Eco-Justice Ministries
   Eco-Justice: "the well-being of all humankind on a thriving Earth"
 

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Eco-Curriculum Review for the title
The Greening of Faith: Why the Environment is a Christian Concern (video #1)

This is the general report format.
Shorter and more detailed report formats are also available for this title.

Short Description:   Part 1 of a two-video collection that explores the religious dimensions of caring for the earth. Theologians and environmentalists offer helpful ecumenical perspectives on one of the most pressing and exciting areas of faith and ethics. Detailed study guides included.
Long Description:   Stunning nature photography and the haunting music of Peter Kater, R. Carlos Nakai and Chris White flavor this sumptuous feast of creation themes.

The video delves into Biblical foundations for ecology, creation spirituality in the Christian tradition, nature as sacramental and a source of God’s wisdom, and the reconnection of faith and science. One of the main points is that scientific knowledge is extremely important, but is not enough to maintain a healthy planet. Many of the drivers of destruction are best addressed by religion for it has to do with God’s desire for the planet, human self-concept, morality and action. Science and faith can be strong allies in the preservation and valuing of the natural world. The Church can talk about God and these issues with spiritual wisdom. When is the Church going to realize that earth care is a calling for us?

The video comes with a study guide that engages viewers in deeper discussion of the issues and themes raised. This content will generate more dialogue than a single session can encompass, so the video is useful for more than a single viewing.

One key proposition of the video is that the enormous environmental problems being faced by society will not be resolved by science alone. The environmental crisis requires a deep transformation of both outlook and behavior, and this personal reshaping to a more loving and responsive relationship with the creation is something religion plays a major role in that science, economics and politics does not fully address. This issue of caring for creation is a matter of great importance for people of faith. Our belief in God really matters, when it comes to our way of life and concern for others, both human and all of creation.

The video invites persons into a broader familiarity with the Scriptures, and how failure to fully understand our own sacred wisdom contributes to the destruction of other forms of life. Some texts have been interpreted in ways that have contributed to the destruction of the earth; it is important for us to recognize that part of the story and look more carefully at the scripture and our teachings. The study guide invites discussion of What does the Bible say?; Creation and Worship; From Individual Salvation to Cosmic Salvation; Humans as Co-Creators with God; Made in the Image of God – What does it mean?; the Sacredness of the physical as well as the spiritual; Science and Religion; and The Web of Life.

The discussion strategy is to give viewers the opportunity to respond to what they react to most strongly in what they saw and to share their own perspectives. The discussion then continues by replaying portions of the tape with specific questions to dialogue about or to cite quotes from the video and discuss those. The resource also lists other written, musical, and audio visual resources that persons may want to utilize.

Reviewed by:   Kevin Witt, a United Methodist clergyman from Oregon

Bibliographic & Purchasing Information
Author:   Collection of Presenters
Publication date:   1993 Website for this resource:   none known
We know of 1 source for purchasing this resource.
Address Episcopal Media Center
644 W Peachtree St
Suite 300
Atlanta, GA   30308  
Phone   Fax  
Website www.episcopalmedia.org E-mail    
Price $59.95  Order # 1610 

Target Audience & Course Sessions
Age levels Preschool    Primary    Jr. High     Sr. High     Adult
NOTE: Our reviewer may have checked a wider age range than specified in the curriculum itself.
Optimum class size Class size will be constrained by how many persons can view and hear the video and by the number of spaces for groups to break into groups of no more than 10 for discussion. So a large group could easily use the resource if it was projected to a large screen and the room could be set up in circles for small group discussion following the presentation of the video. If there are multiple groups, some advanced organization will need to be made in pacing the groups so that when video clips are replayed it can be done for all the groups. Otherwise, discussion may need to adapted to quotes rather than repeated viewing of clips from the video itself. 
Normal number/length of sessions If the curriculum's normal lesson plan is followed, there will be 1-4 class sessions each lasting about 30 - 45 minutes
Are suggestions included for expanding/contracting the series? There is a second video in the series on The Greening of Faith: Ethics. That video could expand sessions to 6-8 sessions probably. In addition there are lots of other resources noted in the Bibliography that could be used to expand and diversify learning discussions.  
In the judgement of the reviewer:
 using these materials, or even just one session from them, a reasonable, coherent and self-contained class can be offered in a single session of about an hour.
 using these materials, a class can be offered that runs for at least two sessions.
Are learners expected to do homework? None, this is one of the weaknesses of a video. It give wonderful spiritual wisdom and images, but does not give any guidance about concrete actions to take that would help us live out the teachings in specific ways. A leader could enhance this resource by developing supplemental materials that engage participants in making decisions about what they will do specifically in response to what they are learning to establish lifestyles of greater faithfulness. The inspiration is in the video, but the action plan is not.  
Target audience:
 Interfaith - addressed people of many faiths
 Judeo-Christian - addressed to Jews & Christians
 Christian - addressed explicitly to Christians
 Not explicity faith-based - not much religious content
Note: The reviewer says that this curriculum is especially appropriate for members of the denomination or agency that developed it (Earth Ministry – an ecumenical environmental minis). For example, it may explore a denominational policy statement. The reviewer also believes that it is possible for groups outside that tradition to make good use these materials.

