• From Paradox to Possibility: Gauging the Unique Contribution of Christian Voices to the Public Discussion of Ecological Crisis

      Kuipers, Ronald A.; Gerritsma, Sara L.; Institute for Christian Studies (Institute for Christian Studies, 2008-12)
      This thesis argues that western societies are caught in a paradox: Individuals and groups are increasingly concerned about the harmful effects humanity is having on the earth's health, while at the same time environmental degradation increases and societies are doing relatively little to stop environmentally harmful actions. Chapter 1 explores the deeper roots of our current situation, arguing that westerners are caught up in a harmful ideology that prioritizes economic growth and material prosperity at all costs, which means that steps to protect the environment will not be undertaken if these steps will have negative (or even neutral) impacts on economic growth. Suggesting a theocentric (God-centered) alternative to this harmful ideology, chapter 2 defends the expression of openly religious perspectives in the public political discussions of environmental crises but also emphasizes the responsibility of all participants to dialogue in a respectful, civil manner and to be open to truths coming from marginal perspectives. Finally, chapter 3 gives a number of concrete suggestions for public policies that can address the roots of ecological degradation and engage citizens who are ready and willing to take steps to reduce their environmental footprint.
    • Written Into the Land: Use, Identity and the Human Awakening to an Eloquent Creation

      Kuipers, Ronald A.; D'Angelo, Christopher J. M.; Institute for Christian Studies (Institute for Christian Studies, 2009-02)
      This thesis argues that human land use is a decisive yet commonly overlooked indication of the sort of people we are. As such, to grasp that we live in a world in 'ecological crisis' requires grappling with the moral, spiritual and narrative underpinnings and effects of those twentieth century shifts in urban/suburban development and farming practices that have so dramatically altered the North American cultural and geographical landscape. In particular, this dilemma is approached from a biblically informed Christian perspective. Chapter 1 proposes that understanding and experiencing the world as Creation requires accounting for the embodied and wondrous character of existence. Chapter 2 examines aspects of the biblical narrative that provide resources for rethinking destructive land use patterns. In conversation with agrarians and new urbanists, Chapter 3 provides an agrarian ethic for urbanites; a vision rooted in agrarianism that acknowledges how deeply the fate and health of cities and farms are intertwined.