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 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.
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.
The Eloquence of Grace: Joseph Sittler and the Preaching Life. Ed. James M. Childs Jr. and Richard Lischer, foreword by Martin Marty. Eugene, OR: Cascade, 2012.