillip McKerrow is a retired Associate Professor of Computer Science and Software Engineering. He taught robotics, multimedia and computer science at the University of Wollongong (UOW in Australia). He has a PhD in Computer Science, an M.E. in Electrical Engineering, a B.E.(Hons) in Electrical Engineering and an electrical trade.
He spent a year doing post-doctoral research in the Robotics Institute at Carnegie Mellon University (CMU) in Pittsburgh Pennsylvania, where he assisted in the teaching of their post graduate robotics subject. Robotics was in its infancy, so it was possible to gain a comprehensive overview of the field. Using the knowledge he gained at CMU, he wrote a textbook in robotics titled: Introduction to Robotics (Addison-Wesley, 1991, 811 pages, digital reprint 2002) which has been translated into Korean. Three years later, he spent six months in the AI Department at the University of Edinburgh.
Prior to working at UOW, he worked as a control engineer for the steel processing company John Lysaghts Australia Ltd (now part of BlueScope Steel Limited) where he developed electronic instruments and control systems for steel mills. He wrote his Master of Electrical Engineering thesis on the control of the amount of zinc coated onto steel strip to make galvanised iron. He implemented this control on two galvanising lines.
Dr. McKerrow is a maker. During the two years prior to the COVID pandemic, he built a Peeler Skiff wooden motorboat. He has made things all his life, ranging from microcomputer systems to steel mill motor controllers; from a wooden motorboat to mobile robot control software; and from multimedia productions to wood carvings. The design and construction of these systems has stimulated him to think about the relationship between engineering (the making of things) and his Christian faith and subsequent belief in Jesus.
He is married to Ann and the couple have four living children and nine grandchildren. They worship at Figtree Anglican Church and minister to UOW students at Keiraville International Church (KIC). In his retirement, he has written a series of bible studies in simple English for use with international students at KIC. Prior to retirement, he also taught the Moore Theological College certificate course to bible study leaders at his church.
In an ambitious attempt to delve into and create links between the physical, intellectual, and spiritual realms Phillip McKerrow generously communicates a lifetime of experiences in his book Faith of a Maker. Phillip’s many fields of interest include engineering, robotics and artificial intelligence, mathematics, and design. He is not content with surface understandings and combines factual accounts with meaningful and sometimes very personal stories. A passion for making things is intricately interwoven with his deep Christian faith. Phillip brings challenges and insights to any reader who is not afraid to ask questions. And I would highly recommend Faith of a Maker to those who are prepared to adventure into both familiar and unfamiliar territories.
Anne Marie, Retired Visual Arts teacher
I have known Phillip McKerrow for almost thirty-five Years. Phil is a mature intelligent Christian with a wonderful evangelistic heart who is passionate about applying his faith to life. He is gifted with many unusual qualities. In particular, he is a maker with great skills in carpentry and design. He is a distinguished, respected academic within his speciality of Robotics and has published a well-received textbook in that field. Phil has spent a lifetime reflecting on the intersection of the areas of faith, work, science, and life. His new book Faith of a Maker draws these threads together in a unique way. Its particular merit is at least two fold. While there are many books on faith and science there are not many that discuss topics such as robotics, computer design or artificial intelligence in the way Phil’s background enables him to do. At the same time, Phil colours his narrative with interesting and sometime moving stories taken from his own personal journey. From teaching undergraduate and post graduate student Phil is well versed with young intelligent inquiring minds who wish to pursue their studies but also engage in the big questions of the existence of God, the truth of the Christian faith, or the place of humanity in the greater scheme of things. Naturally this book will not answer every question but will provide ongoing stimulus to explore such issues for student and non-student alike.
Rev. Dr. Rod Irvine, Retired Science Teacher and Anglican Church Pastor
One of my favourite Bible passages is found in the book of Ephesians (chapter 2, verse 10). “For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.” God made us – we are his handiwork! Again, God made us – created us – specifically in Christ. Why? So we, in turn, might make good – this is what we are to do. It is this theme of making that Phillip McKerrow takes up in his new book. Not only is God a Maker, but our own making can point us to God. McKerrow develops this theme in engineering and design, but extends it to more fundamental spheres, including science, mathematics, and axioms, and further applies it to life and death and faith. The abstract ideas are illustrated by concrete examples, including many episodes from the author’s own life. Quirky and eclectic, this book provides a new perspective on the “maker of heaven and earth” from one whose faith is entwined with his own making.
Senior Professor Roger Lewis, Faculty of Engineering and Information Sciences, University of Wollongong
What is making? How does it shape our lives? Is our existence the result of an infinitely powerful maker or an infinitely impossible chance? In Faith of a Maker, Dr. Philip McKerrow draws upon his years of expertise in the areas of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics to skilfully debunk some of the common myths and beliefs surrounding making and its multifaceted relationship with the Christian faith. In each chapter he journeys into a different area of STEM, offering novel and transformative ideas that have the power to fundamentally change your perspective on both making and faith in God.” Through an abundance of creative stories and personal anecdotes, McKerrow provides a unique insight into the influence of the Christian faith on the life of a maker. His clear and concise language makes it a straightforward and engaging read, yet it is bound to expose you to fascinating disciplines you never knew existed.
Matej Groombridge, Year 10 student, Baulkham Hills High School, Australia