Vol. 10, Issue 1:
Chelsea Langston Bombino (Contributing Editor)
9. The Basis and Orientation of Public Justice: God's Sabbath with Creation An Interview with James Skillen, Part 2
This is the second in a two-part interview with James Skillen, the founder of the Center for Public Justice (CPJ). CPJ’s Chelsea Langston Bombino discusses with Skillen the themes of his newest book, God’s Sabbath with Creation: Vocations Fulfilled, the Glory Unveiled (Wipf and Stock, 2019) and how these themes connect to institutional pluralism, including the diverse spectrum of faith-based civil society organizations with varying mission focus areas. In his new book, Skillen explores how every part of human life, including the associational relationships and organizations we form, point beyond themselves to God’s purposes for creation and its fulfillment through Christ in the age to come. The first article of the two-part series explored both the perspectival and practical implications of this new body of work for sacred sector institutions. This article will expand on those themes, with a particular emphasis on how the creation story both reveals and anticipates the fulfillment of all things in the sabbath glory of God. In particular we focus on what Skillen identifies as the sixth-day identity of human creatures exhibited in associations and institutions. We take up complex questions about human organizations, specifically faith-based civil society organizations, that resist easy answers. We also attempt to make explicit how these biblical themes can impact and shape institutions that are established on the basis of explicit confessional principles and for distinctive confessional purposes.
8. The Basis and Orientation of Public Justice: God's Sabbath with Creation An Interview with James Skillen, Part 1
This is the first in a two-part interview with James Skillen, the founder and former president of the Center for Public Justice. CPJ’s Chelsea Langston Bombino discusses with Skillen the themes of his newest book, God’s Sabbath with Creation: Vocations Fulfilled, the Glory Unveiled (Wipf and Stock, 2019) and how those themes relate to the just ordering of a diversified society, which includes faith-based organizations of civil society. In the new book, Skillen makes the case for how all of creation, including human institutions and organizations, are both revelatory and anticipatory of the fulfillment of all things in Christ. In this interview, Bombino and Skillen discuss big-picture ideas related to God’s dynamic purposes for creation, especially for humans created in God’s image. Skillen expands on how everything that humans do in this age, both personally and in associations, has significance for the age to come. These ideas have deep resonance and implications for explicitly faith-based civil society organizations and the services they render.
7. Unleashing the Potential of Faith-Based Universities to Support Faith-Based Civil Society Part 3: Practical Strategies for FBUs
Civil society, especially faith-based organizations, is uniquely effective at helping people, particularly in developing character and learning the ideas and ideals critical for human effort. Faith-based universities are the rare institutions in society with both the understanding of human complexity and the capacity to assist organizations to be more effective. This article, the third in a series, explores some ways faith-based universities can harness their resources, spiritual animating values, and expertise to support faith-based nonprofits and congregations in their communities. Professor John Larrivee of Mount St. Mary’s explores how FBUs, through engaging faith-based civil society, can (1) help students deepen their engagement with the faith-based social sector beyond service and connect their personal service with the larger structural questions and answers civil society provides, and (2) help the organizations themselves to be more efficient.
6. Unleashing the Potential of Faith-Based Universities to Support Faith-Based Civil Society Part 2: Practical Implications for FBUs in Forming Civil Society
This article, the second in the three-part series by John Larrivee, explores how faith-based universities (FBUs), like Mount St. Mary’s University, a Christian university in Maryland, can harness their resources, spiritual animating values, and expertise to support faith-based nonprofits and congregations in their communities - specifically through establishing a Center for Civil Society. Civil society, especially faith-based organizations, is uniquely effective at helping people, particularly in developing character and learning the ideas and ideals critical for human effort. Faith-based universities are the rare institutions in society with both understanding of human complexity and the capacity to assist organizations to be more effective. This article, the second in a series, explores some ways faith-based universities can harness their resources, spiritual animating values, and expertise to support faith-based nonprofits and congregations in their communities. This article, by Professor John Larrivee of Mount St. Mary’s, poses two themes that capture approaches that can be done internal and external to the university to support civil society: 1. Why does my service matter? 2. Serving those who serve.
5. The Sacred Sector, Creation Care, and Public Justice
Public justice insists that caring for the earth is the responsibility of every human institution in society, including government, individuals and diverse civil organizations – from churches and schools, to families and organizations that care about the environment. Many such organizations are inspired by sacred animating beliefs about their responsibility to steward the care of creation. In fact, there are many religious nonprofits of diverse spiritual backgrounds that are committed to supporting the environment through sustainable practices, education, service, advocacy, and more. This article will outline the key philosophical principles undergirding a public justice approach to creation care, holistically addressing the vast environmental challenges Christian citizens and other individuals face today. It will then explore reasons why having such a variety of organizations representing distinct sacred beliefs and missions is critical in order for our pluralistic society to holistically address the vast environmental challenges we face today.
4. Unleashing the Potential of Faith-Based Universities to Support Faith-Based Civil Society Part 1: Historical Backdrop
Civil society is the broad term for religions, families, and civic associations formed largely by private/voluntary membership. These are often people’s first and major sources of relationship and development. In academic literature, the church’s contribution to society is often analyzed through this lens of civil society, in both the role of ideas and formation of people in relationships. That includes the work of such groups as the Daughters of Charity, founded by Elizabeth Ann Seton, which provide material assistance and education (which provide both skills and ideals). This article, the first in a three-part series, explores how faith-based universities (FBUs), like Mount St. Mary’s, a Christian university in Maryland, can harness their resources, spiritual animating values, and expertise to support faith-based nonprofits and congregations in their communities--specifically through establishing a Center for Civil Society.
