Dr. Jonathan Moo lectures on creation care and Whitworth’s mission within it

By Caleb McGever | Staff Writer

Jonathan Moo, professor of theology, gave a lecture on Wednesday night, April 26, about Whitworth’s mission of creation care. He emphasized the value of knowing, recognizing the significance of the land one lives on and being intentional with the way we care for it, especially on Whitworth’s campus.

He started by welcoming a representative to read the Whitworth land acknowledgment. One of the first parts of the land acknowledgment talks about connection to the land, saying, “Since time immemorial, the Spokane Tribe of Indians has lived prosperously on this land, identifying themselves as “sqélix̣ʷ,” or “flesh of the land.” We pay our respects to their Elders – past, present and emerging – and we acknowledge their continuing connection with the land, waters and culture. We honor God with gratitude for the land itself and the peoples who have fished, hunted, harvested and gathered here for generations.”

In reference to the land acknowledgment, Moo talked about a Christian-based view of how to relate to the land. He referenced the nation of Israel in the Old Testament, saying “they belonged to the land, but the land was not theirs.” He then turned the focus of the conversation to Whitworth.

Moo called for more attention to the nature surrounding Whitworth students. He talked about the unique nature and locations the Spokane region holds, the importance of the Spokane River and the cold, nutrient-rich water the river brings.

He pointed out that for a time, Spokane river was thought to be one of the premier fishing rivers of the world. Historically, “the Spokane river sustained a millennium of civilizations dependent on the salmon of the river,” Moo said.

Not only is the river an important attraction of the region, but places such as Steptoe Butte, Scotsman’s Peak and other places have vital significance as well, according to Moo.

So how does one learn to appreciate the land we live on? For one, exploring and experiencing the land is one of the best ways to begin to understand it. Dr. Moo repeated advice he received from one of his students, that her best way to experience a new area is “To wander, to walk, to get out of the car and to wander around and let herself get lost.”

Dr. Moo also encouraged people to talk to others more familiar with the land to understand it, because they are often the ones who understand it best.

Dr. Moo then presented some data points about the human impact on the environment. He explained how Whitworth is part of a project called the Spokane Climate Project, which is working to analyze and record the effects of climate change in Spokane.

For his final point, Dr. Moo said, “It’s never too late to act justly, to act with love and care and concern. We need all kinds of different views… No one party has all the answers, no one ideology has all the answers. We need each other, we need the diversity of the human community and the diversity we bring together here at Whitworth.”

He urged students to learn about the land they live on, the people who have lived on it and to care for them.

“How does your vocation help us think about these things?” he asked the crowd. He urged students to focus on “the particular and the local” to help inspire love and change in their community.

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