Search

Monthly Archives: July 2015

Be Inspired by Storytellers from the Movement

Watch Our Video

Artist Spotlight: The Lighthouse and the Whaler

tlatwbysuzanneprice2

By Molly Connolly, Associate, The Clapham Group

Every good campaign needs good music. For that, the Every Living Thing Campaign turned to indie rock up-and-comers, The Lighthouse and the Whaler, a band from Cleveland, Ohio who, despite their ironic name, care deeply for the earth and everything in it.

I first met TLATW at one of their shows over two years ago in Washington, D.C. It wasn’t long after talking with them that I realized these guys were the real deal. Committed Christians making good music that rings true on a universal level. Little did I know that night, but they would soon ask me to join as a touring member of the band- something I still have the privilege to do from time to time including this fall as they promote their new album, Mont Royal.

Through my day job with The Clapham Group (an architect of the ELT Campaign), I’ve come to understand the importance of music and art in the shaping of culture. That being the case, we asked the band to be involved with the ELT Campaign and use their voice to promote faithful stewardship of God’s creation. I sat down with them recently to ask why they partnered with the campaign. Check it out.

MC: Tell us a little about who you guys are and where you’re from.
TLATW: My name is Michael LoPresti and I was born and raised in Cleveland, Ohio. I’m 1/4 of The Lighthouse and The Whaler. I’ve been in TLATW for about 6 years but I’ve been playing music for much longer. I like beauty, art, sports, learning, and long walks on the beach.

MC: Why are you involved with the Evangelical Statement on the Responsible Care for Animals?
TLATW: We’re involved with the Evangelical Statement Because I believe we have a responsibility to care for our planet and the creatures on it.

MC: As Artists, how does the message of the Statement relate to your work?
TLATW: I think the Campaign is an innovative way of looking at creation and I hope to be a part of something similar with music in the Church.

MC: How are you involved with the campaign?
TLATW: We wrote the soundtrack for the campaign video that’s featured on the homepage, and are excited to play a few shows at some of the national events the campaign will run across the country. We’ll also be talking about it during our upcoming tour which will begin September 14th and run through October 13th. For a complete list of our shows, visit www.thelighthouseandthewhaler.com

MC: Why do you think a statement like this is important?
TLATW: I think it challenges us to think about what we want to stand for and how we choose to stand for it. Hopefully that introspection leads to change in other areas of our faith as well.

MC: Tell us a little about how your faith impacts your art.
TLATW: Art, to me, is really about how you perceive the world around you. It’s our interpretation of what we experience and feel. If spirituality is apart of who you are then it is impossible to remove it from what you create. With that in mind I don’t really think too much about faith in my music. I just create what I feel compelled to and trust that my spiritual self has rubbed off on my art.

MC: Where else can people find you and listen to your music?
TLATW: thelighthouseandthewhaler.com has everything you need. — you can grab tickets for a show in your area or download the new album.

Be sure to follow @TLATW and as they tour their new album “Mont Royal” this Sept-Oct and be sure to catch a show near you and tell them you also signed the Evangelical Statement on the Responsible Care for Animals!

image via consequenceofsound.net

Continuing a Legacy of Compassion

Mark3By Mark Rodgers, Principal, The Clapham Group

Why should we care about animals when there is so much human suffering in the world to contend with?

When I mention my work with the Humane Society of the United States on animal welfare, I often get a quizzical look, followed by a line of questioning.  Why does a conservative Republican care about animals?  Why should any of us worry about animals?

For starters, we are in good company.  John Wesley, William Wilberforce, C. S. Lewis and Billy Graham all thought that animal welfare was worth worrying about.  And as a conservative, I find myself in the contemporary company of Eric Metaxas, Mary Eberstadt, Charles Krauthammer and even Rush Limbaugh.

It is interesting to note that although their individual reasons may vary, they share a universal understanding that animals feel pain, and that inflicting pain unnecessarily on them is contrary to a universal moral law.  Hunters recognize this through “fair chase”, as do farmers through “husbandry”.  Animals are not commodities, and our pets remind us of this daily.

