Saturday 15 September 2012

Christian Reflection on Caring for Creation

The latest issue of Christian Reflection, published by the Center for Christian Ethics at Baylor University, is now available, this one devoted to ‘Caring for Creation’. The whole issue is available as a pdf here, and an accompanying Study Guide is available here. The main articles, with their abstracts, are as follows:

Robert B. Kruschwitz
Through the biblical idea of the interwoven created order – in both its cultivated and uncultivated parts – we recognize nature’s significance and worth, and our membership in it. What practices can form us into faithful disciples who rightly care for creation?

Jame Schaefer
Valuing the Goodness of the Earth
Though John Chrysostom, Augustine, and Thomas Aquinas, when reflecting on the creation story, valued all types of creatures, living and non-living, intrinsically for their unique goodness and instrumentally for the sustenance they provide to others, they valued most highly their complex interrelation in the physical world.

Elizabeth Theokritoff
The Book of the Word: Reading God’s Creation
The world is not simply a resource, or a garden entrusted to our care, but above all a revelation of the ways and will of God. How might we recover a robust yet nuanced understanding of nature as truly a book of God’s words with several levels of meaning?

Susan P. Bratton
Appreciating Wilderness
From the scenic wonders of designated wilderness areas to the ordinary oak forests and cattail marshes adjoining suburbs that link them in a natural tapestry, the entire network is an important spiritual resource, an interactive exercise in understanding God’s will and original intentions for creation.

Norman Wirzba
Faithful Eating
The food we eat, both what we eat and how we eat it, may be the most significant witness to creation care Christians can perform. With every bite we communicate what we think about land and water, fellow animals, fellow humans, and God as the Provider of the many gifts of nurture we daily consume.

Burt Burlesdon
Chosen in Creation’s Plan

Burt Burlesdon
Worship Service

Heidi J. Hornik
Caring for Creation in Art

Jeffrey Bilbro
Doing Good Work
Wendell Berry envisions good work – the sort of humble, faithful, and skillful work that connects us caringly to our place and honors the gifts that we have received of land and life, of membership in a holy creation – as the practical means to fulfill our divine calling to love and steward creation.

R. Wesley Smith
Becoming More Mindful of Creation
Christian organizations like A Rocha and Au Sable Institute of Environmental Studies lead congregations to be more involved in earth-keeping by reading theology, exploring the place where they live, educating themselves and others about environmental concerns, and building communities of earth-keeping.

Elizabeth D. Sands Wise
Allelon Community Garden
Working side-by-side in their church garden one hot summer, members formed a better community. They discovered that relationships cultivated over dirt and sweat, rather than donuts and coffee, were different because as individuals they were more vulnerable, and together more productive.

Melissa Browning
Women’s Broken Bodies in God’s Broken Earth
In places where the earth is broken by environmental degradation, people are also broken. The poor and marginalized – especially women and their children – are often shoved by their circumstances to live in and carry the burdens of these broken places.

Other Voices

Presian Burroughs
Reading Scripture Greenly
Three recent works reviewed here can help us develop a biblically inspired ecological consciousness. Although they consider different combinations of biblical texts, they ultimately agree that the Scriptures teach us to live now in accordance with the fullness of God’s new creation.

David C. McDuffie
Christian Vision for Creation Care
By applying the traditional Christian virtues of faith, hope, and love to how we understand the relationship between God and the earth as a part of God’s creation, the three books reviewed here articulate an environmental ethic that is theocentric, scientifically informed, and biblically inspired.

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