Wednesday, 20 February 2013

Course RELG702 continues

Just back from campus. Today we met the Method and Theory class (post graduates) for the second time. The staff has agreed to have a specific theme, like a case study. It was introduced today. The coming 10 Wednesdays ten different teachers will discuss this theme from ten different perspectives. The question, as I understand it, is to help the undergraduates to develop a critical mind in their research. The theme is: Climate change and environmental responsibility. We saw a short film, produced by the World Council of Churches (WCC) in 2011. “Have you seen the rainbow?” I can recommend it! A short version is available on Youtube.

The film describes the situation of the people living on the small Tuvalu islands close to Australia in the Pacific Ocean. With global warming they might be totally under water in the future. School children were interviewed and told us about their fears.

After two lectures had elaborated on the theme from a WCC and a UN perspective, students were invited to take part. Two questions arose. First of all the feeling that the developed countries in the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change from 1992 seem to argue that they cannot commit to mitigation of climate change if it affects their economies negatively. The student raising this inequality felt that developed countries expect from the developing countries to stop their development, because it would affect the environment negatively. To this student it is unfair. Why should not the developed countries take their responsibility?

Another student then asked if the developing countries really want to develop into the kind of countries that we were talking about? The lecturer challenged the student to say “we” about the developing countries instead of “they” which the student did.

Contextual theology! It is very good to be part of this. I myself feel challenged being from a so called developed country. Of course I am proud that the first environmental meeting mentioned by the lecturer was the Stockholm meeting in June 1972. And when he mentioned other important milestones like Cop 15 in Copenhagen and COP 17 in Durban I could say to myself: my second eldest daughter was at both those meetings. But having said this: I am still challenged.

Next week the theme will be dealt with from a biblical studies perspective. After that follow: Systematic Theology, African Theology, History of Christianity, Spirituality, Gender and Religion, Missiology, Practical Theology, Theology and Development and lastly Sociology of Religion. I believe this course will be extremely interesting. Maybe in the future I will get a responsibility to do one of the subjects.

For me it serves as a very good introduction into the School of Religion, Philosophy and Classics but I am equally interested in the theme as such.

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