Below are resources for those seeking online Lutheran theological reflection about God's creation and our mandate to care for it. For bibliographies of relevant books, please see here. To suggest online resources for inclusion on this page, please e-mail them to: David Rhoads at firstname.lastname@example.org
NEW Dr. Larry L. Rasmussen, author of Earth-Honoring Faith: Religious Ethics in a New Key will discuss ”The Reformation and the Fate of the Earth” at the fourth annual Johnson Symposium on Faith & Society on Friday, November 8, and Saturday, November 9, 2013, at Holy Trinity Lutheran Church, 2730 East 31st Street, Minneapolis MN ( 612-729-8358)
Dr. Rasmussen will also be the guest preacher at both worship services at Holy Trinity on Sunday, November 10, 8:45 and 11:00 a.m. All are welcome.
For additional information and to register, click here.
The stark forces of nature around them have caused Scandinavians often to reflect about nature, but as a result of the pietistic tradition, they have for a long time tended to see elements of nature mainly metaphorically. Thus, when Christians started gradually to get more interested about the environment in the 1960s, many Scandinavians argued for the interconnectedness of creation and redemption (Gustav Wingren, Regin Prenter), but it still took a while for them to start to give actual value to non-human creation.[Read More]
"Earth-Honoring Faith: Religious Ethics in a New Key," with ELCA Theologian Dr. Larry Rasmussen, Webinar recording with slides,hosted by GreenFaith on April 15, 2013. One of the world’s most articulate, passionate eco-theologians, Dr. Rasmussen is Reinhold Niebuhr Professor Emeritus of Social Ethics, Union Theological Seminary and winner of the 1997 Grawemeyer Award in Religion for his book Earth Community, Earth Ethics. Learn about his new book, Earth Honoring Faith.
Eco-bibliography: Bible, theology, ethics, worship and spirituality, environment, and ecological primers.
Seminary Ridge Review Autumn 2012 [Papers from Gettysburg Seminary Conference on “Getting Green Faithfully” August, 2012.
“Reflections on a Lutheran Theology of Creation: Foundations for a New Reformation” by David Rhoads.
“God’s Lovers as ‘Uncreators’: Morality on the Face of Systemic Evil” by Cynthia Moe Lobeda.
“A Whirlwind Tour of World Religious Teaching on the Environment” by Fletcher Harper.
Intersections. Fall, 2012 #36. The Vocation of a Lutheran College. A Calling to Embrace Creation: Lutheran Higher Education, Sustainability, and Stewardship. Augsburg College, Minneapolis, MN. July 30 - August 1, 2012.
“A Traveler’s Manifesto for Navigating the Creation” by Ann Pederson.
“A Lutheran Ethic of Environmental Stewardship” by James Martin-Schramm
“Climate Justice, Environmental Racism, and A Lutheran Moral Vision: by Cynthia Moe-Lobeda
“Sustaining Sustainability” by Baird Tipson
The Bible and Caring for Creation: Read "Love God, Love Your Neighbor, and Care for Creation: Vocation according to the Bible" by David Rhoads
Reading the New Testament in an Ecological Age. Read "Who Will Speak for the Sparrow? Reading the New Testament in an Ecological Age." by David Rhoads.
Bible and Ecology Web site: For resources and current bibliography in biblical studies, check out our companion site: www.bibleandecology.org.
Theological Resources and Reflections:
Small Catechism Commentary: Here is a reflection on Luther's Small Catechism and our vocation as Earthkeepers (written by Pastor Nick Utphall of St. Steven's Lutheran Church in Madison, WI).
Theological Reflections on Congregational Mission: A Companion to the LRC Training Manual for Congregations by David Rhoads. “Transformation through Worship” “Transformation through Education” “Building and Grounds as Model of Earthkeeping” “Discipleship at Home and Work" “Public Witness and Policy Advocacy”
Faith and Earthkeeping: A free issue of Currents in Theology and Mission (Volume 37, 2010)
Table of Contents
“Faith and Earthkeeping” by Barbara Rossing
“Caring for God’s Beautiful Creation” by Michael Shelley
“Waiting for the Lutherans” by Larry Rasmussen
“Reflections on Sustainable Theological Education” by Rosemary Radford Ruether
“‘Things having lives’: Ecology, Allusion, and Performance in Revelation 8:9”
by Peter Perry
“Earth-Mission: The Third Mission of the Church” by Norman Habel
“Creativity in Earthkeepiing: The Contribution of Joseph Sittler’s The Structure of
Christian Ethics to Ecological Theology” by Robert Saler
“The Urgency of Climate Change Legislation” by Mark Hanson
“Adaptation Assistance and Climate Change” by Callon Holloway, Jr.
