I’m currently beginning a project on faith communities and the environment. I’m interested in learning how faith communities, as well as the organizations they support, have made positive contributions in this space and how this might be enhanced. There are specific, sound theological reasons for faith communities to do this (at least from a Christian perspective). There is also the simple fact that good environmental practice contributes to the common good. I’ve been thinking about these things in an informal way for a long time. Those who listen to me preach have probably noticed this already. Now I want to work more directly and intentionally on these questions. Here’s how the project is unfolding:
- I’m beginning while on sabbatical from my pastoral responsibilities. During this time I’ll be doing some graduate study at the University of Ottawa in environmental sustainability, trying to better understand the economic, legal and scientific dimensions of this challenge. Though I think eco-theology is important, I am concerned that a lot of theological reflection on environmental matters fails to actually ‘hit the ground’.
- I then intend to dig deeper into the experience of actual organizations. I’m curious why we’re currently seeing the development of new, faith-based organizations solely focused on environmental matters. Why, for example, has this sort of work not been high on the agenda of mission (or faith-based humanitarian) organizations? Why is it that Christian communities cannot be relied upon to publicaly advocate for creation care?
- I’ll communicate some of what I learn here on my blog. I will also be writing a column for the Mennonite Creation Care Network. As with my other research projects, I intend to share what I learn in scholarly venues as well.