Bonhoeffer and Climate Change book to launch online
Dr Di Rayson will launch her new book, Bonhoeffer and Climate Change, on Friday, 15 October at 4pm. This online event will be hosted by United Theological College.
The book draws on Dr Rayson’s PhD dissertation, which also formed the basis of an intensive she taught at UTC in November 2020.
Dr Rayson previously told Insights that Bonhoeffer had much to say that could apply to the climate crisis.
“I came into this field as the climate crisis was emerging as an ethical and moral crisis and it seemed like the church was on the back foot,” Dr Rayson said.
“To me, the Christian relationship to Earth and her creatures is such a fundamental part of our tradition that creation care is core business for churches. I wanted better tools to be able to support the church’s activism in this space. Coming from a background in public health, policy, and community development, ecotheology is a good space for me to be able to integrate our scientific knowledge of the world, the neuroscience of what makes us human, with the mystery of our faith.”
“My PhD studied the climate crisis and our response to it through the work of Dietrich Bonhoeffer. Bonhoeffer provides a rich resource for how we respond ethically to challenging situations. He also relies on a Christology of Christ in and through the world, and in the complexity of relationships, which, to my mind, is deeply ecological.”
“Responding to the awe and wonder of our natural world is a universal experience of humans and this is often a good starting point for people to learn about ecotheology or even as a way to share the gospel.”
Dr Rayson said that Eco theology could provide the church with a worthwhile resource for its wider ministry.
“Sometimes I think that other areas of theology are more like specialities within ecotheology, because ecotheology helps us think about relationships: relationships with God, with each other, and with the rest of creation,” she said.
“It positions us as part of the ecology, or the community of life on Earth. When we better understand these relationships it helps us to think through our responsibilities as creatures with particular roles. An ecotheological lens can give us richer insights into Scripture as well so it has a practical impact on our preaching, pastoral care, and personal growth.”
“It also helps us respond to historical ways of thinking about humans and the environment that have led to the climate crisis: things like dominion theologies that play out as exertion of power and domination. Just as the climate crisis is linked up with other issues of global ethics like poverty, migration, globalised capitalism, ecotheology is also concerned with historic problems of domination like colonisation, technology, and the treatment of women. I see ecotheology as a way to capture the complexity of both our sociocultural experience, and our ecological experience within the biosphere.”
The book launch will be hosted by UTC’s Dr Mike Mawson. Professor Terry Lovat will launch Bonhoeffer and Climate Change.
Bonhoeffer and Climate Change: Theology and Ethics for the Anthropocene launches via Zoom on Friday, 15 October from 4pm to 4:30pm. The Zoom link is available here.