Monday, November 21, 2016

Back to Basics


Happy Monday morning, everyone, and to my American readers: Happy Thanksgiving week.  I've been spending a lot of time lately pondering the future of Core Academy of Science.  It's been three years since we launched, and things are coming along.  Personally, my wife and I are moving past the crisis stage of trying to survive.  The Lord faithfully provides our needs, and I'm immensely grateful for that.  I'm also thankful for each and every donor who has provided funding to keep Core Academy going.  Your generosity has been inspirational to me.

I'm still wondering about Core Academy, though.  After all, I could conceivably get a faculty job teaching at a Christian school and run Core Academy as a little side hobby.  Lots of people run small nonprofits in their spare time rather trying to turn a tiny nonprofit into a real job (which is really hard).  I don't think we need yet another AIG or ICR, and I know we don't need another tiny ministry focused on a single individual's writing and speaking.  So what is the purpose of Core Academy?  Why is there a need for us?  Where are we going?

I have a few stock answers to these questions.  I usually say that Core Academy has a unique perspective on the creation/evolution debate that is poorly represented in the wider debate.  We don't think anyone has all the answers, about science or the Bible.  We want to seek answers and invite others to seek answers with us.  I also emphasize our focus on basic science education rather than just origins because so many people seemed confused about science itself. These are important distinctives that give Core Academy a unique identity.  But they're not enough.

In the end, Core Academy looks like a ministry about knowledge.  We focus on science and scientific discoveries.  We create curricula that promote our understanding of science.  It's all about knowledge, and knowledge is a risky thing.  The apostle Paul had some pretty strong words about knowledge to the Corinthians: "Knowledge puffs up but love builds up" (I Cor 8:1).  Later in the same letter, he wrote, "If I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing" (I Cor 13:2).  That's a pretty staggering reality.  Faith and knowledge are not enough.  Being right about doctrine or the Bible is not enough.  We need to put that faith and understanding into action by loving God and neighbor.  Core Academy needs to go back to basics.

Honestly, it sounds a little weird to my ears, but Core Academy needs to become the faith/science ministry defined first and most importantly by love.  In this world where everyone seems to follow the template of propaganda wars, arguing past each other and insulting enemies, Core Academy needs to manifest the attributes of love: patience, kindness, and humility.  We need to rejoice in the truth, wherever it comes from.  We need to give cheerfully and generously to those in need.  We need to show grace to our enemies and listen patiently to their concerns.  And we need to be willing to admit when we've messed up.

So that's a nice idea, but how do we do it?  I'm still working out all the details, but here are a few thoughts:

  • We rejoice in truth.  We love to share new discoveries and ideas as we explore God's creation, and we don't really care where they come from. We love making our own discoveries and encouraging our student researchers to do the same. God's creation is worth celebrating.
  • We give cheerfully.  We sponsor special events and programs to encourage Christians interested in science.  Our annual creation retreat (coming up March 17-19, 2017) is a gift to our southeastern creationist community. Coming up next month, we'll announce our equipment grant awards to six Christian schools to help teachers teach science.
  • We love our enemies.  This is something we're going to work on even harder in the future.  There's a lot of enmity in the creation/evolution debate, and I personally have contributed my fair share of it over the years.  We need to break down those walls and learn to love our enemies, and we need to encourage everyone in the debate to do the same.
These are valuable things.  As we look across the wider culture tearing friendships and families apart over political choices, what better place to show the power of God's love and transforming grace than one of the most contentious corners of the culture wars?  If you think creationism is all about ignorance, arrogance, and argument, I hope Core Academy will give you pause.  If you are a young-age creationist, I hope we can show you a way to use your passion to spread faith, hope, and love.  To our Savior and Creator, thank You for giving us such a wonderful world.  Please make us more like You as we celebrate Your mighty works!

Core Academy wants to be different.  We want to transform the debate by going back to the basics of loving God and neighbor.  I think that's worthy of my commitment and investment, and I hope you'll join us.


Feedback? Email me at toddcharleswood [at] gmail [dot] com. If you enjoyed this article, please consider a contribution to Core Academy of Science. Thank you.