Earlier this month, we hosted the 4th annual Stanley Grenz Lecture Series, featuring Dr. Steven Bouma-Prediger, a professor and prolific author in the realms of theology, ecology, and environmental studies. Dr. Bouma-Prediger is Professor of Religion, Director of the Environmental Studies program, and Associate Dean for Teaching and Learning at Hope College in Michigan. He has written more than 100 articles, essays, and reviews, and his book publications include The Greening of Theology, For the Beauty of the Earth, and Beyond Homelessness: Christian Faith in a Culture of Displacement.
The series included a free lecture, “The Ecological Crisis and the Defilement of Home,” which we’re featuring in its entirety here. In this talk, Dr. Bouma-Prediger shares from his work and wrestles with the devastating realities of environmental degradation and ecological homelessness, inviting us to consider how we might view Earth as oikos, our home planet, and how we might envision ourselves as homemakers in the world around us.
“My sense is that many people today feel in their bones that something is wrong: the world is amiss, the earth is amok, we’re feeling homeless on our home planet. There is more than one kind of homelessness.”
Dr. Bouma-Prediger reflects on our conceptions of economy and technology, arguing that we need a major shift in worldview if we are going to recognize the brokenness in our world and begin to move toward restoration. For the last portion of this lecture, Dr. Bouma-Prediger is joined by a panel including Laurent Daloz, Christine Sine, and A.J. Swoboda for a vibrant conversation about creating a sense of home that fosters shalom, reconciliation, and restoration.
“The biblical Christian view is that the earth is and always will be our home. The Bible, from Genesis to Revelation—it begins and ends with rivers and trees—affirms that we humans are bodily creatures, made from the stuff of the earth and animated by God’s spirit. Scripture insists that God’s intention is to redeem and restore and transfigure the world, not trash it and start all over again. […] The biblical vision of God’s good future is of a renewed heaven and earth, of heaven on earth, a kingdom of peace and justice and a reign of shalom. God is not the great destroyer, but the grand homemaker.”
This year’s Stanley Grenz Lecture Series continued with an informal “brown bag lunch,” in which Dr. Bouma-Prediger engages the biblical vision of shalom and how it might enable us to cut through our ecological deafness. Stay tuned to the Intersections blog for the video from that event.