Celebrating and Caring for Creation is a natural part of Houghton's identity and character. As a Christian college, we share with all Christians the responsibility of stewarding and nurturing the marvelous gift of the God's creation. We also have the particular calling of enlarging our understanding and appreciation for the creation--both through the lens of the arts and through the lens of the sciences.
Further, this task of magnifying creation as both artists and scientists is something that we are called to do, not only for ourselves, but also so that we can bring this same understanding to the larger communities of which we are a part. Finally, we at Houghton have been lavishly blessed with the privilege of living very close on a daily basis to the beauty of creation.
At the beginning of the 21st century this special responsibility of understanding, treasuring, and caring for Creation as Christians confronts us as never before. The environment is threatened in increasingly complicated ways as more and more human beings throughout the world seek to benefit from nature for the short term--with a sense of reckless abandon about the long term consequences. We are all guilty of taking the creation for granted. (We at Houghton may be even more guilty of taking the creation for granted precisely because we live so close to it!)
At this moment in history, we at Houghton are called in our thinking and in our living to craft together a properly Christian approach to these issues. The Book of Genesis gives us a very clear starting place. It sets out at least two principles that must guide our work. First, we have a special charge from God our Creator to care for Creation. We are stewards and we will be held accountable for how we have managed the estate. So, on the one hand, we cannot treat nature lightly. Second, Genesis states clearly that God, not nature, was "in the beginning." While we must not treat nature lightly, we are not nature worshippers. We must not fall into the current line of thinking in our culture that would talk about nature as if it were God.
As created beings, we have been given the gift and the responsibility from our Creator to enjoy and to care for the garden--as it were. In imitation of our Creator God, we are invited to work out the particular implications of the general principles given to us in Genesis. This year, the Creation Care Task Force and our visiting scholar, Dr. Matthew Sleeth, have been charged with facilitating our community thinking and practice at Houghton College as we seek to live more intentionally in our enjoyment and in our care of Creation.
Shirley A. Mullen
In the fall of 2008 President Mullen joined over 600 other college and university presidents by signing the President’s Climate Commitment. This commitment calls Houghton to exert real, active leadership in being good stewards of God’s Creation.
For more information check out the President’s Climate Commitment website.