Climate Change, Ecology, Environment

Pastoral Care and Ecological Devastation: Un-Interpreting the Silence

Climate change has already begun changing the world as we know it–and it is hitting the poor and marginalized the hardest. What is a pastoral response to those working against climate change and those affected by it? Saler explores how as Christians we have the ability to hold onto hope while still naming and experiencing pain. Claims of hope should not muffle shouts of pain, nor should pain eclipse the knowledge that God will bring about a new heaven and earth.

May 17th, 2015 Commencement Speech by Archbishop Antje Jackelén at Lutheran School of Theology Chicago

Archbishop Antje Jackelén addressed the Class of 2015 at the Lutheran Schol of Theology Chicago at their commencment. She notes that when Jesus prayed for the apostles to unite and protect them as they are out in the world. Jesus would not take us away from the world: we are invited into it to share the joy we have in Christ. Climate change will test our ability to hope and to care for our neighbor. Faith leaders need to be at the forefront of this movement that spans all borders.

Review: An Introduction to Christian Environmentalism: Ecology, Virtue, and Ethics (Baylor University Press, 2014)

[1] This book is at heart a textbook, and as such it is a wonderful contribution to the field of Christian environmental ethics. Blanchard and O’Brien set up a series of chapters pairing seven Christian virtues with seven environmental issues. This book is well crafted, accessible, and even occasionally humorous. Undergraduates will enjoy it, as […]

End-of-Life Ethics: An Ecological Approach

Over time, we have moved from a model where doctors have the final say in end-of-life care to patients having ultimate decision-making power. Though both of these have benefits, neither inherently consider the family members involved, or the ways in which hopice and palliative care have developed in recent decades. Doka argues for an ecological approach to end-of-life care in which each of these dimensions is taken into consideration to ensure that the ecosystem of a person’s life–including the grief process of their family–is taken into consideration when preparing for a patient’s passing.

Editor’s Introduction: Environmental Ethics

What is the Christian response to climate change? For this month’s authors, Christians are called to be good stewards of the planet given to us by God. Part of that calling is preventing the worsening of climate change by restoring ecosystems to healthy states. Gil Waldkoenig looks at four case studies of Lutheran ministries that […]

Ecological Restoration and Scenes of Grace

Ecological restoration is a discipline started by conservationist Aldo Leopold in the 1930s. Religious scholars Sarah Taylor and Gertel Van Wieren have provided empirical assessments of ecological restoration among Christians, showing changes in practices and beliefs indicative of the “greening” called for by many others, but seldom empirically documented. Waldkoenig reports four cases of Lutheran involvement with ecological restoration, assesses them in light of practices and beliefs identified by Taylor and Van Wieren, and concludes with a Lutheran theology of ecological restoration in the sites studied and beyond.

From “Church Property” to “Earth-Community”: Ethical Actions for Restoring Land

One of the ways to combat climate change is to help to restore the natural environment. Churches like the ELCA are poised to be able to contribute to this effort because we own land in the form of congregations, social ministry organizations, outdoor ministries, as well as colleges and seminaries. Rhoads argues that we need to reconstruct our ideas of church land ownership to a more stewardship-focused approach. He goes on to list concrete ideas for individuals and congregations to help them realize how many opportunities they have to contribute to the greater movement against climate change.

Restored to Earth: Christianity, Environmental Ethics, and Ecological Restoration (Georgetown University Press, 2013)

Van Wieren, Gretel. Restored to Earth: Christianity, Environmental Ethics, and Ecological Restoration. Washington, DC: Georgetown University Press, 2013, 208 pages, paperback, $29.95.

Before Nature: A Christian Spirituality (Fortress Press, 2014)

H. Paul Santmire. Before Nature: A Christian Spirituality. Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 2014, 253 pages, $39.00

The Future of Ethics: Sustainability, Social Justice, and Religious Creativity (Georgetown University Press, 2013)

Jenkins, Willis, The Future of Ethics: Sustainability, Social Justice, and Religious Creativity. Washington, DC: Georgetown University Press, 2013. Paper, viii + 340 pages. $34.95.