God and Nature

COURSE CREDIT: 4 Credit Hrs

COURSE LEVEL: 300

Central to the mission of CCSP, this course helps students to develop a theology of creation that understands humans as stewards of the earth. Through the study of scripture, and other relevant texts, students explore the theology of creation, biblical stewardship, questions of faith and science, and Christian responses to current environmental problems.

Course Faculty

Dr. Corey Beals - God and Nature (George Fox Uni., OR)

Dr. Corey Beals - God and Nature (George Fox Uni., OR)

I live with my wife, Jillian and two sons, Jonathan (6) and Daniel (4), in a nearly hundred-year-old house across the street from George Fox University where I have been teaching philosophy and theology for the last six years. Philosophers are sometimes parodied as having their heads in the clouds and being of no earthly good, but my love of wisdom has brought me closer and closer to the soil, rather than farther from it. I love to hike, climb, kayak, and walk; I love to dig my hands into garden soil and work with mud, wood or stone in restoring our old house.  (see my blog: dirtsoul.blogspot.com)

I have taught philosophy seminars on Evil, Goodness, Postmodernism, Truth, and Wendell Berry and Creation Care. My writing has been focused on some of these same topics, especially focusing on the ways that we become invisible to one another. The purpose of my teaching, writing and living is to find ways for myself and others to move out of invisibility into faithfully seeing and being seen, knowing and being known and being loved anyway.  Some of the things heard said by people who know me best: My boys: "let's wrestle" My wife: "let's wrestle"; my Men's Group: "look out for that freighter!"; my House Church (including my wife): "we love you anyway.”

Dr. Steve Bouma-Prediger - God and Nature (Hope College, MI)

Dr. Steve Bouma-Prediger - God and Nature (Hope College, MI)

Having lived in Toronto, Los Angeles, and Chicago, I now live in Holland, Michigan (in southwestern Michigan) in a 120 year old house with my wife Celaine and numerous animals with Spanish names (Rosita, Lokita). I have three daughters: Anna graduated from Hope College three years ago and is studying in France; Chara graduated in May of 2014 from Northland College in Ashland, Wisconsin and is serving with the Peace Corps in Paraguay; and Sophia is a second-year student at Hope majoring in Spanish. My wife is a marriage and family therapist, a spiritual director, and an ordained minister in the Reformed Church in America. I teach in the Religion Dept. and am Associate Dean for Teaching and Learning at Hope, where I have been for the past 20 years. I also direct the Environmental Studies program and spend as much time as possible outside, including taking students whitewater rafting, flatwater canoeing and kayaking, and backpacking in the Adirondacks of upstate New York every May as part of a three week long Hope religion course.

I am a graduate (in mathematics and computer science) of Hope College, have masters degrees from the Institute for Christian Studies (in philosophy) and Fuller Theological Seminary (in theology) as well as a Ph.D. in religious studies from The University of Chicago. I have written five books, including For the Beauty of the Earth: A Christian Vision for Creation Care (revised second edition) and Beyond Homelessness: Christian Faith in an Age of Displacement, co-authored with Brian Walsh. I have taught with CCSP for over fifteen years, in both Belize and New Zealand, and am delighted to be a part of this program.

(Photo: Dr. Bouma-Prediger and his daughter backpacking in Kings Canyon, CA)

Dr. Rolf Bouma - God and Nature (Uni. of Michigan, MI)

Dr. Rolf Bouma - God and Nature (Uni. of Michigan, MI)

Rolf Bouma is the Director of the Center for Faith and Scholarship in Ann Arbor, Michigan, and Academic Pastor for the Campus Chapel. He teaches Environmental Ethics and Public Policy courses in the University of Michigan's Program in the Environment and directs the Graduate Fellows program for the Au Sable Institute of Environmental Studies. A native of Michigan, Rolf has a law degree (U.Mich.), an M.Div. (Calvin Seminary), and a PhD (BostonU) in eco-theology. His primary interests are in human valuing of the natural world and ways in which people discern the value God places on creatures and creation. He is married to Sandra, a nutrition specialist who works with bone marrow transplant patients at C. S. Mott Children's Hospital at the University of Michigan. They have three children: Dietrich, Lindsey, and Jalen. Their most loved activities are biking, hiking, birding, camping, and sports (Go Wolverines & Red Sox!).

Dr. Sylvia Keesmaat - God and Nature (Uni. of Toronto, CA)

Dr. Sylvia Keesmaat - God and Nature (Uni. of Toronto, CA)

Sylvia Keesmaat spends her days homeschooling, gardening, feeding cows, chickens, ducks and dogs, chopping kindling, and looking at cool bugs on an organic solar-powered farm where she lives with her husband, Brian Walsh, and their two children. After completing a doctorate in Oxford, Sylvia taught Biblical Studies and Hermeneutics at the Institute for Christian Studies for ten years. In 2004 she left full-time academia to pursue her interests in sustainable living. Currently, she is an adjunct professor at the Institute for Christian Studies and at the Toronto School of Theology. Sylvia is the author of Colossians Remixed: Subverting the Empire (with Brian Walsh, [2004]), Paul and His Story: (Re)Interpreting the Exodus Tradition (1999), and editor of The Advent of Justice (1994). Sylvia has been teaching for CCSP since 2002, and learns something new from each class!

