The second year of Anabaptist Biblical Seminary’s Rooted and Grounded Conference, Elkhart, Ind., offered input from nearly 50 presenters, doing faith-based ecological thinking in a variety of creative ways.
Luckily for those of you who couldn’t attend this stimulating event October 1 to 3, 2015, the excellent keynote addresses were recorded. Access them on the AMBS audio page. Here is a lightning summary to help you pick which one to listen to first:
Brian Sauder, Executive Director of Faith in Place, challenged us to root our work for justice in our faith communities and the spiritual disciplines, dialog and accountability that they offer. Faith in Place is a Chicago area non-profit that helps faith communities of all stripes to care for the earth through education, connection and advocacy. Need a story about redemption? Hear about a condemned church building that morphed into a labyrinth and rain gardens. Need a story about grace? Listen for the pick-up truck.
With the help of Cecil the Lion and a Zimbabwean perspective on predators, Dr. Wilma Bailey gave us a fresh perspective on the dominion verses in Genesis 1. This city-girl-turned-Master-Naturalist is leading the way for biblical scholars whose interpretation of sacred texts requires a better knowledge of natural history. Bailey is Professor Emerita of Christian Witness and Hebrew Bible, Christian Theological Seminary, Indianapolis.
Dr. Sylvia Keesmat is in the process of writing a book on Romans, and what a book it will be, based on her powerful address on Romans 1. The audience was weeping and cheering by turns–though maybe not at the altar call requesting us to turn in our cell phones. You will not think of idolatry in quite the same way after you’ve heard her. Keesmat divides her time between organic farming, adjunct teaching and writing.
Do we recognize the times? Do we know how destruction can come upon us like a thief in the night? Ched Myers of Bartimaeus Cooperative Ministries used Thessalonians 5 to jolt people awake to the needs of their watershed and the dangers of a Gnostic, disembodied faith. And who knew that the Bible had so many tents in it? Ched illustrated God’s pitching a tent among us (skéné, John 1 and elsewhere) with pictures of the tents of Indigenous Peoples around the world.