Lectures & Presentations
“Earth’s Story in the Old Testament” — Taught by Dr. William P. Brown, professor of Old Testament at Columbia Theological Seminary. This class takes a closer look at the Creation story as found in Genesis 1 & 2 as well as Creation stories found in five additional books of the Hebrew Bible. Dr. Brown’s aim is to nurture the conversation between religion and science and ultimately to move class participants to an ecology of wonder. Class participants also will learn “The Genesis Code.”
“Convictions for an Apocalyptic Ecology” — Taught by Dr. Stanley P. Saunders, associate professor of New Testament at Columbia Theological Seminary. Dr. Saunders considers the evidence of a new creation found in John’s Revelation as well as Colossians and the Pauline letters. His scholarly research of the Christian scriptures evoke a call to action as a part of discipleship. He highlights Christ’s redemptive power for all of creation and not just human inhabitants.
“The House of Prayer for All People: Scientific Perspectives and God’s Creation” — Taught by Dr. Dabney Dixon, professor of chemistry at Georgia State University. Dr. Dixon holds degrees in both biochemistry and theology. She views the world through these lenses together and invites class participants to do the same as she presents the challenges of climate change. She offers practical learning about the science behind our current environmental problems as well as faithful solutions that can be embraced by all. Dr. Dixon’s premise is that the Earth is itself a sanctuary and we are called to view the world in this way, leading us to active witness of stewardship.
“Creation Care 101” — Taught by Rev. Kate McGregor Mosley, executive director of GIPL. Drawing from GIPL resources and those from your particular faith tradition, this class highlights ways your faith community can establish a Creation Care program. Practical steps include how to implement energy and water efficiencies, creative earth-friendly solutions to waste disposal, and sustainable purchasing for the church as well as spiritual tools to sustain the work.
“Active Hope” – Taught by Beth Remmes, a facilitator for The Work that Reconnects. Based on the work of Joanna Macy, this participatory workshop on Active Hope addresses the environmental and cultural problems that we are facing. The workshop includes exercises to help us support one another as we go forth and work towards a more sustainable, just, and peaceful world where all beings can thrive. This workshop is part of our new Four Directions Fund. Participants can apply for up to $300 in grant money after completing the class.
“The Biblical Sabbatical Year” – Taught by Myrtle Lewin, active congregant of Ahavath Achim Synagogue (Atlanta). In Leviticus 25, we read of Moses on Mount Sinai being told “Speak to the Israelite people and say to them: When you enter the land that I assign to you, the land shall observe a Sabbath of the Lord”. This class explores the challenges of honoring the Sabbatical and Jubilee years, especially in a modern world. We emerge understanding that real freedom will come only from recognizing our responsibilities to the earth and all its inhabitants.
“Changing the Conversation: Talking About Climate Change Without Sounding Partisan” – Taught by Dr. Mark Douglas, Professor of Christian Ethics at Columbia Theological Seminary. This class is highly recommended for clergy and congregational faith leaders to engage them in the fruitful work of climate conversations. Dialogue tools will be shared as well as faith-specific resources to engage top-level congregational leaders on climate change and its impacts on Georgia’s communities.
“Christian Responses to Climate-Shaped Conflict” – This is a three-week series taught by Dr. Mark Douglas, Professor of Christian Ethics at Columbia Theological Seminary and Chair, GIPL’s Board of Directors. This class seeks to raise awareness of how certain global conflicts are directly tied to natural resources, climate change and environmental degradation. Participants engage in ways that our faith can shape an ethical response to these conflicts and provide healing to a hurting world ravaged by environmental chaos.
“Good Food” – Taught by Dr. Jennifer Ayres, professor of Religious Education at Emory’s Candler School of Theology and ordained Presbyterian minister. This class explores how our faith tradition relates to our current food system in America. The class explores how our current food system reflects (or does not) our faith values of abundance, gratitude and justice. Participants learn about food deserts as a justice issue and practical ways as to how congregations actively can address the problem of food deserts in their communities.
“The Earth is the Lord’s: A Christian Theology of Environmental Stewardship” – taught by Dr. Mark Douglas, Professor of Christian Ethics at Columbia Theological Seminary and Chair, GIPL’s Board of Directors. This lecture explores environmental ethics from a Christian perspective, taking into account historical documents and current experience of environmental issues, guiding participants in shaping an ethical response to today’s environmental challenges.
“Investing with Sustainable Faith Values” – taught by Rev. Kate McGregor Mosley, GIPL’s Director, and Peter Krull, sustainable financial planner. This class explores the issue of divestment from financial portfolios that include fossil fuel stocks, leading congregations and individuals towards the work of investing in positive funds that are a stronger reflection of their sustainable faith values. Exploration of biblical, theological and financial impetus for this work grounds conversation and action plans for moving away from fossil fuels and towards more Earth-sustaining financial opportunities.
“Sister Water” – taught by Dr. Rob McDowell, geologist and active parishioner of Catholic Shrine of Immaculate Conception (Atlanta). “Praised be my Lord, by means of Sister Water, for she is very useful, humble, precious, and chaste,” the words of St. Francis which emphasize the spiritual and ecological value of water. Biologically, we can’t go more than 3 days without water, and from baptism to the Eucharist, water spiritually links us to God. However, our relationship with Sister Water is badly strained. A journey through the Hebrew Scriptures, the Gospels, and science provides solid footing for a Franciscan approach to Creation that seeks to re-awaken our respect for water and repair the damage we have done to her.
“A Price on Carbon” – taught by Dr. Bill Witherspoon, geologist, and Dr. Dan May, epidemiologist, who led Bet Haverim and Atlanta Friends Meeting into GIPL in 2003, serving on GIPL’s first board. GIPL has always sought to combine inspiration from faith with can-do practicality. Taking responsibility for future generations’ welfare is a universal value, independent of politics. In this spirit, Dan and Bill present the bipartisan Carbon Fee and Dividend proposal by Citizens’ Climate Lobby. A rising price on carbon, if passed by Congress, would boost the green practices GIPL has fostered, cutting carbon emissions in half in 20 years. It promises to improve the economy, without bigger government.We should state that its preferred format is two successive weeks, an hour for each — but it easily can be adapted for other time periods.