But why have we devoted time and effort to develop a Biblical statement on animal ethics?

First, a Biblical framework and foundation for our daily choices is consistent with the way in which we grow as disciples of Christ.  A few of us felt that we needed a guide on animal stewardship for our own spiritual maturity.  The Bible gives us principles for living, and we daily prescribe them in our lives.  As Abraham Kuyper said, “There is not a square inch in the whole domain of existence over which Christ, who is Sovereign over all, does not cry, Mine!”; which, of course, includes the animals we interact with daily in our homes, our meals and in our environment.

Gathering statements from various faith communities exposed a need for a more thoughtful, comprehensive and collective summary of Biblical principles regarding the Biblical admonishment to have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over every living thing that moves on the earth; a statement which guides but does not prescribe.  One that a diversity of Christian traditions can agree on together.

Second, part of the Christian witness to the world is how we treat the world.  “They will know us by our fruit,” Jesus warns us in Matthew.  What kind of witness is it if we abuse our livestock, or neglect our pets?  And what kind of witness is it if, instead of expressing understanding toward others who have made eating choices different than ours, we dismiss them as “earth worshippers.”  A well formed Biblical framework will allow us to live respectfully with creation and with others.

Third, we live in an interconnected world, and the way in which we view and treat animals is connected to other issues that affect us all.  For example, overfishing leads to a decline in the population of productive fish, thus lowering the number of fish available to eat. Similarly, administering antibiotics to animals to keep them disease free leads to dangerous strains of resistant bacteria that humans then consume.

One of the ways that the treatment of animals is connected to society is reflected in the growing coarsening of the culture.  If we knowingly allow for the abuse of animals in factory farms, and are implicated in it, we create permission for one more area of the society to become desensitized to suffering at large, possibly even human suffering.  This is akin to the broken windows theory that suggests allowing for small violations in the law eventually leads to a permissive society and an overall atmosphere of lawlessness.  The Roman Circus included not only wild and exotic animals tearing each other apart, but humans as well.

Finally, disregarding animal welfare, and tolerating in society a level of animal cruelty whether through animal fighting or abusive factory farming practices affects our souls. Wilberforce wrote that these practices foster, “every bad and base principle of human nature.”

Hopefully reading through this statement will be a helpful guide as you apply the right to rule creation in your daily choices.  I was blessed and deeply affected by helping draft it.

Why I’m An Architect of the Statement on Responsible Care for Animals

328

By Michael Cromartie, Vice President of the Ethics and Public Policy Center

Although many Evangelicals have been involved in the issue of animal welfare for more than 200 years, we have often not stayed true to the focus of including every living thing in our concerns for life and dignity. Navigating this issue isn’t easy — animal welfare often raises concerns where there is certainly room for disagreement. However, one thing that is not open to debate is that as Christian believers we are morally obligated and responsible to act according to Scripture.

The Evangelical Statement on Responsible Care for Animals embodies a tangible and concise exposition of verses from both the Old and New Testaments, demonstrating the significant priority that Scripture places on us to be responsible stewards of all of creation, including animals.

Scripture is clear that God carefully designed creation to reflect His glory, and He protects and cares for creatures as an instructive model for our relationship with them as well. As Job declares in Chapter 12:7-10:  “Ask the animals, and they will teach you, or the birds of the air, and they will tell you; or speak to the earth, and it will teach you, or let the fish of the sea inform you. Which of these does not know that the hand of the Lord has done this? In his hand is the life of every creature and the breath of all mankind.”

How, then, can we as Evangelicals ignore this call from our Creator to responsibly care for animals?

The goal of the Statement and its campaign, Every Living Thing, is to encourage the Evangelical church to become a change agent on this important issue. Most importantly, it seeks to remind us that we are believers in a God that both created and celebrates life.

