The Reformed Church Center Looks at Creation Care with Reformed Journal Authors
The Reformed Journal is the descendent of two distinguished journals, published since 1951, and the blog presence of one of those, called “The Twelve” and appearing since 201i. It is now a daily digital publication, featuring a regular rotating group of twelve authors with various guests. It seems natural that the Reformed Church Center, called to help people think about being Reformed in the twenty-first century, would work with Reformed Journal authors.
One of the most pressing issues of our time is climate change and what theologically gets called Creation care. How do we talk about this leaning more into theology than politics? What if a Reformed view of eschatology referred not so much to a time as to a place, and what if that place is God’s world, created to be good? How do we think of environmentalism as an eschatological issue, and what is our responsibility? What are the implications for local church ministries?
These are the kind of questions which have led the Reformed Church Center to invite a group of Reformed Journal authors who write regularly about Creation care issues into a conversation. The first round of that conversation will take place on Wednesday, 16 November, 12 noon to 1:30 pm, in the program “Coming to Our Senses: Creation Care, Communion, and Consummation.” Participants will be invited into the conversation. After this, the authors will spend time writing and thinking, coming back together at the Reformed Church Center over the next couple of years to talk about where their thinking is taking them and us.
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. His forthcoming book, Following Jesus in a Warming World, is set to be published by InterVarsity Press in February 2023.
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.
This colloquy will be held via Zoom and, like all Reformed Church Center programs, is free for anyone who wishes to participate. Even so, all participants must register at https://us06web.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_l0_Pt3LOSwaz6PvVX04cSg.