I am thrilled to announce that EcoPreacher is now on Patheos.com! This is my first post to introduce myself to the Patheos community, and to share what this blog will be about. Briefly, EcoPreacher will be exploring environmental issues, the church, and politics from a faith perspective on the Progressive Christian channel.
Who is Leah D. Schade?
I am the Assistant Professor of Preaching and Worship at Lexington Theological Seminary in Lexington, Kentucky. An ordained pastor in the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) for 16 years, I’ve served congregations in rural, urban, and suburban settings. I earned both my MDiv and PhD degrees from the Lutheran Theological Seminary at Philadelphia. My dissertation focused on homiletics (preaching) and ecological theology (caring for God’s creation). Creation-Crisis Preaching: Ecological Theology and Homiletics (2015) is my book, and is available at Chalice Press. You can also visit my website for more information: https://www.creationcrisispreaching.com/.
I’ve served as an anti-fracking and climate activist, and advocate for environmental justice issues. As a trained workshop leader for Lutherans Restoring Creation, I have considerable experience helping congregations learn how to “go green.” As a community organizer, I served as the coordinator of a local grassroots effort from 2013-14 to halt plans for a proposed tire incinerator in Union County, Pennsylvania. I’ve also presented testimony at numerous state and federal hearings on several different environmental issues. And I’ve been featured on local radio talk shows and interfaith workshops on care-of-Creation topics.
What will we see on EcoPreacher?
I’ll be blogging about political, cultural and theological issues from my perspective as a Progressive Christian preacher, teacher, and ecofeminist. (Ecofeminism? What’s that? More on ecofeminism in a post to come!) You’ll be seeing some hard-hitting pieces connecting the dots between religion, environmental issues and what’s happening on the national and global level in terms of politics, culture, and current events. I’m very interested in the intersections of race, gender, sexuality, socio-economics, health, and community within the realm of religion and the environment. I’ll also be drawing on my recent research looking at the juncture of politics and the pulpit through a survey I conducted of over 1200 Mainline Protestant clergy. If you’re looking for a “green lens” for reading scripture and the news, and for viewing the state of the church today, you’ve come to the right blog!
There will also be pieces focusing on practices of hope, resilience, and creative inspiration for facing the daunting environmental challenges in our world. Many of these pieces will be adaptations of sermons that honestly name the “bad news” facing the Earth community (what I call the “eco-crucifixion”), while also proclaiming the Good News of what God is doing to effect what I call the “eco-resurrection.”
What is Patheos.com?
If this is your first visit to Patheos, welcome to one of the most cutting-edge theological websites online. As explained on their “About” page, “Founded in 2008, Patheos.com is the premier online destination to engage in the global dialogue about religion and spirituality and to explore and experience the world’s beliefs. Patheos is the website of choice for the millions of people looking for credible and balanced information about religion. Patheos brings together faith communities, academics, and the broader public into a single environment, and is the place where many people turn on a regular basis for insight, inspiration, and stimulating discussion. Patheos is unlike any other religious and spiritual site on the Web today.”
And if you’re wondering what Patheos means, it’s a fusion of two words: path and theos (the Greek word for God). So this is a website that, in a sense, illuminates and explores different paths to God, however you understand the Divine, and whatever path(s) you choose to meander. Within that framework, EcoPreacher is following an environmental justice path within the Progressive Christian quadrant of the faith conversation.
What is “your question”?
When I was a doctoral student, I was constantly urged to formulate “my question” which would drive my research and writing. The questions change, of course, as we encounter new information, new experiences, and new perspectives. But here are the questions that will be shaping EcoPreacher at the outset:
Imagine if people of faith were inspired, informed, organized and empowered to address the most pressing environmental concerns of our time?
What if people of faith could be part of God’s work to heal this planet – right in their own houses of worship and communities?
What if Christian preaching could actually make a difference for our planet . . . for your community . . . for our future?
What if preachers’ sermons took on a whole new dimension of relevancy, creativity, and biblical engagement informed by listening to the other-than-human voice in scripture?
So the EcoPreacher blog is here to help you:
- Equip you with the knowledge and courage to address justice issues with creativity, conviction and a deeper faith in God.
- Find ways to talk about climate change and other environmental issues in your church without being accused of being “too political.”
- Discover a new dimension to your faith that opens a whole new world of perspectives, creative ideas, and inspiration.
- Engage God’s Word of hope for people and the planet that deepens and expands your faith.
In short – Earth, faith, politics and God – that’s what you’ll find on EcoPreacher. Welcome!
For a reflection about preaching on Earth Sunday, click here.
For ideas on incorporating Earth-care into faith practices and preaching, try 17 Ways to be an EcoPreacher.
Leah D. Schade is the Assistant Professor of Preaching and Worship at Lexington Theological Seminary (Kentucky) and author of the book Creation-Crisis Preaching: Ecology, Theology, and the Pulpit (Chalice Press, 2015).