In 2011, Barrett Duke, Mark Rodgers and I began carefully drafting a document that we hoped would transcend denominational boundaries by agreeing on a common objective: pursuing the good, pleasing and perfect will of God toward every living thing. Today, more than four years later, we are pleased to finally share this Statement with the church and invite fellow believers into a place of productive conversation.  Will you join us?

During the next year of national events associated with this campaign, I hope believers will examine what the biblical treatment of all animal’s means in their own life and work. It is our hope that we all will become more compassionate and active stewards of creation. In my own life, this has meant eating less meat and giving up eating hamburgers (not much, but a start!).

What might all of this mean for you and your family? What might this mean for your local congregation and church community? I hope you will join us in signing the Statement. And we hope you will attend or sponsor a local event in your area, and be inspired to lift your voice among your friends and community by confronting any and all cruelty against animals and celebrating the right stewardship of every living thing.

image via thegathering.com

Ed Stetzer Explores Why Christians Should Care About Animal Welfare

ed_stsetzer_blogIn a 2014 article for Christianity Today, Dr. Ed Stetzer, President of LifeWay Research explores what Christians should think about animal welfare. He shares his initial hesitancy in becoming involved on this issue noting:

“I imagine that mobilizing evangelical Christians for animal welfare advocacy may be a challenge—they’re primarily focused on other concerns. Furthermore, the radicalization of the animal rights movements has, I think, scared away many Christian leaders.”

However, Dr. Stetzer shares that he was prodded to consider another perspective by his daughter, Jaclyn. “On the other hand,” he writes, “my daughter Jaclyn says I need to think more on this. Her favorite verse is Proverbs 12:10, ‘A righteous man cares about his animal’s health.’ And, seeing an end to animal cruelty is certainly a worthy goal, particularly if Christian believers in our churches gain such a passion.”

To read the full article, visit Ed Stetzer’s blog “The Exchange” on Christianity Today online here.

 

image via blog.humanesociety.org

EVENT: August 9, 2015

National Presbyterian Church hosts a discussion on animal welfare and Christian faith

On Sunday, August 9, 2015, Christine Gutleben (Director of Faith Outreach for the Humane Society of United States) and Michael Cromartie (V.P., Ethics and Public Policy Center) led an adult Sunday school class at National Presbyterian Church in Washington, D.C. on the Biblical and theological exploration of why animals are worthy of our respect and care.

The event entitled, “Every Living Thing: Animal Welfare and Christian Faith,” was a preview presentation of the Every Living Thing campaign. As a reminder, our campaign launches on September 30th and invites believers to sign the Evangelical Statement on Responsible Care for Animals and join a year long national movement for compassionate living.

A recording of this discussion is available below:

To learn more about the adult Sunday school classes at National Presbyterian Church, please visit: http://nationalpres.org/sites/default/files/Summer%20Sunday%20School%202015.pdf

 

 

EVENT: September 30, 2015

Every Living Thing Launches at the National Press Club

On Wednesday, September 30, 2015, the Every Living Thing campaign team invites you to join us at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C. for the official launch of the Evangelical Statement on Responsible Care for Animals.

The event will open for registrations at 8:00am and promptly begin at 9:00am EST. From 9:00 to 10:00am there will be a formal press announcement, which will review the Statement’s history, its timeliness and importance to Christianity and culture, as well as the drafters’ hope for the campaign during the upcoming year.

A panel of voices, including drafters: Barrett Duke, Michael Cromartie, and Mark Rodgers, among others, will provide comments on the Statement and answer questions from the press.

Following the announcement, the event will be open from 10:00 to 11:00am for media and attendees to connect with notables at the event with interview requests and individual questions. A light breakfast will be provided.

Have questions about Every Living Thing Press Launch? Contact The Clapham Group

Get tickets and RSVP here

 

bird
You may choose to look the other way but you can never say again that you did not know.
William Wilberforce

Number of ELT Statement Signers

1113

Video directed and produced by Storytellers INK