Ecology and Faith: Living Cooperatively in Creation

Course Website (password protected)

That God has a plan, I do not doubt.

But what if His plan was, that we would do better?

– Mary Oliver, Watching a Documentary About Polar Bears Trying To Survive on the Melting Ice Floes

Praising all creation, praising the world:

That’s our job – to keep The sweet machine of it

Running as smoothly as it can.

– Gregory Orr

Our ecological prayer must gradually move from the distant periphery of some abstract theology
or religious institutionalism to the center of our practical spirituality and pastoral ministry. In brief, our theology and spirituality must become ‘incarnate.’ Thy must be closely connected to our fellow human beings as well as to the natural environment.

– Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew

Introduction

There are no shortage of papers, conferences, podcasts, and programs on religious environmentalism and eco-justice. Scientists, scholars, and activists are responding to the urgent need for a new approach to creation care; and yet, individual ministers and their congregations still call out for help in understanding the science and spirit that drive religious environmentalism and eco-justice. This course was designed to introduce people of faith to religious environmentalism, particularly the science that is needed to inform a faithful response to our environmental crisis.

Assignments

All students are asked to read all the science readings and at least three theology readings for each session. All the readings will be available in PDF format on the course website. For day 2 – students will be asked to write an abstract for one of the readings for the day and come prepared to present the main ideas of the reading. Students who take the course for credit will be asked to write a 10-15 pg. paper to be handed in within ten days of the finish of the class. Students are encouraged to talk to the instructors often and a lot about the topic, resources, and goals for their paper. Students are asked to follow the Chicago Manual of Style. The papers are to be submitted online unless a student has a strong preference for hardcopy submission (in which case 2 hardcopies have to be submitted). Attendance Given that this is a four-day intense class, attendance is mandatory at each session.