Audio and Video of Lecture

The audio and video for last week’s lecture “Christian Politics: a Political Theology of Hope,” with Dr. Matthew Tuininga, is now available. Find it below and on the Resource page under Past Lectures.  Audio and video of the excellent Q&A will be posted soon.

Calvin and Christian Shrillness

There is an impulse in many of us that emerges in our public engagement, especially on social media – the preferred method for discourse currently.

The impulse: call out sin or injustice or immorality whenever we see it. It is often done with a shrillness that is, quite frankly, unbecoming (and lest you think I’m wagging a finger, I am the pot calling the kettle black).

Against this impulse Calvin writes, “[Christians are not bid] to assert and proclaim what has been given us by the Lord everywhere, and always and among all indiscriminately, for the Lord gives his people the spirit of discretion, so that they may know when and how far and to whom it is expedient to speak” (Commentary on 1 Peter 3:15).

51zgzlu3qsl._sx331_bo1204203200_Reflecting on this, Dr. Tuininga writes, “Calvin agreed that Christians need not always publicly reprove vice. There are times for silence, even before magistrates, and silence does not always constitute cowardice.”

A good word. Join us for more of this and exploration of how Calvin’s two-kingdom theology offers a way forward for Christians to faithfully engage in today’s democratic, pluralistic societies.

“Christian Politics: a Political Theology of Hope,” with Dr. Matthew Tuininga. A Trinity Fellowship event at ECC (503 S High Street, Bloomington). Thursday night, February 20th. 7:00 pm. A time of Q&A will follow the lecture.

New Creation: A Primer on Living in the Time between the Times (Rodney Clapp)

71bznuj-0rl“We are storied creatures, and everything happens because we lean toward endings. These endings are the goals, the pursuits, the destinies, the termination points that mark and animate our lives. Without endings we could never begin anything. We would lack plots and our lives would be without purpose, devoid of meaning.” So begins Clapp’s book which explores how eschatology, or our vision of ‘last things’, shapes our living in the now. The now is the ‘time between the times’, when this age and the age to come overlap.

In his exploration of how eschatology shapes practical Christian living – from politics to sex, creation care to prayer – Clapp is, in the words of one reviewer, an ‘equal opportunity offender’.  Everyone will be challenged and convicted at some point.

rodneyclappJoin us on Saturday, February 2nd at 10:00am for a ‘fireside chat’ with Rodney Clapp. The informal conversation is hosted at Evangelical Community Church, Bloomington (and no, there isn’t a real fireplace).  It’ll be a good time to think together, talk with Rodney about his ideas, and hopefully leave encouraged to bring the end into the present as much as possible.

Rodney Clapp is a former editor at Christianity Today, editor and columnist for the Christian Century, and author of numerous books, including A Peculiar People: The Church as Culture in a Post-Christian Society.

Special Lecture – Christian Politics: a Political Theology of Hope

We are very excited  Dr. Matthew Tuininga, Associate Professor of Moral Theology at Calvin Theological Seminary will be with us for TFIU event on February 20th at 7:00pm.  matt-tuninga_2_942ab2a090bef6aa1cb38c8a2e78886eThe relationship between church and state, pastors and magistrates, believers and the government is one Christians have been navigating for centuries. In today’s atmosphere, few things are as polarizing today as political dialogue or as dangerous to the common good as the lack thereof. We are excited to be hosting this lecture on an important and difficult issue (or nexus of issues). The lecture will be held at ECC, February 20th, at 7:00 pm.

Dr51zgzlu3qsl._sx331_bo1204203200_. Matthew Tuininga previously taught at Emory University, Oglethorpe University, and at Sewanee, University of the South. He speaks on topics revolving around Christian ethics and Christian cultural and political engagement.

His first book, Calvin’s Political Theology and the Public Engagement of the Church: Christ’s Two Kingdoms was published with Cambridge University Press in 2017. Dr. Tuininga has also edited On Charity and Justice, the final volume of Kuyper’s collected works on public theology, forthcoming with Lexham Press.

Newbigin on Hope and the Environment

iss520newbigin20graphicI am currently re-reading a fantastic book by Lesslie Newbigin, The Gospel in a Pluralistic Society.  The book has little to say directly about creation care or climate change, but Newbigin’s insights do apply to the conversation. In a chapter entitled “The Bible as Universal History” he traces how history has been written and taught since the time of Augustine. Since Augustine, history has been taught as the progress of the City of God. Secular revisions watered it down into a vague ‘progress of society’; communists morphed it into the progress of the working class, etc. All of these visions looked hopefully towards the future. But, Newbigin contends (writing in the late twentieth century), “In the closing decades of this century it is difficult to find Europeans who have any belief in a significant future which is worth working for and investing in.” In the early decades of the twenty-first century, this bleak outlook and apathy have spread to the U.S. also. Newbigin continues,

“A society which believes in a worthwhile future saves in teh present so as to invest in the future. Contemporary Western society spends in the present and piles up debts for the future, ravages the environment, and leaves its grandchildren to cope with the results as best they can. One searches contemporary European literature in vain for evidence o fhope for the future; rather, in Jurgen Moltmann’s words, it is characterized by cold despair, resignation, and cinicism.”

Certainly, love for neighbor, present and future neighbor’s, demands more. Certainly, the Christian’s outlook should be different. But what…how?

