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
EarthBound: Created and Called to Care for Creation

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

Short Description:   This cutting-edge series, filmed in high definition, takes Martin Lutherīs breakthrough understanding of Justification and Vocation and explodes it across Godīs magnificent creation.
Long Description:   Christians have a complex relationship with Godīs creation. We have tangled up our concepts of dominion and stewardship. Many imagine eternal life means being whisked away to some other non-physical plane in the ether. In trying to be God-focused, Christians become heaven-focused, at the expense of our earthly home. Can Scripture and our own religious tradition help us rethink those relationships? Is there a model for care of the creation that doesnīt force us to the polarized margins?

This cutting-edge series, filmed in high definition, takes Martin Lutherīs breakthrough understanding of Justification and Vocation and explodes it across Godīs magnificent creation. EarthBound is a journey beyond the rhetoric into Godīs rich and complex creation.

Discover the origins of our misconceptions about Scriptureīs portrayal of creation. Recognize Godīs call to us to relate to the whole creation as our vocation. And experience how Godīs people throughout the Church are living out that call.

This six-part series, hosted by David Rhoads, features Walter Brueggemann, Larry Rasmussen, Barbara Rossing, Terry Fretheim, Cynthia Moe-Lobeda and many others.

  • Episode 1. Created/Called (justified and free to serve the world)
  • Episode 2. Here/There (creation is earthly, material and good)
  • Episode 3. Domination/Dominion (above creation, or part of it?)
  • Episode 4. Me/We (identity in social context)
  • Episode 5. Now/Forever (short-term benefit, or eternal creation)
  • Episode 6. Enough/Too Much (scarcity and abundance)

Six 20-minute segments on two DVDs. Includes extensive study guide as a PDF on an additional CD.

Reviewed by:   Gerald Iversen, Lutheran from Sioux City, Iowa, former director of Alternatives for Simple Living

Bibliographic & Purchasing Information
Publisher:   Select Learning
Publication date:   2009 Website for this resource:   www.selectlearning.org/store/index.php?main_page=product_info&cPath=72&products_id=555
We know of 1 source for purchasing this resource.
Address Select Learning
1175 Winston Street
St. Paul, MN   55108  
Phone 877-675-6275   651-204-0484 Fax  
Website www.selectlearning.org E-mail info@selectlearning.org  
Price $89.95  Order #  

Target Audience & Course Sessions
Age levels Preschool    Primary    Jr. High    Sr. High     Adult
Optimum class size The reviewer did not comment - assume 10-20 
Normal number/length of sessions If the curriculum's normal lesson plan is followed, there will be 6 class sessions each lasting about one hour
Are suggestions included for expanding/contracting the series? The materials do not provide specific suggestions.  
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  
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 (ELCA). 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 materials required:none specified
Description of the Leader's Guide:The facilitator´s guide is step-by-step, giving such basic instructions as to turn the lights on or off, the text for brief prayers, etc.
Description of the Student's Book:No student book included or needed.

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? Yes - materials are very well laid out and comprehensive  
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
Light. Facilitator will preview each session and read each one-page session agenda. 

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? Each session deals with a theological mis-perceptions about the Earth and offers the progressive Lutheran (ELCA) stance. For example, it contrasts the prevalent but erroneous notion of "domination" with that of stewardship. Even more controversial is the title itself - Earthbound. We are to care for Godīs creation rather than to be preoccupied with heaven.  
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
Other: Each session begins with a reading of a short Bible text. The series is not a traditional Bible study.  
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
Other:  Each session gives one extended, helpful, personal example. Other than that, it does not focus on the practical.
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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