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We are so excited to have an AAR/SBL book panel on our latest co-edited book, Planetary Solidarity (co-edited with Hilda P. Koster).

Christian Spirituality Unit and SBL Ecological Hermeneutics Unit

Theme: Planetary Solidarity: Global Women’s Voices on Christian Doctrine and Climate Justice

Grace Ji-Sun Kim, Earlham College, Presiding

Monday Nov 20, 2017 – 9:00 AM-11:30 AM
Hynes Convention Center-208 (Second Level)

This book panel brings together womanist, mujerista, Asian and feminist theologians and biblical scholars to discuss the intersection of Christian doctrine, gender and climate justice. Planetary Solidarity is in part a response to Pope Francis’ encyclical Laudato Si’ and its silence on gender and women.

The panel builds on and coincides with the release of a co-edited volume Planetary Solidarity: Global Women’s Voices on Christian Doctrine and Climate Justice (Fortress Press, 2017, eds. Grace Ji-Sun Kim and Hilda Koster).

Heather Eaton, Saint Paul University
Imagining an Earth-centric Theological Framing for Planetary Solidarity

Planetary solidarity in the context of climate change is a desirable albeit daunting image. It is desirable because climate change is a planetary phenomenon requiring a commensurate response. It is daunting because there is little functioning solidarity among the varied human communities, cultures and nation states of the planet. Seemingly simple as a summons and objective, the call for planetary solidarity is neither facile nor straightforward. This presentation considers several meanings to the terms planetary and solidarity. They will be combined to suggest an Earth-centric framing. These will be blended with some insights from the work of Ivone Gebara on the subject of life, and its limits and conditions.

Wanda Deifelt, Luther College
And God Saw That It Was Good—Imago Dei and Its Challenge to Climate Justice

While maintaining that the concept of imago Dei continues to be valid, particularly in the context of disenfranchised individuals and communities who have their human dignity denied, the concept also needs to be revisited in order to curb anthropocentric theology and practice. This paper argues that in order to put the concept of imago Dei towards critical use it is necessary to read the first chapter of Genesis and its creation narrative in its original context of the Babylonian creation poem, the Enȗma Elish. Whereas according to the latter human beings are created for servitude and are at the whims of the gods, in Genesis 1:1-2.4a human beings are made in the dignity of God’s likeness and are called to share in God’s rule. In other words, the ‘dominion’ clause is meant not to dominate or control, but to elevate an enslaved and exiled people. How may we use this emancipatory potential of the imago Dei for an age of climate injustice?

Hilda Koster, Concordia College, Moorhead
Trafficked Lands: Sex Trafficking, Oil, and Ecological Evil in the Dakotas

In the summer and fall of 2016 hundreds of representatives of Native nations and climate activists joined the Standing Rock Sioux tribe’s protest against the Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL). While the protests were about the right to clean drinking water, they were also directed at the increase of rape, sex-trafficking and abduction of Native American women and girls by workers in the oil and pipeline industry. Drawing on post-colonial and eco-feminist analysis this paper exposes the interconnection between the violation of the earth, women’s bodies and indigenous rights by the extraction industry and a predatory economic system fueling an insatiable consumerist thirst for oil. Theologically, the paper retrieves Christian sin-talk, understood as structural evil, to expose fracking and sex-trafficking as ecological evil. How may this understanding of sin inform a theology of grace and a spirituality of resistance?

Jea Sophia Oh, West Chester University, Pennsylvania
Seeds, Cross, and a Paradox of Life from Death: A Postcolonial Eco-Theology

Exploring an earth-centric theology of the cross, this presentation examines the paradox that life comes from death. Jesus compared his death on the cross to a seed that falls to the ground and dies. A seed has a potential to bear fruit because it contains life. The secret of life is in its hybrid process of disintegration and proliferation as numerous grains come from a kernel of wheat that has fallen to the ground and dies. Nonetheless, if it remains only a single seed, it eventually loses its life. This process of life out of death can be found in all living organisms. The Christian account of cross and resurrection, and, hence, salvation, is thus deeply intertwined with evolutionary and ecological processes of the renewal and continuation of life. Yet its salvific power will not breed new life in isolation. We are called to be part of the generative power signified in Jesus death and resurrection by committing ourselves to the integrity of earthly life of which we are a part.

Melanie L. Harris, Texas Christian University
Eco-Womanist Wisdom: Encountering Earth and the Spirit

Eco-womanism is borne out of the realization that for poor black women in North America air pollution, lack of access to safe drinking water and wholesome food are part of a daily struggle for survival and reflect the multilayered oppressions suffered by women of color. This paper argues therefore that spiritual ecology focuses on the spiritual base of the day to day struggle of black women for sustenance. It is framed by themes of spirit, sacredness of the earth and interconnectedness.

Barbara Rossing, Lutheran School of Theology, Chicago
Reimagining Eschatology towards Healing and Hope, for a World at the Eschatos

In a time of climate change, the collapse of eschatology into the medieval four last things– death, judgment, heaven, and hell– must be countered by retrieving early Christian traditions such as a renewed Earth, paradise and the tree of life. This presentation reimagines the constellation of doctrines that have come to be labeled eschatology through a feminist liberation lens of healing. Two scripture verses—Mark 5:23 and Rev 22:2—suggest a trajectory that has been largely overlooked in eschatological thinking, but one which we need today for ourselves and for our world: the trajectory of healing. In the gospels, eschatology and healing are deeply connected in ways we have not always seen. “My daughter is at the eschatos,” the synagogue leader Jairus implores Jesus (Mark 5:23). Come heal her! Eschatos means the edge, the edge of life and death, the brink. We are the daughter at the brink—the eschatos—and we need healing!


Elisabeth Schussler Fiorenza, Harvard Divinity School
Karenna Gore, Union Theological Seminary

**Planetary Solidarity is Volume 3 for a book series in Feminist Church Doctrine. Volume 1 is Reimagining with Christian Doctrines edited by Grace Ji-Sun Kim & Jenny Daggers. Volume 2 is Christian Doctrines for a Global Gender Justice edited by Jenny Daggers and Grace Ji-Sun Kim.  Hope you will get a chance to read them all.

With some of the contributors to Planetary Solidarity at the AAR 2015.

Contributors to “Planetary Solidarity” and Respondents at the AAR/SBL17 panel.

Dr. Elisabeth Schussler Fiorenza

With my coeditor, Dr. Hilda Koster