Where is the voice of theology in the public discourse around anthropogenic climate change? How do we understand the human relationship to Earth and the ecology of which we are a part? How can we account for the human attempt to dominate nature and the devastation we have caused to our own home?
Dianne Rayson addresses these questions. She uses the creation theology of Dietrich Bonhoeffer to examine what it means to be human in the post-Holocene age. Employing a range of Bonhoeffer’s texts, Rayson posits that Bonhoeffer’s Christological theology and this-worldly ethical orientation provide the tools for an Earthly Christianity. She responds to Bonhoeffer’s question, “who actually is Jesus Christ, for us, today?” and proposes a Bonhoefferian ecoethic.
Dianne Rayson received her PhD in Theology from The University of Newcastle. She lectures in several universities following a career in public health and social policy in Australia and the Pacific.
1 Theology and Climate Change
2 The Problems
3 Bonhoeffer’s Christology
4 Creator and Creation
5 Creaturely Theological Anthropology
6 God’s Kingdom on Earth
8 Who Actually Is Christ in the Anthropocene?
Dianne Rayson’s Bonhoeffer and Climate Change: Theology and Ethics for the Anthropocene is a timely book for reckoning with the entanglement of Christianity with colonialist and capitalist views of the Earth’s resources as there ‘to dominate and ransack. This book is recommended for climate activists of faith, particularly those seeking a systematic theological foundation for climate action led by faith-based communities.
Dianne Rayson’s constructive use of Dietrich Bonhoeffer’s theology to articulate an ecoethic and ecotheology is precisely what the world needs. She explains that catastrophic climate change, ushered in by humans, is looming and that changing course requires both individual and communal conviction and moral courage. Rayson’s careful and creative use of Bonhoeffer’s work allows her to make a compelling case for us – for humans – to take responsibility for earth, to embrace an “Earthly Christianity.” The call is urgent.
An important and rich theological contribution to the pressing climate concerns in the epoch of the Anthropocene. Dianne Rayson explores Dietrich Bonhoeffer’s Christological ethic to develop a deep relational response to the unprecedented ecological challenges of the current age. The spiritual, moral, and theological richness of Rayson’s book gives the reader a new ground for raising the question, what it means to speak of an "earthly Christianity" today.
In this timely book, Dianne Rayson combines a keen sense of place, theological acumen and a deep concern for the Earth and our common future with a thorough and illuminating engagement with the theology of Dietrich Bonhoeffer. The result is a ground-breaking work that proposes an "Earthly Christianity" as antidote to harmful theologies of domination. This beautifully written piece of scholarship provides a well-grounded and empowering theological response to the urgent challenges posed by climate disruption. It deserves to be read and discussed widely!
For the past fifty years, eco-theologians have rightly maintained that a significant barrier to a Christian ecological ethic are theologies of domination, and they have provided what at times amounts to devastating critiques of the tradition. The brilliance of Rayson’s eco-theology and eco-ethic is that it offers an entry point for Christians into this conversation that is both familiar and challenging: the person and work of Jesus Christ. Rooted in Bonhoeffer’s expansive understanding of Christology, Rayson turns our attention to the One who in becoming a creature established divine immanence within creation; who, through the reconciliation of all things, beckons us to profoundly love the earth upon which God’s kingdom comes; and, out of that love, calls us to be the creatures we were created to be – to act responsibly, combat climate change, and, in doing so, live in right relationship with all of creation.