Loving Creation: Spirituality, Nature, and Ecological Conversion

REL809
Fall 2017
Th 3:30-5:20pm
Area: 
Area IV
Permission Not Required
Limited Enrollment
Course Description: 

This course focuses on the spiritual dimension of ecology.  Spiritual thought and practice is enriched through being situated in the natural world, and scientifically based ecology is given added depth and meaning by extending the ecological field to include traditions of spiritual thought and practice. The spiritual tradition offers practices and a history of a quality of mind and heart that cultivates an awareness of the beauty and significance of the living world as well as its fragility and need for respectful care. In this course, we will explore a contemplative ecology rooted in the ancient desert tradition though Doug Burton Christie’s “Contemplative Ecology,” Denis Edward’s Trinitarian theology which expands our sense of the on-going involvement of God in creation and which also requires ecological conversion of all us to repair the harm caused by the distorted utilitarian and individualistic ethic that has created this harm, and other sources.

Background Expected: 

No scientific background is required but is certainly welcome.  An openness to or love for the contemplative and spiritual dimensions of “place” is desirable.  This might be wilderness, nature, farms or gardens. Students who do not perceive themselves to have a spiritual connection through nature/creation are also welcome to explore this possibility through this class.

Course Requirements: 

Students are required to do the course reading, write 3 5-6 page reflection papers related to the readings and class discussions/lecture, do the assigned practices for each week and account for them in a journal, and have no more than 2 unexcused absences, including the shopping period

Basis of Evaluation: 

No scientific background is required but is certainly welcome.  An openness to or love for the contemplative and spiritual dimensions of “place” is desirable.  This might be wilderness, nature, farms or gardens. Students who do not perceive themselves to have a spiritual connection through nature/creation are also welcome to explore this possibility through this class.