Robert and Marilyn Degler McClean Associate Professor of Ecological Theology and Practice
Director of the Center for Ecological Regeneration
- B.A., St. Olaf College
- M.Div., Ph.D., Vanderbilt University
Holiness of Heart and Life
I believe that amidst the innumerable manifestations of sin and evil in our world that lead to death, the triune God is actively working to free and empower the whole of creation to share in the ways of life that serve the common good of all. My vocation as a theologian ordained in The United Methodist Church is based in the commitment to guide others–as I seek myself–to better understand and more faithfully participate in this divine work of justice, reconciliation, and healing in relation to the many ecological, socio-political, and economic perils facing us today.
What and how I teach is therefore oriented toward promoting "holiness of heart and life" (Wesley) in the overlapping spheres of everyday living, academic reflection, congregational gathering, and public engagement. This requires asking critical questions of the theological frameworks we draw upon in moral discernment as well the "God-concepts" implicit in the social structures we live within and work to transform.
What are the implications of one's understandings of Christ and salvation for the earth and its many creatures and systems? How might ancient notions of divine power be operative within the modern market economy? Does the church have unique resources to offer in addressing the death-dealing dynamics of racism, ecocide, and class exploitation in our world? I find such questions intellectually and personally challenging and strive to create a learning environment in which everyone is invited to engage them–and to ask questions of their own–from the perspective of their particular backgrounds and vocational contexts.