This past Monday evening I had the privilege of meeting Dr. Arand as well as listening to him give a lecture entitled, "Beam Me Up, Scottie!" Throughout the lecture, Dr. Arand's overarching theme was that humans, including Christians, look at themselves either as part of the earth or alienated from it. Next, these views were broken down into subcategories. Humans alienated from nature include humans above, over, and against nature while humans part of nature include them with, into and within nature. Dr. Arand assisted in writing the LCMS document "Together With All Creatures" through the Commission on Theology and Church Relations (CTCR) and thus ended his lecture speaking about the place Christians should have in caring for the environment. He explained that it is fundamental that Christians be stewards of this earth as God designed. I look forward to hearing him expound on this in an additional lecture on Wednesday.
Last semester in Honors we discussed works by Francis Bacon, Descartes, etc. Recently we also read Lynn White's article, "The Historical Roots of Our Ecological Crisis." Dr. Arand referenced each of these and I was amazed at how they all fit into his lecture. Dr. Arand mentioned White's article later in the lecture and used it to contrast the view of the problem stemming from Christians with Christians caring for nature. I found this to be extremely interesting after having written a paper on White's article which took a position on his argument. Dr. Arand expressed how Christians were slow to respond to accusations such as White's but explained how Christians must be involved in the care of the environment.
Dr. Arand spoke about Christianity having the best answer to our environmental problems and he is absolutely correct. In the beginning, when God created the world, he said it was very good. I thought about this after the lecture and realized the truth in it. God's original design was for humans to take care of the earth which is why he called it "good." I also found it incredible how all of the people we have studied in the recent semesters of Honors connect to the care of the environment. Dr. Arand's lecture helped me to connect all of these together and to environmental study. This is just one of many topics we have studied lately that have tied together much of my learning in Honors and I certainly see why Honors is so valuable for learning!