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Jonathan Moo (2010-present), Assistant Professor of Theology

I have now completed my third year at Whitworth, and I'm pleased to say that it was the best yet. It was a full year, with lots of teaching, writing, conferences and --best of all --good times with students.

Last July, my wife, Stacey, and I returned to England for a few weeks. It was a blessing for Stacey in particular to reconnect with many of our good friends. I was busy with three conferences, but we were able to take an extra week for an idyllic holiday at a farm in the mountains of the Marche of central Italy and to stop in Chicago on the way home for my sister's wedding.

Upon our return and through last autumn, I was busy finishing the writing of a new book, Hope in an Age of Despair: The Gospel and the Future of Life on Earth, co-authored with geophysicist Robert White of the University of Cambridge. The book is now finished and is due to be published by Intervarsity Press (UK) this summer. In November, I travelled to Jamaica to give a plenary lecture at the Lausanne Global Consultation on Creation Care and the Gospel. I was profoundly challenged by the stories I heard there from representatives from 23 countries, all of whom are working in different ways to address the interlinked issues of the environment, poverty, reconciliation and justice. Following the work of the consultation, a "Call to Action" on creation care and the gospel was released (http://www.lausanne.org/en/documents/all/2012-creation-care/1881-call-to-action.html).

I am pleased to say that one modest way in which Whitworth is addressing this challenge is by starting an environmental studies program, and I am thrilled to be a part of this. I've also been involved this last year with ongoing planning for Whitworth's Verbrugge Environmental Center, and this summer I look forward to working with recent Whitworth graduate and artist Lauren Hammerstrom to develop educational materials for the site. This is all, of course, in addition to my "bread and butter" work of teaching Greek and New Testament, which continues to be wonderfully fulfilling and which next January will take me, along with Jim Edwards and 25 or so students, to Turkey for a course on early Christianity. I also have a couple of new writing projects that I will be pursuing this summer --in between what I hope will be lots of time spent on local rivers and in the mountains!

Last autumn kept many of us busy with a search for an assistant professor in biblical studies. We had an extraordinary number of applicants, and the search involved a lot of hard work and late nights. But it was fun to work closely with colleagues from across the university, along with one of our impressive students, Rachel Toone. The search provided an opportunity to reflect on what makes Whitworth such a distinctive place to teach theology and the Bible, and I was reminded again what a rare privilege it is to be a part of a generous, open and supportive academic community that remains firmly rooted in Christ and the gospel. Most importantly, the search ended successfully with the hiring of Old Testament scholar Will Kynes. Last summer, when I began asking people around the U.S. and England to recommend potential candidates, Will's name came up again and again; we on the search committee now understand why. He's going to be a tremendous addition to our department, and we eagerly look forward to welcoming him, Vanessa and their two daughters to Spokane this summer.

Finally, in January I taught a new course, Ecology and the Bible, at Tall Timber Ranch, in the Cascade Mountains. I have never had so much fun teaching . . . indeed, rarely have I had so much fun doing anything. The snowy mountains were spectacular; the cross-country skiing and snowshoeing invigorating; the long, hot-chocolate fueled discussions around the woodstove (occasionally interrupted by the distraction of a curious pine marten or coyote peering in the window) stimulating and engaging; and the time living and playing with a diverse group of 20 amazing students joyful and life-giving. (We also participated in the trial of an adventure race that Tall Timber Ranch was hosting for Wycliffe Bible Translators later in the winter, and I am proud to say that my team won --despite having an old professor to slow them down!)

Stacey and I have continued to spend some wonderful evenings with this remarkable group of students, and we look forward to hiking, backpacking, gardening and fishing with some of them this summer and expanding the group next year. The joy we have found in spending time with students, in thinking together about how we can live simpler, Christ-centered lives, and in working together in the soil (as our organic garden continues to expand) has reaffirmed for Stacey and me our calling to student-centered ministry. It has also prompted us to dream of finding a farm near Whitworth where we could cultivate an intentional community of work and worship with a small group of students and perhaps fellow faculty. It may be wildly unrealistic from the standpoint of logistics and finances, but, if this year has taught us anything, it's that God can do all things . . . and so we entrust ourselves and our future to his good keeping. In the meantime, we are excited to get on with the rich and rewarding work he has given us to do here at Whitworth.



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