School of Christian Living: Ethics (+ Assignments)

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Tuesday, October 10, 2017 - 8:15am to 10:00am

Moral Landscape of Post-Modern America

Reading Pope Francis's Encyclical Laudato Si'

Pope's Encyclical: Laudato Si'
Themes of the course
Outline of Each Class
Videos of each class


Assignment for Class 6 on Nov 18

What:  Class/workshop on the Moral Landscape of Post-Modern America.  This effort will increase awareness of present American culture and politics, evaluate it from a moral perspective of Pope Francis’s Encyclical Laudato Si’(i.e. praise be)-- On the Care of the Earth (June 2015); and respond to its moral challenges both individually and corporally (i.e. Eight Day members and as a church. 

Why:   Our post-industrial period in America may well be remembered as one of the most irresponsible in history.  However, there is reason to hope that our generation will be remembered for living into our responsibilities to save our planet by creating a sustainable world rooted in social justice.   The concern for the natural world is no longer optional but is necessary for our survival as a species.  The warming of the planet is just a symptom of a greater social and moral problem: Our indifference to the destruction of the planet as we pursue short-term economic gains.  Living in a culture and politics that values business decision over other values has resulted in a throughway culture in which unwanted items and unwanted people, such as the unborn, the elderly, and the poor, are discarded as waste.  Humans no longer see God as the Creator but see other living beings as mere objects to be subjected to arbitrary human domination…. instead of a kind of universal family.   Our social and environmental crises are thus one complex and intertwined crisis which can only be solved in tandem.  (some input from Wikipedia).

When:  9 or 10-week series starting on Sun, 10/15 to Sun, 12/17 between 08:30 am and 09:45am.

Where:  Chapel at the Festival Center

How:    Class Requirements: An interactive class in which students pursuing covenant membership will be required to do the following at 80% completion level: 

-read the entire Laudato Si’ over time of the course
study and lead discussion on selected parts;
-keep a weekly journal reflecting on the content of each class which can be prose, poetry, drawing, painting, dance, songs etc.)
-write a 2-page paper at the end of the course; and
-attend each class unless excused and made-up.

Other students are welcome to come for one or all the class.  It is recommended that they do the reading before coming to class.

Class Content: Survey the breath of the moral landscape by looking at the topics of the Laudato si’ and the depth of moral landscape by focusing on ten Key Themes.   

1. Survey the moral landscape of Laudato si’

1.1  WHAT IS HAPPENING TO OUR COMMON HOME [17-61] -- Pollution, climate change,  throwaway culture, climate as a common good, issues of water, biodiversity, decline in the quality of human life, breakdown of  society, global inequality, weak responses, variety of opinions.

1.2  THE GOSPEL OF CREATION [62-100] -- light offered by faith, wisdom of the biblical accounts, mystery of the universe, message of each creature in the harmony of creation, universal communion, common destination of goods, The gaze of Jesus.  

1.3  THE HUMAN ROOTS OF THE ECOLOGICAL CRISIS [101-136] -- technology: creativity and power, globalization of the technocratic paradigm, crisis and effects of modern anthropocentrism, practical relativism, need to protect employment, new biological technologies

1.4  INTEGRAL ECOLOGY [137-162] -- environmental, economic and social ecology; cultural ecology;   ecology of daily life, principle of the common good, justice between the generations.

1.5 LINES OF APPROACH AND ACTION  [163-201]-- dialogue on the environment in the international community;  dialogue for new national and local policies; dialogue and transparency in decision-making, politics and economy in dialogue for human fulfillment; religions in dialogue with science.

1.6 ECOLOGICAL EDUCATION AND SPIRITUALITY [202-246] -- towards a new lifestyle; educating for the covenant between humanity and the environment, ecological conversion, Joy and peace, Civic and political love, sacramental signs and the celebration of rest. Trinity and the relationship between creatures, queen of all creation, beyond the sun, prayer for our earth, Christian prayer in union with creation.

2.0 Ten Major Themes:

2.1 intimate relationship between the poor and the fragility of the planet,
2.2 conviction that everything in the world is connected,
2.3 critique of new paradigms and forms of power derived from technology,
2.4 call to seek other ways of understanding the economy and progress,
2.5 value proper to each creature,
2.6 human meaning of ecology,
2.7 need for forthright and honest debate,
2.8 serious responsibility of international and local policy,
2.9  throwaway culture
2.10 proposal of a new lifestyle.