Ecologics of Grace: Environmental Ethics and Christian Theology

Article excerpt

Ecologics of Grace: Environmental Ethics and Christian Theology. By Willis Jenkins. New York: Oxford University' Press, 2008. 363 pp. $35.00 (cloth).

Willis Jenkins's contribution to the growing field of books on ecotheology is unique because he draws connections between classic Christian theologians, like Karl Barth and Thomas Aquinas, and environmental ethics. Unlike recent works by Celia Deane-Druimnond, who writes a survey of eeotheology, or Anna Case-Winters, who writes about panentheism in environmental ethics, Jenkins draws out the environmental implications from theologians who were not necessarily writing about the environment. He emphasizes grace in theology and the role grace can play in the way Christians relate to the environment, and by providing a more theological basis for his understanding of environmental ethics, Jenkins's book will be more useful to pastors and seminarians than some of the other choices.

Ecologies of Grace is divided into two parts; ethical strategies, comprising chapters 2 through 5; and theological investigations, comprising chapters 6 through 11. The book opens by addressing the struggle churches face in talking about the environment and God. Jenkins writes, "Environmental issues present moral problems that escape the received frameworks of theological ethics" (p. 3). Part one begins in chapter 2. in which Jenkins presents three practical strategies in environmental ethics. Chapters 3, 4, and 5 look at each strategy in greater depth. The strategies are, respectively, ecojustice, Christian stewardship, and ecological spirituality.

The second part of the book has three sets of two chapters each. Each set of chapters proffers questions to theologians regarding the role of grace in environmental ethics, In chapters 6 and 7, Jenkins examines ecojustice in Tilomas Aquinas and how Thomas "sees that God chooses to move creation to Godself by inviting humans into a friendship shaped by their intimacy with all creation" (p. …