My Lovely and I are driving to Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania tomorrow for General Assembly. Following GA I will be in Louisville, Kentucky with our presbytery's youth mission trip.
don't know if I will be blogging much from GA. The whole deal looks
exhausting. I am on the Mid-Councils Committee and I wrote some initial thoughts on that.
You can follow the action at PC-Biz. My committee is number 5.
You can also watch the plenary session live.
It also might be fun to follow on Twitter. The hashtag is #ga220.
I look forward to meeting old friends, making new ones, considering the business of the church and promoting Evolution Sunday and the Clergy Letter Project via this commissioner's resolution that I will present. Here it is. Watch for it on the big screen!
Here is my interview with the founder of the Clergy Letter Project, Dr. Michael Zimmerman on Religion For Life.
__________________________ overtures the 220th General Assembly (2012) of the Presbyterian Church (USA) to
join with the General Conference of the United Methodist Church, the
Southeast Florida Diocese of the Episcopal Church, the Southwestern
Washington Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, and with
12,794 members of Christian Clergy, 482 Rabbis of Judaism and 251
Clergy of Unitarian Universalists in endorsing the Clergy Letter Project
and the Christian Clergy Letter printed below:
Within the community of Christian believers there are areas of dispute
and disagreement, including the proper way to interpret Holy Scripture.
While virtually all Christians take the Bible seriously and hold it to
be authoritative in matters of faith and practice, the overwhelming
majority do not read the Bible literally, as they would a science
textbook. Many of the beloved stories found in the Bible – the Creation,
Adam and Eve, Noah and the ark – convey timeless truths about God,
human beings, and the proper relationship between Creator and creation
expressed in the only form capable of transmitting these truths from
generation to generation. Religious truth is of a different order from
scientific truth. Its purpose is not to convey scientific information
but to transform hearts.
We the undersigned, Christian clergy from many different traditions,
believe that the timeless truths of the Bible and the discoveries of
modern science may comfortably coexist. We believe that the theory of
evolution is a foundational scientific truth, one that has stood up to
rigorous scrutiny and upon which much of human knowledge and achievement
rests. To reject this truth or to treat it as “one theory among others”
is to deliberately embrace scientific ignorance and transmit such
ignorance to our children. We believe that among God’s good gifts are
human minds capable of critical thought and that the failure to fully
employ this gift is a rejection of the will of our Creator. To argue
that God’s loving plan of salvation for humanity precludes the full
employment of the God-given faculty of reason is to attempt to limit
God, an act of hubris. We urge school board members to preserve the
integrity of the science curriculum by affirming the teaching of the
theory of evolution as a core component of human knowledge. We ask that
science remain science and that religion remain religion, two very
different, but complementary, forms of truth.
to designate the 2nd Sunday in February as Evolution Sunday to
recognize the influence that the Theory of Evolution has had in changing
the world view of our natural environment.
This overture is brought in the spirit of faith that joyfully acknowledges
that God brings all things into being by the Word. (W-1.2001),
that God transcends creation and cannot be reduced to anything within it (W-1.2002),
that God created the material universe and pronounced it good, and
that the material world reflects the glory of God. (W-1.3031), and,
with the understanding that in prayer we earnestly thank God for creation and providence. (W-3.3613)
Evolution has been wrongly viewed in some Christian communities as
contrary to Christian beliefs. As a scientific theory based solidly on
extensive scientific evidence, it has shaped our thinking in the natural
sciences and has become the underlying theory for numerous medical
advances. As a scientific theory it does not contradict the existence of
God, but can be seen as a natural, creative process in God's creation.
In a recent study of why young people are leaving the church, 29% of the
youth reported being discouraged by the church's antagonistic view of
science, and that many young people are “turned off by the
creation-versus-evolution debate.” The research also “shows that many
science-minded young Christians are struggling to find ways of staying
faithful to their beliefs and to their professional calling in
(Ref. You Lost Me: Why Young Christians are Leaving the Church...and Rethinking Faith. David Kinnaman, 2011, The Barna Group.)
The 214th General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church (USA) has stated that it:
1. Reaffirms that God is Creator, in accordance with the witness of Scripture and the Reformed Confessions.
2. Reaffirms that there is no contradiction between an evolutionary theory of human origins and the doctrine of God as Creator.
3. Encourages State Boards of Education across the nation to establish
standards for science education in public schools based on the most
reliable content of scientific knowledge as determined by the scientific
4. Calls upon Presbyterian scientists and scientific educators to assist
congregations, presbyteries, and the public to understand what
constitutes reliable knowledge.
Other denominations have also recognized the compatibility of modern
science and theology. For example, The Book of Discipline of The United
Methodist Church - 2008 states, in part, "We recognize science as a
legitimate interpretation of God’s natural world. We affirm the validity
of the claims of science in describing the natural world and in
determining what is scientific. We preclude science from making
authoritative claims about theological issues and theology from making
authoritative claims about scientific issues. We find that science’s
descriptions of cosmological, geological, and biological evolution are
not in conflict with theology."
The Clergy Letter Project,
http://www.theclergyletterproject.org/ founded by Dr. Michael
Zimmerman, and signed by nearly 13,000 Christian clergy has helped
clergy and congregations present the scientific theory of Evolution in a
manner that respects and engages a thinking faith.
Thus it is fitting to endorse The Clergy Letter Project and to set aside
the 2nd Sunday in February as Evolution Sunday to celebrate the
importance of evolution by designating the birthday (12 February 1809)
of the founder of evolutionary theory, Charles Darwin, as Evolution