3. Standards for Excellence®: A Holistic Approach to Advancing the Sacred Missions of Faith-Based Civil Society Institutions
Chelsea Langston Bombino with Amy Coates Madsen
Contributing Editor Chelsea Langston Bombino, director of Sacred Sector, an initiative of the Center for Public Justice, spoke with Standards for Excellence® Director Amy Coates Madsen about how this initiative, specifically in partnership with CPJ’s Sacred Sector, helps uphold public justice. Bombino begins the article by providing a framework for how CPJ’s Sacred Sector utilizes the Standards for Excellence resources to help nonprofit organizations. The article concludes in an interview with Amy Coates Madsen. CPJ’s Sacred Sector is a learning community for faith-based organizations and emerging leaders within the faith-based nonprofit sector. This is a community where the diverse faith-based nonprofit organizations that make up the Sacred Sector can turn for resources, community and advocacy that help them to advance their sacred missions. An integrative approach is vital for faith-based organizations to comprehensively embody their sacred missions to the fullest. This multi-dimensional approach must focus on mission-advancement at the intersection of organizational practices, engagement in public policy, and the shaping of a positive public perception.
2. Principled Pluralism: Essential to Advancing a Flourishing Faith-Based Nonprofit Sector
Stephen Monsma and Dr. Stanley Carlson-Thies
A vision of religious freedom for all is one where persons of all religious faiths, and of none, are free not only to worship or refrain from worship as their beliefs require, but also free to live out their faith as citizens active in the public life of the nation and in the faith-based organizations they have formed. This vision for our nation is based on a commitment to religious freedom, pluralism, and tolerance. The result is a pluralist society: one where Catholics, evangelicals, Orthodox Jews, Muslims, Sikhs, nonbelievers, and others are free to live as citizens, health care providers, businesspeople, social-service providers, and public officials as led by their religious or nonreligious beliefs. Pluralism says that diversity such as this is to be expected in a free society and pluralism requires tolerance. Imposed uniformity is the opposite of freedom, pluralism, and tolerance, and we seek common ground where the beliefs, practices, and organizations of those of all faiths and of none are respected and their freedoms protected. Furthermore, a public realm that respects the diversity of belief and practice present in American society is ideal, rather than one that favors one group’s beliefs and practices over those of others.
1. Our Image-Bearing Responsibilities Require Protection of Diverse Civil Society Organizations
Chelsea Langston Bombino
The First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution is both deeply personal and communal, meaning it applies to both individuals and institutions. Different elements of the First Amendment reflect something fundamental about what it means to be human. But American society is experiencing deep pluralism and people ultimately answer questions about what it means to be human through the lens of their sacred animating belief systems. These animating belief systems, or worldviews, are shaped by certain fundamental identities we have as individuals. Many people have core animating beliefs that are explicitly shaped by spiritual values – what we hold most sacred. Everything, from what people eat, the products they purchase, the medications they take, and even civic actions – how people vote, what types of political activities they engage in, the types of policies they support or are engaged with, where they choose to donate their time or skills or money can all be influenced by animating beliefs. The First Amendment protects a series of fundamental freedoms and human exercises: freedom of speech, freedom of the press, freedom of religion, freedom of assembly, and freedom to petition the government. A public justice framework allows for both individuals and institutions to fulfill God's design for them and, in turn, allows us to learn something about what it means to be created in God's image. A public justice framework also aims to ensure human flourishing. To do this, the government must ensure the ability of diverse individuals and communities – especially in our pluralistic society – to continue to flourish.
0. THE SACRED SECTOR AND PUBLIC JUSTICE: DIVERSITY IN THE PUBLIC SQUARE
Chelsea Langston Bombino, Contributing Editor
In our pluralistic society, the sacred sector–the diverse faith-based nonprofit sector–serves a crucial role in daily life, shaping citizens and bringing to bear public justice. A new series from Public Justice Review called “Sacred Sector and Public Justice” will explore how diverse organizations within the sacred sector uniquely embrace what they believe to be their sacred purposes and identities. The series will begin by exploring the theological and philosophical principles undergirding why public justice requires supporting civil society organizations with very different purposes and precepts. The series will also explore the types of organizations that make up the sacred sector in America, and make the case for why a diverse society needs such a diverse sacred sector to meet the varied and unique needs of individuals and their communities. This series will include articles from Contributing Editor Chelsea Langston Bombino, director of Sacred Sector, an initiative of the Center for Public Justice (CPJ), and director of the Institutional Religious Freedom Alliance (IFRA), Stanley Carlson-Thies and Stephen Monsma, who co-authored the book entitled “Free to Serve,” Amy Coates-Madsen of the Standards for Excellence Institute, former CPJ President James Skillen in interview format discussing excerpts from his new book God’s Sabbath with Creation, a two-part article from John Larrivee, professor at Mount St. Mary’s University discussing the historical backdrop and practical implications of faith-based universities in forming civil society, as well as an article by Tricia Bosma, a 2019 CPJ Sacred Sector Fellow.