Journal for the Study of Religion, Nature and Culture, Ecotheology 9.1 April 2004

Eino and Elisa: Contextual Christianity Discusses Urban Sustainability

Seppo Kjellberg
Issued Date: 22 Feb 2007


In a recent Finnish qualitative study on urban sustainability it became
evident that two devoted lay Christians held totally opposite opinions on
the subject. One defended an anthropocentric viewpoint on the basis of the
Hebrew Bible idea of humans being made in the image of God, while the
other used the same text to defend an ecocentric view of environmentally
responsible humans. Within the context of the Finnish State Church, both
views can—without attracting attention—live side by side as Christian
answers to the demand for sustainable city planning. However, a paradigm
transition towards a more holistic view of the environment seems to
be forthcoming. I would suggest that a culture of dialogue, both between
Christians themselves and between Christians and people holding a different
world-view, would lead to better self-understanding and to an ability
to use the best of the Christian heritage for the development of a holistically
understood ecological city. In order to be a truly liberating theology,
urban ecotheology has to be openly discursive. To understand this, the
alternative models for a contextual theology espoused by Sallie McFague
are especially helpful.

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DOI: 10.1558/ecot.


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