The E-mail Commentary from Eco-Justice Ministries
Christmas greetings to you from Eco-Justice Ministries!
In a few days, Christians will gather in churches around the world to celebrate the joy and wonder of the incarnation. We'll read again the well-known stories from Matthew and Luke, and sing the carols and hymns that are so much a part of this occasion. Depending on the hymnal, the angels bending near the earth will proclaim something like, "Peace on the Earth! Good will to all!"
The peace that is promised in song and scripture is not confined to an inner, spiritual serenity, nor is it simply the absence of war – although each of those are objects of longing for far too many in the world today. The peace that is promised at Christmas and throughout the biblical record is "shalom" – peace, justice and harmony for all of creation.
The familiar words of this holy-day can yet surprise us and inspire us. From the pastoral hillsides of Palestine two millenia ago comes a message that is profoundly appropriate for our globalized and technological society. When God breaks into our world, bringing hope and transformation and salvation, the power of God touches the fullness of our world – humans and the rest of creation – and calls us all live in just and harmonious relationships.
As we enter the year 2001 AD, may we continue the proclamation of the angels, and give voice to peace as both hope and mandate.
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A recent issue of Christian Century magazine (December 13, 2000) has a helpful article by H. Paul Santmire, "In God's Ecology: A revisionist theology of nature." This Lutheran pastor outlines what must be at the heart of a theology that is both rooted in the traditions of the church, and in touch with the realities of today.
He writes, "what the theology of justification by faith meant for a church in need of reformation in the early 16th century is precisely what the theology of nature must mean for a church in need of reformation in the 21st century."
In parallel with the direction that we are taking with Eco-Justice Ministries, Santmire says, "A theology of nature that is biblical, christological and ecological will also be ecclesiological. It will be incarnate in the life of the Christian community. In worship, the community of faith will form its identity and the theological matrix of its spiritual and ethical praxis in the world. Revisionist ecological ethics will be first and foremost communitarian and only secondly principled and prescriptive."
The article ends with nine short statements that would be good starting points for exploring an eco-justice theological perspective, either in personal reflection or in group study.
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As we come to the end of 2000, and the first four months or so of programming and institutional growth for Eco-Justice Ministries, I want to thank you for your involvement, encouragement and support.
Thanks for all that you do for God's creation!
Eco-Justice Ministries * 400 S Williams St, Denver, CO 80209 * 303.715.3873
Home Page: www.eco-justice.org * E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org