A New Heaven, A New Earth: Food Justice, Ecology, and Revelation

Interdisciplinary Intensive Course

Wake Forest University School of Divinity

June 15 – 19, 2015  |  Asheville, North Carolina

We live in an age when we can no longer ignore the ecological context in which all our personal and social actions play out. When we begin to learn more about the extent of our combined challenges—ecological degradation, social inequity, food insecurity, climate change—we quickly become overwhelmed. Our world is ill. We need healing. The magnitude of our generation’s challenges can easily lead to inaction, fatalism, and despair.

Yet the long arc of God’s redemptive work, as reported by the biblical writers, is a hopeful alternative to despair or naïve optimism. The world will be made whole, those biblical writers tell us, and we along with it. In the book of Revelation we discover a compelling set of images depicting that wholeness—the Tree of Life, the River of Life, the Heavenly Banquet Feast. This is a vision of heaven come down to earth. “See, the home of God is among mortals,” John the Seer reports. Far from simply a quaint picture of heaven, such imagery has to potential to help us reimagine how we live now, starting with our own bioregions.

Each morning during the course Dr. Barbara Rossing,  will explore these images from Revelation as touchstones for thinking about the life of faith and how we grow and share food. In the afternoon, skilled practitioners in permaculture, ecology, and community organizing will lead experiential learning workshops.

For people of faith in search of wisdom with which to respond to our current “ecology of injustice,” this course will offer knowledge, tools, and disciplines to help us “seek the peace” of the places in which we dwell.  

Other faculty will include Fred Bahnson (author of Soil and Sacrament: A Spiritual Memoir of Food and Faith, 2013; Making Peace With the Land, 2012), permaculturist Chris Grataski, local food activists Na'Taki Osborne Jelks, Sarah Nolan, Rev. Nurya Love Parish, and musician Charles Pettee.

Cost is $700 including tuition, room & board. Some scholarship assistance is available, especially for younger students.