Every now and then a book comes along that is “spot on” for the times. “Eco-Reformation: Grace and Hope for a Planet in Peril,” is such a book.
Bill McKibben writes a very urgent but hopeful foreword followed by a fine preface by the editors, Lisa E. Dahill & James B. Martin-Schramm. Both are affiliated with Lutheran schools, as are many of the sixteen contributors to the book.
Dahill & Martin-Schramm write, “A growing number of theologians, scholars, and activists around the world – including those gathered in this volume – believe that Reformation celebrations in 2017 and beyond need to focus now on the urgent need for an Eco-Reformation.”
Further they write, “The conviction at the heart of this collection of essays is that a gospel call for ecological justice belongs at the heart of the five hundredth anniversary observance of the Reformation in 2017 and as a – if not the – central dimension of Christian conversion, faith, and practice (In collaboration with others among the world’s diversity of religious and spiritual traditions) into the foreseeable future.”
Some titles of the essays that appear in this book are:
- “A Theology of Creation – Foundations for an Eco-Reformation,” David M. Rhoads
- “Creation – Not for Sale,” Larry L. Rasmussen
- “A Haunting Contradiction, Hope, and Moral-Spiritual Power,” Cynthia D. Moe-Lobeda
- “Joseph Sittler and the Ecological Role of Cultural Critique: A resource for Eco- Reformation,” Robert C. Saler
- “Issues of Interdependence in Matters of Creation: An Old Testament Perspective,” Terence E. Fretheim
- “The World is about to Turn: Preaching Apocalyptic Texts for a Planet in Peril,” Barbara R. Rossing. (Rossing’s essay is the most profound and hopeful writing on the Book of Revelation that I have ever read.)
The final Chapter is “Ninety-Five Eco-Thesis: A Call for Churches to Care for the Earth” by Norman C. Habel. These are thought provoking and provide a good springboard for discussion and our own thinking and action.
Each chapter in the book can stand alone, which means you can pick and choose the ones you want to read without losing the overall meaning of the book. This book lends itself well for a reading and study group. I am pleased that the people of the New Scotland Presbyterian Church have expressed a strong interest in doing such, therefore The Rev. Holly Cameron and I will lead a series of Eco-Reformation classes beginning on Earth Day. I can think of no better way to observe Earth Day. We will be learning, sharing, studying, discussing and strengthening our relationship with one another and with the earth.
A word to the wise
I tried to get the book through local book sellers but they did not have access to it. The book lists online for $36, however I got it by contacting Wipf and Stock Publishers directly (541-344-1528). They give a 20% discount for 1-4 books, or 40% discount for five or more books. The ten books I purchased were promptly shipped to me for a shipping fee $21.65. All in all, I think that is good deal and quite affordable.
I close with last of the 95 eco-theses:
“The church should take the initiative to proclaim to the world the good news that the Creator Spirit continues to breathe in and restore all places of suffering and brokenness on Earth, a resurrection begun in Christ and continuing through the church’s own life and ongoing eco-reformation.”