A Third Colloquy to Wrap Up This Creation Discusssion
In October of 2022, the Reformed Church Center began a discussion of Creation Care as Eschatology, as work of fulfilling the Reign of God. This was also an experiment in working with the Reformed Journal blog, as authors from that blog led the discussion here and in posts over there, creating a bibliography that is linked to this page.
Now it is time for the third and final colloquy in this particular series. You’re invited to join us for “Creation: Care, Communion, and Consummation, Part 3” on Thursday, April 18, 2024, 12:00 noon to 1:30 pm Eastern Daylight Time, via Zoom.
Creation care is a huge topic, encompassing multiple disciplines and touching almost every corner of society. It can be easy to feel overwhelmed by the scale and apathetic about how to respond. How can Christians acknowledge the immensity of the problem while at the same time not be swallowed up by despair? In this session, we will explore one critical response to the threats of biodiversity loss, ecosystem decline, pollution, and climate change: advocacy. We will explore how advocacy is portrayed throughout Scripture, examine the lives of some of the church’s patron saints of advocacy, and even practice a bit of advocacy ourselves. Through it all, we will discover that, far from virtue signaling or performative “wokeism,” Christian advocacy for justice is the heritage of each and every follower of Jesus.
Kyle Meyaard-Schaap is the Executive Director of the Association for a More Just Society-US. He holds an degrees from Calvin University and Western Theological Seminary (M.Div. ’16), and is a minister in the Christian Reformed Church in North America (CRCNA). For the last ten years, he has educated and mobilized Christians around the world to address the climate crisis as an act of discipleship and neighbor-love. Kyle has been named to Midwest Energy Group’s 40 Under 40, the American Conservation Coalition’s 30 Under 30, and the Grist 50 Fixers cohorts for his work on climate change education and advocacy. In 2020, he was named a Yale Public Voices Fellow on the Climate Crisis. His work has been featured in national and international news outlets such as PBS, NPR, CNN, NBC News, New York Times, Reuters, and U.S. News and World Report. His first book, Following Jesus in a Warming World: A Christian Call to Climate Action, was published by InterVarsity Press in February 2023.
Josh Parks is a PhD student in religious studies at the University of Virginia. He holds degrees from Calvin University, Western Michigan University, and Princeton Theological Seminary. His current research is on religion and the Walt Disney Company, and he is also interested in the role of medievalism, fantasy, and wonder in American religion. His religious biography of Walt Disney is under contract with Eerdmans for the Library of Religious Biography series. He is also a violinist and has played frequently in worship services, chamber groups, and orchestras.
Debra Rienstra is professor of English at Calvin University, specializing in early British literature and creative writing. She is the author of four books—on motherhood, spirituality, worship, and ecotheology/climate change—as well as numerous academic essays, literary essays, and poems. Her most recent book is Refugia Faith: Seeking Hidden Shelters, Ordinary Wonders, and the Healing of the Earth (Fortress, 2022), a book that combines theology, nature writing, and biological principles to consider how Christians must adapt our faith and practice for a climate-altered planet.
Tim Van Deelen is a professor of wildlife ecology at the University of Wisconsin – Madison and has taught at the Au Sable Institute of Environmental Studies for nearly two decades. Tim’s degrees include Michigan State University (Ph.D.), University of Montana (M.S.) and Calvin University (B.S.). Tim’s academic specialties include the population dynamics of large mammals and predator-prey interactions, and he is a frequent contributor to the Reformed Journal Blog.
Thomas Boogaart, Dennis and Betty Lou Voskuil Chair of Old Testament emeritus at Western Theological Seminary (WTS) and General Synod Professor of Theology emeritus, will moderate the conversation. During his thirty-two years at WTS, he helped start The Bridge (a third world store seeking to relieve hunger by offering third world artisans a fair price for their crafts) and the Community Kitchen (offering a hot noon meal to the food insecure). He also worked with Jeff Barker, a theater professor at Northwestern College, to stage the biblical dramas of the Old Testament, and with Travis West and Pam Bush to launch an interactive Hebrew curriculum.
Renée House, a member of the Reformed Church Center Committee, recently retired from her full-time ministry at the Old Dutch Church in Kingston, New York, where she served for nine years. Prior to accepting the call to Old Dutch, she served on the faculty of NBTS for twenty-five years as Director of the Library, Academic Dean, and Professor of Practical Theology, and as a General Synod Professor of Theology. In retirement, her ministry continues in local congregations, Mid-Hudson Classis, the Regional Synod of New York, Kingston Interfaith Council, and the Kingston Coalition for Housing Justice, which she helped to create.