Materials provided
Materials include:
 Leader's guide
 Student book
 Discussion questions
 Class activities - arts & crafts
 Class activities - group participation 
 Video
 Reading materials
 Presentation or lecture notes
 Prayer or worship resources
 

Other supportive materials provided: Bibliography
Other materials required:Study guide for the leader comes with the video
Description of the Leader's Guide:The video comes with a study guide that engages viewers in deeper discussion of the issues and themes raised. This content will generate more dialogue than a single session can encompass, so the video is useful for more than a single viewing.

One key proposition of the video is that the enormous environmental problems being faced by society will not be resolved by science alone. The environmental crisis requires a deep transformation of both outlook and behavior, and this personal reshaping to a more loving and responsive relationship with the creation is something religion plays a major role in that science, economics and politics does not fully address. This issue of caring for creation is a matter of great importance for people of faith. Our belief in God really matters, when it comes to our way of life and concern for others, both human and all of creation.

The video invites persons into a broader familiarity with the Scriptures, and how failure to fully understand our own sacred wisdom contributes to the destruction of other forms of life. Some texts have been interpreted in ways that have contributed to the destruction of the earth, it is important for us to recognize that part of the story and look more carefully at the scripture and our teachings. The study guide invites discussion of What does the Bible say?; Creation and Worship; From Individual Salvation to Cosmic Salvation; Humans as Co-Creators with God; Made in the Image of God – What does it mean?; the Sacredness of the physical as well as the spiritual; Science and Religion; and The Web of Life.

The discussion strategy is to give viewers the opportunity to respond to what they react to most strongly in what they saw and to share their own perspectives. The discussion then continues by replaying portions of the tape with specific questions to dialogue about or to cite quotes from the video and discuss those. The resource also lists other written, musical, and audio visual resources that persons may want to utilize.

Description of the Student's Book:None

Materials review & Assessment of usability
Are all necessary materials provided in an accessible format? Yes - materials are very well laid out and comprehensive  
Is the leader's guide comprehensive? Yes - materials are very well laid out and comprehensive  
Are class sessions clearly outlined? Adequate - all necessary information is present  
Will it be helpful to have a teacher with above-average expertise in the subject matter? Helpful to have teacher expertise  
Preparation time required by the leader:
Subjectively rated as heavy, medium or light
Preparation will require the leader to view the video a couple of times – the video is approximately 30 minutes long. In addition, the leader will need to be familiar with the Study Guide so he or she can quickly get to the sections to be viewed again for further discussion. This will take about an hour of preparation. Finally, if the leader wants to expand the learning into 2 or more sessions, there will need to be some strategy about what topics to cover in what sessions. The study guide follows the chronological order of the video, so one could choose to simply dialogue until time runs out and then continue in the next session. So if the leader uses the video for several sessions, then the preparation time is medium to light compared to other types of resources.  

Content focus
Is this curriculum explicitly focused on environmental awareness or action? Yes, as a primary focus  
Does this curriculum deal with a specific environmental issue or problem? No  
How is the scope of the environmental impact positioned?  Impact on specific human communities
 Impact on humans in general
 Impact on humans and non-human parts of creation
 Impact on non-human parts of creation only  
Does the curriculum address questions of social or economic justice in relation to environmental issues? Yes - as part of the topic  
Biblical/theological content
Does the curriculum have explicit biblical or theological content? Yes, as a major emphasis  
How are the Biblical materials used? Individual texts are presented as meaningful ('proof texts')
Several texts are developed to show a larger biblical theme
Texts are placed in a historical or cultural context
Texts are presented as authoritative
Students are invited to comment/reflect on the meaning or authority of texts
Biblical texts are of equal importance to other scriptures/readings  
The checked statements reflect how ethical guidelines are grounded The Bible tells us how we should live/act
A theological tradition or other authority tells us how we should live/act
We should make decisions about how to live/act based on defined ethical norms
Caring for creation is an assumed norm  
The curriculum views humanity's role in creation as:
The checked lines are clearly affirmed
Domination - God created the Earth for human use; there are no real restrictions on what we can or should do.
Stewardship - "The Earth is the Lord's"" and humans are in a position of managing the creation according to God's will.
Partner - Humans are part of the web of creation, and participate in it as one species among many.
Intruder - Humans are separate from nature, and inherently destructive.
In evaluating changes to "solve" environmental problems, does the curriculum tend toward an approach that is: Confessional - I/we need to change
Confrontational - Some other person, policy or institutions needs to change
Combination - a mix of confessional and confrontational

Content approach
Which of these are a primary target outcome of the curriculum?  Increase awareness or concern about the environment in general
 Increase awareness of concern about a specific environmental issue
 Acquiring factual knowledge about an issue
 Changing or deepening personal beliefs
 Change in self-awareness or self-identity
 Changes in personal behaviors or lifestyle choices
 Influence on institutional (church or other) practices
 Increased political advocacy
 No change, or goal not clear
Range of perspectives offered:   A single perspective is offered
  Compares 2 or more perspectives
  A diversity of perspectives presented


Eco-Justice Ministries   *   400 S Williams St, Denver, CO   80209   *   Home Page: www.eco-justice.org
Eco-Justice Ministries ended all programming on July 31, 2020. This site is an archive of writings and resources.
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