Xavier Professor Receives Grant to Study Incongruities Between Faith and Ecology

June 11, 2010

Elizabeth Groppe, associate professor of Theology at Xavier University, has been awarded a $40,000 grant from the Louisville Institute for a research sabbatical from January 1 to August 31, 2011 to research a book entitled “Guarding the Flame of the Grandeur of God: Christian Life and Practice in an Era of Ecological Crisis.”

“As I have grown in my understanding of the ecological crisis,” Groppe says, “it has become painfully apparent that my daily activities as a mother, teacher, and member of a Christian church have unintended harmful consequences. This book will document the incongruities between my faith commitments and my actual life by combining an exploration of the sources of my food, clothing, and energy with study of the scientific literature on the converging crises of ecological degradation, climate change, and mass extinction of species.”

The book will articulate a renewed theology of creation as participation in God that brings classic formulations into conversation with the contemporary science of cosmogenesis and evolution. This sacramental worldview can support reconstruction of a natural law ethic and a cosmic eschatological hope. The constructive portion of Groppe’s research project will highlight Christian churches and organizations that are transforming their lives in acts of ecological conversion and exemplify a renewed approach to creation as a sacrament of the divine.

Founded in 1990, The Louisville Institute is a Lilly Endowment-funded program based at Louisville Seminary supporting those who lead and study American religious institutions. The fundamental mission of the Institute is to enrich the religious life of American Christians and to encourage the revitalization of their institutions, by bringing together those who lead religious institutions with those who study them, so that the work of each might inform and strengthen the other. The Louisville Institute encourages a broad, collaborative conversation among academics, pastors, and other religious leaders about American religious life.

Additional information can be found at www.louisville-institute.org.