Those of you who have had to contend with my complaining about study this semester deserve medals. Sadly I don’t have any medals – but I do have cupcakes if that will suffice! Thank you my gracious friends – I truly am grateful for your support.
The big essay is done and dusted. I am quite happy with it actually. Despite my big ‘opps’ moment of getting dates mixed up, I have loved this subject and the challenge’s it has provided. I have learnt so much more than I imagined I would. This subject was previously so foreign and I have had to really push myself to research and comprehend much of the required reading. I love that process and particularly when the outcome is more than an essay; my theology has been radically transformed over the last 6 months. So I thought I should post a couple of snippets (at my discretion!) from the essay, they will obviously be my favourite bits!
Quick note 1: I have discovered a new (new to me) brilliant thinker, scholar, theologian named Willis Jenkins. I have become quite the fan of his work. He is worth reading if you are at all interested in care of creation theology (particularly his recent article in International Bulletin of Missionary Research is excellent).
Quick note 2: I am really keen to explore the idea of salvation stories (see below) and the way in which we (Western, Anglo-Saxon, middle class people), and other cultures, not only tell the story of salvation, but what we decide comes under the umbrella of salvation. Something to keep pondering and work on I think.
Little reminder of the essay questions:
How does a ‘care for creation’ theology fit into a missiological context? Discuss this relationship between ecology and the theology of salvation, taking into consideration how this affects the mission of the local church.
Couple of snippets:
The present struggle for the church is to displace humans from the centre of soteriology and instead take a careful and original look at salvation to deal with the problems of the environment (Jenkins, 2003:401, 402). As Willis Jenkins suggests, more than ‘green-washing the church’ needs to occur if there is going to be an appropriate and biblical response to the current environmental crisis (Jenkins, 2003:403). Jurgen Moltman, like Jenkins, suggests that the church’s salvation stories need to be reconstructed to introduce and implement a care of creation theology (Jenkins, 2003:403; Moltmann, 2000:110). It will only be as the environment takes it place alongside humanity as having redemption qualities that care of creation will become an essential part of the church’s mission.
The current environmental crisis leaves the church with a multitude of pertinent questions which will form and define the church’s ecclesiology, soteriology, missiology, and care of creation theology and praxis. Missiology is more than a framework to validate care of creation; caring for creation has missiological implications and purposes. Not simply because God has deemed creation to be part of Christ’s redemption, but because the degradation of the earth contributes to the degradation of the poor and powerless. God has proclaimed that creation matters and that his redemption reaches to the created order.
Whether or not the church can begin to make a connection between salvation and creation will radically change the way the world views the church, but more importantly, it will also determine the church’s mission to the world.
The local church finds itself in more than an ecological crisis; essentially it is also confronting a new and serious theological crisis. The manner in which the church addresses the sociological and ecological place it finds itself will determine their way forward.