On May 18, at its 124th Undergraduate Commencement Whitworth University, located in Spokane, Washington, awarded honorary degrees to two leaders in the Creation Care movement -- Richard Cizik and Loren Wilkinson.
A partial statement of the Commendation about each of these individuals by Beck A. Taylor, Ph.D., President, and Caroline J. Simon, Ph.D., Provost and Executive Vice-President, is quoted below.
Richard Cizik is a pastor, writer, environmentalist, thinker, activist and the President of the New Evangelical Partnership for the Common Good. He received his B.A. from Whitworth College in 1973, a Master's degree from The George Washington University's Elliott School of International Affairs, and a Master of Divinity from Denver Seminary.
Warmest greetings, friends. You'll see here various components of NEP's latest project on Creation Care.
We initiated this effort in the Summer of 2013 to bring some accountability to what we as "New Evangelicals" see as opportunities to push for creation protection -- both within the evangelical movement as well as our federal government.
The fundamental assumption and attitude behind our project is the belief that we must act as stewards of creation. The goodness of creation has its basis in Jesus Christ. So does our work to protect it. This is God's work, yes, so we can't simply claim it as our own. Neither can we disregard this work, either, as it was assigned to us the role of being stewards.
There's a second request in our Project. We as "New Evangelicals" believe that our government needs to do more to protect our natural resources. Wouldn't it be appropriate if we Evangelicals were the community championing our public parks and recreation? Please call the White House to urge the Obama Administration to equalize the balance between oil and gas leases and the protection of public lands for wilderness, monuments, and parks. Our voices can make a huge difference!
Americans are heading into the final weeks before their summer vacations become just a memory.
For me, the highlight was a visit to the Olympic National Forest in my native Washington State. The ocean and mountains rejuvenate my spirit and foster a healthy perspective on my place in the cosmos.
Alas, visits to our national parks and forests have been in a national decline since 1987, possibly as much as 25 percent according to 2008 data published by the National Academy of Sciences. Whether due to “videophilia,” or just a change in habits, the consequence may be a weakened identification with nature that contributes to public apathy about protecting it.
Here’s what should alarm all of us. Our nation’s leaders are leasing out public lands to oil and gas companies like never before. But is there any outrage?
Protest in the fashion of Woody Guthrie seems quite in order.
For the past two years, NEP co-founder David Gushee has been serving on a high-level panel on detainee treatment, a project of the Constitution Project. Here are his candid remarks about his service in this important endeavor:
New Evangelical Partnership Releases "A Call to Christian Common Ground on Family Planning, and Maternal, and Children’s Health"
Worldwide, about 125 million women face social, emotional, and spiritual trauma – and for some, the life-threatening risk – of not having access to family planning. As a result, one in four births worldwide is unplanned, leading to 42 million abortions each year (half of them clandestine) and 68,000 women’s deaths.
Death in childbirth takes one woman’s life per minute per year and ninety-nine percent of these deaths occur in poor countries. Many more women survive but have their health permanently ruined by repeated childbearing.
Here in the United States, lack of access to affordable health insurance results in an estimated four in ten poor women of reproductive age without family planning services. Although public funding by itself cannot meet the total need, it can make a real difference in the lives of women and families. Researchers have estimated that publicly-funded family planning helped to prevent 973,000 unintended pregnancies .
Too often the words “Muslim” and “terrorist” are interchangeable in the public mind. The caustic effect of the 9/11 attacks and the aftermath of two wars in Muslim countries has left many wondering: can Muslims ever embrace democracy? Will Muslims ever be truly American?
Christians by definition are those who bear witness to our faith in Jesus Christ, including his identity, his teachings, and his mission in the world. We bear witness in many ways. One way is to offer proclamation and action concerning the moral will of God for human communities.
The Bible teaches that every human being is precious in God’s sight (Ps. 8). All are the beloved objects of God’s creating, sustaining, and redeeming grace. What happens to human beings matters immensely to a God who “so loved the world that he sent his only Son” (Jn. 3:16) to redeem it. Christians are called to embody and articulate God’s love for the world in all that we do. This is the heart of Christian evangelistic and moral witness, and is critical for our calling to proclaim the Gospel to all the world.
Much Christian moral witness takes place quietly in families, local congregations, and local communities, as Christians simply go about their daily lives and seek to live as faithful followers of Christ. This is the responsibility of all Christians.
But some Christian moral witness occurs at national and international levels, where many significant challenges to human well-being are often created and addressed. Christians have no choice but to engage religious, economic, cultural, and political institutions with our best efforts to articulate and embody the love and justice of Jesus Christ for the well-being of God’s world. These arenas will be the focus of the New Evangelical Partnership.
This is what we see, and what we want to see:
- We see Jesus Christ, our Lord and the world’s Savior, whom we love—he is the center of our lives.
- We want to see more Americans choose to believe in Jesus and live as his disciples.
- We see that the evangelistic and discipling work of American Christianity has been badly damaged by a generation of culture war-fighting—“some doubt” Jesus—because of Christians.
- We see the allegiance of America as a whole to Christian faith slipping a little bit more each year, partly as a consequence.
- We want to see a renewed Christian public witness in America for the sake of the Gospel.
- We want to see an engagement of Christians in American public life that is loving, rather than angry; holistic rather than narrowly focused; healing rather than divisive; and independent of partisanship and ideology rather than subservient to party or ideology.
- We see in many sectors a Christian public engagement that calls itself Christian while often damaging the work of Christ and violating the teachings of Christ.
- We see other excellent examples of Christian public engagement that need to be celebrated and encouraged.
- We want to see a Christian public witness that reflects the actual life, ministry, and teachings of the Jesus Christ we meet in Scripture and experience in the church at its best.
- We want to see the incarnation of the teachings and example of Christ, not just the articulating of those teachings in word alone.