By Dr. Jason E. VanHorn, featuring summary excerpts written by Dr. Mark Bjelland, and Dr. Jamie Skillen
Calvin College will soon be Calvin University and our resolve to continue deep questions around stewardship will only increase. Our name will change but not our mission.
The forthcoming Calvin College Press book entitled Beyond Stewardship: New Approaches to Creation Care, edited by Dr. Dave Warners and Dr. Matt Heun will feature authored chapters from two GEO Department faculty, Dr. Mark Bjelland and Dr. Jamie Skillen.
Mark Bjelland shares that his chapter “From Stewardship to Place-Making and Place-Keeping” shifts the focus of stewardship to the everyday places where we live, work, and play. He argues that place-making and place-keeping summarize the two mandates given to us by God in the first chapters of Genesis—the cultural mandate in Genesis 1 and the stewardship mandate in Genesis 2. Places include non-human and cultural elements, social relations, and meaning. By seeing the world through the lens of place, we acknowledge that humans belong here, and that human actions can restore and improve God’s creation. By paying attention to everyday places, our eyes are opened to environmental injustices such as the concentration of pollution in poor neighborhoods. In short, our calling is to live God’s shalom in our houses, gardens, streets, neighborhoods, and watersheds, not just in wild, beautiful, or exotic landscapes.
Jamie Skillen shares that his chapter “Stewardship and the Kingdom of God” frames the work of stewardship as a labor of hope. He argues that our care for God’s creation is limited both by sin and by ignorance, so we cannot perfectly fulfill our calling to serve and till the earth. Rather than leading to despair, facing these limitations suggests a humble understanding of stewardship that is guided by the regular Christian discipline of confession and renewal and is grounded in the hope that God will fulfill the work begun in us.
The book is currently in the final stages of production and will be available soon (around July 2019) at the Calvin College Campus Store, Hearts & Minds Books, Baker Book House, along with online outlets such as Amazon.com.
We will update this blog post once the book is available for pre-order. Tell us below if you are excited for the release of this book, we’d love to hear from you. Also, give it a “like” on our button below.
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