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. 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. 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. Eric Steinkamp - NZ Terrestrial Ecosystems (Northwest Uni., WA)

Dr. Eric Steinkamp - NZ Terrestrial Ecosystems (Northwest Uni., WA)

Eric Steinkamp is Professor of Environmental Science, and Math and Science Department Chair at Northwest University, based in Kirkland, Washington. Dr. Steinkamp holds a B.S. in Forestry from the University of Illinois, an M.S. in Forest Management from Stephen F. Austin State University, and a Ph.D. in Forest Science from Colorado State University. He also has a Masters in Divinity from the Assembly of God Theological Seminary. Dr. Steinkamp’s interests include application of environmental technologies in developing countries, studying alpine ecosystems, and the interplay between Christian theological understanding and environmental stewardship.

Dr. Bret Stephenson - God and Nature

Having taught CCSP's "God and Nature" class during (nearly) consecutive semesters over the past four years (both Belize and New Zealand), Bret Stephenson has become something of a regular on the CCSP roster. Bret holds a PhD in theology from the University of Edinburgh, Scotland (no accent acquired), and was for three years a lecturer in environmental studies at Baylor University in Waco, Texas (again, no accent acquired). Bret calls the "emerald city" of Seattle, Washington his beloved home, but he and Aussie wife Priscilla have recently moved back to her cherished home town of Melbourne, Australia (again, no accent acquired…yet). Bret is currently a visiting lecturer in Christian theology and ethics to several Australian theological colleges and seminaries. Outside of his "shaky ivory tower" existence, Bret enjoys rock climbing and the occasional friendly game of Ultimate, soccer, or (although decidedly non-aerobic) The Settlers of Catan. Bret is very happy to offer students a mid-day clinic in any of the above activities if so desired!

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. Ellen Davis - God and Nature (Duke Divinity School, NC)

Dr. Ellen Davis - God and Nature (Duke Divinity School, NC)

Ellen F. Davis is Amos Ragan Kearns Distinguished Professor of Bible and Practical Theology at Duke University Divinity School. The author of eight books and many articles, her research interests focus on how biblical interpretation bears on the life of faith communities and their responses to urgent public issues, particularly the environmental crisis and interfaith relations. Her most recent book, Scripture, Culture, and Agriculture: An Agrarian Reading of the Bible(Cambridge University Press, 2009), integrates biblical studies with a critique of industrial agriculture and food production. Her other publications include Wondrous Depth: Old Testament Preaching (Westminster John Knox, 2005);Who Are You, My Daughter? Reading Ruth through Image and Text (Westminster John Knox, 2003), an annotated translation accompanying woodcuts by Margaret Adams Parker; Getting Involved with God: Rediscovering the Old Testament (Cowley, 2002); and The Art of Reading Scripture (Eerdmans, 2003), co-edited with Richard Hays. A lay Episcopalian, she is active as a theological consultant within the Anglican Communion and since 2004 has worked with the Episcopal Church of Sudan to develop theological education, community health, and sustainable agriculture. She is currently completing a book on biblical prophecy and prophetic perspectives in contemporary theology and ministry.

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.