In November of 2022, the Reformed Church Center hosted authors from the Reformed Journal blog in a discussion of Creation care, in a Reformed sense, looking at it as an aspect of eschatology. That program, “Coming to Our Senses: Creation Care, Communion, and Consummation,” was the beginning of a conversation, which has continued over the last several months in the Reformed Journal.
Please join us Wednesday, November 15, 12:00-1:30 p.m. for a second colloquy in the series on “Creation: Care, Communion, and Consummation.” Tom Boogaart will present a reconstruction of cosmology, creation, humanity, and the Creator in the Hebrew Scriptures that challenges interpretations of these Scriptures that sharply divide spiritual and material realities. Renée House will discuss the ways in which specific Christian doctrines, particularly during the Enlightenment, developed to erode our sense of the relationalities between ourselves, the larger creation, and God as Creator, and in contrast, will consider how these relationalities are preserved in Native American spirituality. Responses to these presentations will be given by Kyle Meyaard-Schaap, Joshua Parks, Debra Reinstra, and Tim Van Deelen, followed by discussion with all the colloquy participants. All of this will look toward a third Reformed Church Center program in April 2024.
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.
Kyle Meyaard-Schaap serves as the Vice President for the Evangelical Environmental Network. Kyle was a Yale Public Voices on the Climate Crisis Fellow in 2020 and was named a Grist Fixer for 2022. His writing and work have been featured in national and international news outlets such as CNN, PBS, NPR, NBC News, Grist, Reuters, and U.S. News and World Report. He is married to Allison and lives in Grand Rapids, Michigan with their sons, Simon and Amos.
Josh Parks is a graduate student in church history at Princeton Theological Seminary. He graduated from Calvin College with a BA in English and music in 2018, and he earned an MA in medieval studies from Western Michigan University in 2020. His research interests include medievalism, fantasy, and American Christianity as well as ecocriticism, ecomusicology, and ecotheology. He is currently writing a religious biography of Walt Disney for Eerdmans’s Library of Religious Biography series. He is also a violinist and plays regularly in worship services and other settings
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.