Guarding the Flame of the Grandeur of God: Christian Life and Practice in an Era of Ecological Crisis

Team Members/Contributors

Elizabeth T. Groppe Xavier University Contact Me

About this sabbatical grant for researchers

Our vocation as Christians is to live in a manner consistent with the love of God that we know through Jesus Christ. As I have grown in my understanding of the ecological crisis, however, it has become painfully apparent that my daily activities as a mother, teacher, and member of a Christian church have unintended harmful consequences. This book will document the incongruities between my faith commitments and my actual life by combining an exploration of the sources of my food, clothing, and energy with study of the scientific literature on the converging crises of ecological degradation, climate change, and mass extinction of species. I will then probe the spiritual roots of my predicament, with a focus on modernity’s rupture of the Christian ethos that approached all creation as a participation in divine order, beauty, and goodness. After Ockham, Bacon, Newton, Descartes, Kant, Darwin, and the industrial commodification of land and labor, we typically assume that forests and soils and oil are nothing more than “resources” for our appropriation. In response to today’s crisis, I will articulate a renewed theology of creation as participation in God that brings classic formulations into conversation with the contemporary science of cosmogenesis and evolution. This renewed sacramental worldview can support an ecological reconstruction of a natural law ethic and a cosmic eschatological hope. The constructive portion of the research project will highlight Christian churches and organizations that are transforming their lives in acts of ecological conversion and exemplify a renewed approach to creation as a sacrament of the divine.