“Bringing Virtue to Practical Issue” by John Spangler
Call for a New Reformation. A New Reformation: Caring for Creation. Read this article by David Rhoads and Barbara Rossing, “A Beloved Community: Christian Mission in an Ecological Age in Mission after Christendom: Emergent Themes in Contemporary Mission (Louisville, KY, Westminster John Knox Press, 2010) 128-143.
Theology of Stewardship: Links to sources related to Stewardship of Creation along with the article "Stewardship of Creation" by David Rhoads.
Joseph Sittler Archives: Resources from the pioneering Lutheran ecological and constructive theologian, Joseph Sittler (1904-1987). www.josephsittler.org
Bibliography: For a Short Bibliography of books on biblical, theological, and ethics works relevant for Lutherans Theology, check out this list.
Note: since this section consolidates pieces from elsewhere on the website, please use the "back" button on your browser if you wish to return to this page ("Lutheran Ecological Theology") from one of the resource pages.
Theological Resources and Reflections:
Check out a free issue of Currents in Theology and Mission full of Lutheran Earthkeeping theology!
Here is a reflection on Luther's Small Catechism and our vocation as Earthkeepers (written by Pastor Nick Utphall of St. Steven's Lutheran Church in Madison, WI).
Read a reflection by David Rhoads on why worship is essential to Earthkeeping, and vice versa.
Also by David Rhoads: an article titled “Who Will Speak for the Sparrow? Reading the New Testament in an Ecological Age.”
From Larry Ramussen: "Just Water" (Nobel Conference, 2009):
Joseph Sittler Archives:
Resources from the pioneering Lutheran ecological and constructive theologian, Joseph Sittler (1904-1987)
A New Reformation: Caring for Creation. Read this article by David Rhoads and Barbara Rossing, “A Beloved Community: Christian Mission in an Ecological Age in Mission after Christendom: Emergent Themes in Contemporary Mission (Louisville, KY, Westminster John Knox Press, 2010) 128-143.
Ten Reasons Why Lutherans Care for Creation
Lutherans are well prepared to address the critical issues of the environment. We have strong theological, ethical, and practical foundations for this work. And we can build on our heritage of care for the vulnerable. Here are ten reasons why Lutherans care for creation.
1. Theology: Lutherans have a creation-centered theology oriented to celebrate the gifts of creation. We affirm God as creator of all things. We have a deeply incarnational theology that cherishes the presence of God in all reality. We see redemption as the restoration of creation, indeed as “new creation.” We see the future as straining toward the fulfillment of creation.
2. Cross and Resurrection:The theology of the cross leads us to be in solidarity with the human situation in all its pain and agony. Our theology of the cross gives us solidarity with “creation groaning in travail.” Our affirmation of resurrection offers hope for new life in this world.
3. Worship and Sacraments: Lutheran sacramental theology claims that the “finite can bear the infinite.” Christ is in, with, and under ordinary elements like grapes and grain. Our worship invites us into transforming encounters with God deep in the flesh and in the world. We are called to worship God with creation.
8. Scholarship: Many Lutheran scholars have written on this subject: Peter Bakken, Terry Fretheim, Norman Habel, Diane Jacobson, James Martin-Schramm, Cynthia Moe-Lobeda, Larry Rasmussen, David Rhoads, Barbara Rossing, Robert Saler, Paul Santmire, Joseph Sittler, George Tinker, among others. Colleges and seminaries of the ELCA have programs and courses that prepare Lutherans for service in church and world.
9. Caring for Creation across the church: Several synods have declared themselves to be Green Synods. Many synods have care-for-creation committees and hold lectures, workshops, and conferences on eco-justice subjects. Many Lutheran congregations across the church have Care for Creation teams that work to incorporate the environmental commitment into parish life—worship, education, building and grounds, discipleship at home and work, and public ministry. Lutheran camps and our educators program have brought environmental concerns to countless numbers of people. The ELCA headquarters has a Green Team working to model environmental action.
10. Organizations for Earthkeeping: For a decade, we have had the organization Lutheran Earthkeeping Network of the Synods (LENS) giving leadership in the ELCA. In addition, Lutherans have spearheaded the Green Congregation Program, the Green Seminary Initiative, and the resources on the Web of Creation (www.webofcreation.org). We have led the way in promoting a Season of Creation in the church year (www.seasonofcreation.com). And now we have inaugurated the new program Lutherans Restoring Creation.
Lutherans are in a critical position to listen to the cry of the poor along with the cry of the Earth and to take leadership in addressing these critical issues of our day. We invite you to partner with us in this endeavor.