Dr. Michael Lodahl - God and Nature (Point Loma Nazarene Uni., CA)

Dr. Michael Lodahl - God and Nature (Point Loma Nazarene Uni., CA)

Michael Lodahl is Professor of Theology and World Religions at Point Loma Nazarene University in San Diego, CA. Prior to moving to Point Loma in 1999, Dr. Lodahl taught theology at his alma mater, Northwest Nazarene University, for 11 years. An ordained elder in the Church of the Nazarene, Dr. Lodahl has served as a pastor in California, Georgia and Idaho. He is also privileged to have taught or lectured in Israel, Kenya, Russia, Kazakhstan, Germany, the Netherlands, Cyprus and Mexico.

Dr. Lodahl is married to Janice, who grew up in Ohio. They have been blessed with three wonderful children and two fabulous grandchildren – all of whom still live in San Diego.

Dr. Lodahl received his PhD in Theological Studies from Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia, and is the author or editor of eight books, including one in ecological theology, God of Nature and of Grace: Reading the World in a Wesleyan Way (2003), and, most recently, Claiming Abraham: Reading the Bible

Clint Baldwin, M.A.- God and Nature (George Fox Uni. , OR)

Clint Baldwin, M.A.- God and Nature (George Fox Uni. , OR)

Clint Baldwin is Assistant Professor of International Studies; Director of the Center for Global Studies; and Director of the Center for Peace and Justice at George Fox University.  He is also remains affiliate faculty at Asbury Theological Seminary where he taught before coming to George Fox University.

Clint’s undergraduate work is in Psychology and Chemistry-Biology from Asbury College.  He then did post-baccalaureate work in Mandarin and Chinese history at Spring Arbor University with a visiting professor from China’s Sichuan Province before continuing on to complete work in Political Science focusing on international relations and diplomacy at Western Michigan University.  After this, Clint attended seminary focusing on intercultural studies through the lenses of anthropology, missiology and comparative religious study at Asbury Theological Seminary.  His doctoral work from the University of Kentucky engages international and intercultural communication as relates to human rights and peace studies.

Clint has been involved in student life work since undergraduate study.  He and his wife have continued to participate with students in both the formal classroom of the academy and the larger informal classroom of life throughout their marriage.  Clint’s wife is currently University Pastor and Dean of Spiritual Life at their institution and so they are blessed to be able partner together in ministering to, with, and among students as well as being ministered to by them.

As part of his work, Clint travels fairly often to various international destinations.  He is thankful for such opportunities and has found that it has increased his appreciation for the love that God has for humanity.  This is not meant to suggest that suffering goes unnoticed.  It is meant to suggest that Clint believes there is something deeper and more real than the suffering – the very essence of the Creator abiding in us.

Dr. Brian Walsh - God and Nature (Uni. of Toronto, ON)

Dr. Brian Walsh - God and Nature (Uni. of Toronto, ON)

Brian J. Walsh is a Christian Reformed campus minister at the University of Toronto and adjunct Professor of Theology of Culture at Wycliffe College. He has served on the faculty of CCSP since 2002.  He has co-authored with J. Richard Middleton, The Transforming Vision: Shaping a Christian World View (IVP, 1984), and Truth is Stranger than it Used to Be: Biblical Faith in a Postmodern Age (IVP, 1995). With Sylvia Keesmaat he has written Colossians Remixed: Subverting the Empire (IVP, 2004). And with Steve Bouma-Prediger he wrote Beyond Homelessness: Christian Faith in a Culture of Dislocation (Eerdmans, 2008). Brian Walsh and Sylvia Keesmaat and their two children live at Russet House Farm in Cameron, Ontario

Dr. Norman Wirzba - God and Nature (Duke Divinity School, NC)

Dr. Norman Wirzba - God and Nature (Duke Divinity School, NC)

Norman Wirzba is Research Professor of Theology, Ecology, and Rural Life at Duke Divinity School. That's a mouthful! What it means is that Norman teaches and thinks about environmental issues from a farmer's point of view. I think we have lots to learn from farmers because they have been living close to the land for a very long time. The Bible also happens to reflect an agricultural point of view. I grew up as a farm kid in western Canada, thinking I would be a rancher in the foothills of the Rockies. Turns out that I like books more than I like cows and pigs and chickens (though it is sometimes a pretty close call). I love hanging out in a raspberry patch in late spring, collecting God's "red gold," and making salsa in the fall from tomatoes and peppers grown in my garden. I am also a fairly competitive athlete, though I am getting more and more disappointed in my uncooperative body. I look forward to meeting you, enjoying some engaged conversation and learning experiences, and discovering the wonders of New Zealand.

Dr. Loren & Mary Ruth Wilkinson - God and Nature (Regent College, BC)

Dr. Loren & Mary Ruth Wilkinson - God and Nature (Regent College, BC)

Loren and Mary Ruth Wilkinson have been married to each other since 1965, and organized and taught their first Christian “environmental studies” program at Seattle Pacific in 1974.   In 1977-78 Loren was one of the visiting scholars in the Calvin Center for Christian Scholarship’s project on “Stewardship of Creation”, and was editor of Earthkeeping, one of the early books on that subject.   They were on the faculty at the Oregon Extension, a residential learning program in the mountains of Southern Oregon from 1978-1981, and in 1981 joined the faculty at Regent College, a graduate school of Christian studies (affiliated with the University of British Columbia, in Vancouver).  In 1988 they moved to a community-owned farm on Galiano Island (between Vancouver and Vancouver Island), and they have lived there since, teaching courses on “Wilderness, Technology and Creation”, “Theology and Food”, and “Gardening the City of God” (an exploration of the relationship between the garden and the city).   They have written together the book Caring for Creation in Your Own Backyard.  Loren and Mary Ruth have two grown children and three grandchildren. They divide their time between teaching at Regent and taking care of chickens, two dogs and a big garden.   As of S2012 they have taught several times for CCSP in Belize and New Zealand.