Join us this Wednesday night, April 3rd, at 7:30pm at Evangelical Community Church for a special lecture by Kyle Meyaard-Schaap entitled “Creation Care, Climate Change, and the Gospel.” A panel will engage questions after the lecture.

Peak Indifference to Climate Change?

adobestock_126775715.jpegI ran across an article in Wired recently that suggested we have reached “Peak Indifference” to climate change – a phrase that “refers to the psychology of problems that become too big to ignore.” According to proponents, the number, severity, and relative proximity of several climate-related disasters has forced people to take notice (think wildfires, flooding, severe hurricanes). A couple of polls lend credence to the claim that we’ve turned the corner on indifference. One poll shows that the number of Republicans who believe climate change is real rose from 49% three years ago to 64% this past December. More widely, another survey shows that say the number who say they are “very worried” about climate jump jumped from 21% to 29% in one year.

There is still, however, significant disagreement among those who believe climate change is real and are worried about. Some doubt whether humans are to blame for climate change or if it is part of a natural cycle. Some seem to have given in to a nihilistic apathy, thinking it’s too late to do anything about it.

How is a Christian to think about these things? Does the gospel say anything that has bearing on the condition of the earth, present, and future? Does the good news of Jesus call us to action in this area, or only soul winning?

Kyle-Meyaard Schaap, National Spokesperson for Young Evangelicals for Climate Action, will be lecturing on this topic on April 3rd, 7:30pm. The lecture, “Creation Care, Climate Change, and the Gospel” will be followed by a panel discussion/Q&A time. We hope this will be the beginning of some great future conversations.  The lecture will be hosted at Evangelical Community Church, 503 S. High Street, Bloomington, IN, 47404.

Greener Christianity?

I recently stumbled across an article summarizing research done by IU’s Dan Konisky (School of Public and Environmental Affairs). Dr. Konisky’s study, published in December, 2017, contends that Christians have not become more concerned about the environment over the past twenty-five years; in fact, evidence indicates concern may be waning. Konisky demonstrates that, according to Gallup polling, the number of Christians who express a “great deal of concern” about the environment dropped by a third from 1990 to 2015. In summary, there has been no “greening of Christianity.”

plant growing in desert

Some have pointed to the Christian belief that humans have been given dominion over the earth to explain this apparent lack of concern for the environment. It is not apparent, however, why these two things must coincide. Most who would claim their home as their dominion, their mini-kingdom, still work to maintain it, striving to be good stewards. Is it not possible to believe that humans have dominion over the earth and share a responsibility to be good stewards of it?

What are the connections between creation care, climate change, and the gospel? That’s the topic guest lecturer Kyle Meyaard-Schaap will take up at the Trinity Fellowship event on April 3rd, hosted at ECC (503 S. High St). The lecture begins at 7:30pm and is preceeded by light refreshements.  A time of Q&A with Kyle and a panel will follow the lecture.

Changing the Narrative

creationcareFunny. Our Facebook advertisement for the ‘Creation Care, Climate Change, and the Gospel’ was initially rejected (until we finish a verification process) because it was a political issue. Kudos to Facebook for trying to reign in the wild west of social media advertising. And, of course, they are right – climate change is a political issue now. What isn’t? Education? That’s political. The arts? Political. Family? Political. So it’s not surprising that it’s deemed political. But, don’t forget it’s also theological and spiritual!

Part of the narrative as it relates to evangelicals is that they have a very narrow band of issues they are concerned about, usually centered around issues related to family, marriage, the unborn, or religious liberties. This list, according to the popular narrative, almost never includes issues like the environment, clean energy, climate change, or the anything of the sort.

Younger evangelicals are helping to change that narrative. Not only are they calling the church to a godly concern for creation, but to action. Part of this call is to realize that we are to seek the ‘good of the city’ while we reside in it. Part of it is to know and understand that as part of the People of God, we ought to love and care for what God loves and cares for. This undoubtedly includes his Creation!

Come hear more from Rev. Kyle Meyaard-Schaap (bio), National Spokesperson for Young Evangelicals for Climate Action (YECA), on April 3rd, 7:30pm. There will be a time of Q&A after the lecture and light refreshments before and after.

Creation Care, Climate Change, and The Gospel, Kyle Meyaard-Schaap

We are very excited to be hosting Rev. Kyle Meyaard-Schaap for a Trinity Fellowship Lecture, Wednesday, April 3rd, 7:30pm at Evangelical Community Church. Kyle is a graduate of Calvin College and Western Theological Seminary and serves as the Kyle_Profile_1National Organizer and Spokesperson for Y.E.C.A. – Young Evangelicals for Climate Action. and has been a steering committee member since 2013. Before going on staff at Y.E.C.A., Kyle served for four years as the Creation Care Coordinator at the Office of Social Justice for the Christian Reformed Church in North America, where he worked to educate and equip individuals and congregations to learn and act at the intersection of creation care and Christian faith.

The lecture will explore how the Christian faith leads us to a deeper concern for God’s earth and love for neighbor both at home and around the world, integration theology, science, and action. There will be a time of Q&A following the lecture.

Kyle has received numerous awards for his work, including being named in 2015 to Midwest Energy Group’s inaugural 40 Under 40 cohort for his work on climate change education and advocacy. He has been featured in national and international news outlets such as PBS, NPR, NBC News, Reuters, and U.S. News and World Report. He is married to Allison and resides in Grand Rapids, MI with their son Simon. In his free time, Kyle enjoys cooking, reading, and spending time outside in God’s beautiful creation.