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Practical Theology: Religious Education Track

Christian Formation for A Livable Planet

When: June 10, 2021, 3:30 pm - Thursday

Where: Ezell 234

Session 5

Session Abstract

The Gospel’s mandate to love our neighbors and to celebrate God’s work in all things calls us to live constructively in the world.  Issues of climate justice, sustainable development, and care for our fellow human beings need the attention of the church, as we bring Scripture and other rich theological resources to bear on the great problems facing humanity.  The presenters in this session consider ways in which the church’s practices of formation can address the need to love and care for the creation on the part of Christians of every generation.


Paper Abstracts

Chess Cavitt, Arlington (VA) Church of Christ, “Discerning Issues.”

When faced with overwhelming, globally sized issues, Christians often feel a sense of helplessness to respond, and ecological issues are no exception. A paralyzing unclarity about the nature of our roles as stewards prevents us from engaging such issues, which is further complicated by our trends of overconsumption, politics, consumerism, and blatant disregard. Our churches have a role to play in addressing these issues, and this presentation attempts to identify the challenges facing churches that are hoping to, or already are, engaging growing ecological concerns.


Jennifer Ayres, Emory University, “Loving Creation.”

This presentation theologically and biblically frames Christian life as inhabitance, as the vocation of living well within God’s creation. The theological and moral work of inhabitance requires the cultivation of ecological dispositions—nurturing hearts that are open to wondering at, loving, grieving, and hoping for the world.


Mark Hamilton, Abilene Christian University, “Forming a Culture for Climate Justice.”

Since climate change profoundly shapes the capacity of human societies and individuals to flourish, Christians need to draw on key theological resources for addressing those implications.  Scripture, in particular, provides the church with dispositions necessary for this work: a deep valuation of all creation, a sense of responsibility toward neighbors present and future, a hierarchy of values around our care for the creation, and the language appropriate for a hopeful approach to the problem of climate change.  Clarifying the command to “rule” creation or the ranking of humans “just below the angels” is a necessary task as well.


Lauren Calvin Cooke, Emory University, “Educating Christian Community/Contexts for a Livable Planet.”

This paper will explore the role that the wisdom tradition has to play in educating Christian communities for a livable planet. The wisdom literature can teach us how to be discerning and act wisely in matters of ecological justice: by being attentive to the natural world and seeing it as a source of wisdom and truth, by listening to the wisdom of voices outside our theological tradition, by thinking ahead for future generations, and by using the theological resources of our tradition to innovate faithfully in new situations.


Samjung Kang-Hamilton, Abilene Christian University, Convener

  • Chess Cavitt, Arlington (VA) Church of Christ, “Discerning Issues”
  • Jennifer Ayres, Emory University, “Loving Creation”
  • Mark W. Hamilton, Abilene Christian University, “Forming a Culture for Climate Justice”
  • Lauren Calvin Cooke, Emory University, “Educating Christian Community/Contexts for a Livable Planet”

2023 CSC Info Coming Soon

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James Cone with conferee at the CSC in 2017

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Pulitzer Prize winner Marilynne Robinson delivering the CSC plenary address

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Francis Collins, director of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), delivering the CSC plenary address.

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US Poet Laureate Tracy K. Smith delivering the CSC plenary address

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David Brooks engaging conferees during breakfast at the CSC

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