Friday 28 January 2022

Theology in Scotland 28, 2 (2021) on Theology and the Environment

Coinciding with COP26  having taken  place  in  Glasgow  in  November 2021, the contributions to the latest issue of Theology in Scotland are devoted to theology and the environment. The articles are available as pdfs from here.

Lina Toth and Doug Gay

Editorial: Theology and the Environment

The co-editors reflect briefly on what has historically been a complex relationship between ecology and the Christian faith before giving an overview of the issue's contents.

Pat Bennett and Richard Bauckham

Rediscovering the Community of Creation

The biblical scholar Richard Bauckham’s 2010 book Bible and Ecology provides a useful jumping-off point for his conversation with liturgist and writer Pat Bennett on humanity’s relationship to the rest of creation in the context of the current ecological crisis. Their discussion reflects on Bauckham’s view that a correct biblical understanding of this relationship requires us to read beyond Genesis 1:26–28’s mandate of human dominion over other living creatures. They explore how, rather than a relationship of dominance (which has been used by some to justify exploitation of the earth’s resources), the full picture the Bible presents is one where humans are part of a community of creation alongside other creatures.

Graeme McMeekin

Scottish Lenses, Languages and Landscapes: Engaging Evangelicals with Environmentalism

This article points out the dissonance between young people’s environmental and justice concerns, and the lack of sufficient interest in the ecological aspects of Christian witness in Scottish evangelical circles. Reminding us that language matters enormously – as illustrated by the tensions even around the terminology used to describe the current ecological challenge – it explores the anthropological lens through which evangelicals tend to view the created world, and suggests a pragmatic response in terms of the kind of images and language that would naturally speak and relate to evangelical believers.

Robyn Boeré

How Can We Love What We Don’t Know?: Children and Ecological Care

This article addresses the intersection of child ethics and ecological ethics, arguing that ecological care should be viewed as a shared endeavour between children and adults, where each have something to offer to and learn from the other. It is incumbent on adults to foster an embodied, intimate relationship with nature as something that is key to children’s moral development, including their morality of ecological care. This perspective also provides a model of discipleship for adults, characterised as a Rahnerian environmentally-conscious second childhood: by recollecting, observing and mimicking children’s relationship with nature, adults can learn to become like them in their care for the earth.

Stuart C. Weir

Work and the Shema

This article offers a proposal for a spirituality of work that takes its inspiration and guidance from the Shema, ‘the greatest commandment’. Drawing attention to the Hebraic holism and its incorporation of the physical expression of loving God with all one’s ‘might’ or ‘strength’, it calls for a ‘somatic revival’ of human work. It highlights the harmful effects of the sedentary working conditions that have come to characterise the working lives of many in today’s Scotland, and urges the development of a spirituality of work that takes a fuller account of the Shema, ‘which moves its utterers to working in a way that ignites soul, mind and body […] to implement afresh the greatest commandment as integrated in active Christian living’.

Anna Fisk

Review Essay: The Double Edge of Lament: Love and Justice at the End of the World

Written in the run-up to the COP26 summit held in Glasgow, this review essay reflects on theological tools for the climate justice movement in conversation with five recent books.

Jock Stein

Two Poems

Theology in Scotland on arts and culture is a new section which we hope will have a regular appearance in the journal, featuring creative work of Scottish artists, theologians and practitioners of faith. On this occasion, Jock Stein, a Church of Scotland minister who took up writing poetry in his retirement, shares two poems which speak of his own hopes for COP26 and beyond.


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