How might we probe more deeply, at this historical moment, how love and care for the earth can be understood as central to our Christian faith and practice?
Overview: Though it is common in church circles to hear earth care and sustainable living extolled in broad terms, as moral virtues honored as well by nonbelievers, we may not always appreciate just how we can find these values centered in our Christian faith and spirituality. What, after all, can we say is distinctive about a faith-inspired approach to ecological consciousness? And how might the recent attention to issues of ecojustice and marginalized communities bear on our understanding of the natural world as God’s Creation? This short course aims to address such questions.
Course Instructor: John Gatta is currently professor emeritus at the University of the South, Sewanee, as well as at the University of Connecticut. A full record of his professional activities is available here: http://www.sewanee.edu/media/academics/english/CV19JG.pdf . He has published widely on both literary and theological topics, and has previously offered presentations in various settings based on the subject matter of this course.
Session I. God, Creation, and Our Place on Earth
- The True Nature of God and of material Nature
- Why a Trinitarian God?
- A Good and Gifted Cosmos
Session II. “The world is out of joint”: Sources of human alienation and environmental dysfunction
- origins of sin, death, dislocation, and tragedy
- from prehistory through industrialism to the loneliness of life in the Anthropocene
- the full meaning of “salvation,” from the Scriptures and for our time.
Session III. The Transfiguration of Christ and Creation
- The restorative sense of “a new creation”
- Jesus’ Transfiguration enfolds a visionary promise of personal and cosmic transformation.
Session IV Contemplating Creation—While inhabiting “a world of wounds”
- The difficult balance between hope and despair in a “world of wounds” (Aldo Leopold)
- Cultivating a Contemplative Disposition and Practicing “Meditation on the Creatures”