Beyond Stewardship is intended to equip Christians to live better in this world by helping us all think more intentionally about the relationship we have with the nonhuman creation in which we are necessarily and thoroughly embedded. It responds to the questions “What if God didn’t place humans on earth to be stewards of creation but something else?” and “If not stewards, then what?”
The chapters in Beyond Stewardship were written by scholars from diverse disciplines who share a deep passion for a flourishing creation. Each chapter begins with a compelling story that draws the reader into new ways of thinking. Each author then looks beyond stewardship from the context of his or her own discipline and experiences. Some re-imagine creation care by expanding on the traditional notion of stewardship. Others set aside the stewardship model and offer alternative ways to understand our presence within the broader creation. The chapters mark out ways to better live in the places we inhabit as individuals, communities, and institutions.
Collectively, the essays in Beyond Stewardship offer an expanded and enlivened understanding of the place of humans in the context of God’s creation.
Illustrated Companion to Beyond Stewardship
The Illustrated companion to Beyond Stewardship: New Approaches to Creation Care is a free online resource
The Beyond Stewardship podcast is a series of interviews with the chapter authors of Beyond Stewardship.
Art Inspired by Beyond Stewardship
We were delighted to work with energetic and passionate student artists who willingly adapted their original children's story No More Room to become the Postlude for Beyond Stewardship. Click the link to see a color version of No More Room
For several decades now, stewardship has been the dominant concept guiding progressive Christian ecological thought and practice. The authors identify various ways in which they and others have come to regard this concept as inadequate and distorting. Then, with vivid stories, up-to-date science, perceptive biblical interpretation, and theological imagination, they propose new ways of thinking. We are earthlings responsible for earthkeeping. It’s a wonderful contribution: fascinating, instructive, inspiring.
–Nicholas Wolterstorff, Noah Porter professor of philosophical theology emeritus, Yale University; senior fellow at the Institute for Advanced Studies in Culture, University of Virginia
Ecological theologians have long had an ambiguous relationship with the notion of stewardship. Some have critiqued it for its managerial overtones, while others have embraced it for its biblical resonance. Beyond Stewardship does both and neither. What emerges is a rich account of why Christians should view Earth care as integral to the spiritual life, including the types of narratives and actions that are necessary for initiating positive environmental change. Clearly written and inspiring, it should be required reading for Sunday school and college students alike.
–Gretel Van Wieren, Department of Religious Studies, Michigan State University
This book is paradigm-shifting and conversation-changing. What would it mean to think about environmental concerns in terms of reconciliation rather than merely stewardship or responsibility? Whether you’re just beginning to think about environmental discipleship or you’ve been passionate about creational justice for a long time, this book is a provocative primer.
–James K. A. Smith, Gary and Henrietta Byker Chair in Applied Reformed Theology and Worldview, Calvin College
Inspiring … challenging … encouraging … Beyond Stewardship: New Approaches to Creation Care will alter paradigms, burst worn-out environmental stewardship models, and shine light on a new way of living in kinship with all God’s creation.
–George Heartwell, former mayor of Grand Rapids, MI
When I started reading this collection of essays I frankly wondered if I might be bored by a series of ho-hum proposals of alternatives to the old idea of stewardship. But the alternative images are interwoven with an exploration of how humans interact with microbes, rusty nails, ecosystems, and the names of trees, as well as with the impact of environmental degradation on racial minorities. The result is an inspiring book that can teach us new ways to think about—and live more fruitfully in—God’s good and groaning creation.
–J. Richard Middleton, Professor of Biblical Worldview and Exegesis at Northeastern Seminary
Through the process of acknowledging our sinful actions against our Creator through abuse of His creation, our personal responsibility for the harm we have done, and our needed repentance to make things right, the contributors to Beyond Stewardship provide the first steps toward a more mature and biblically grounded approach to both environmental ethics and creation care.
–Fred VanDyke, executive director of Au Sable Institute of Environmental Studies
These wonderful essays reveal and instruct, but so much more. They delight, refresh, and inspire Christians to greater love of God and of God’s good creation. It’s a joy to read the book, and spiritually enlarging. I wish I read it twenty years ago before writing the creation chapter of Engaging God’s World.
–Cornelius Plantinga, Jr., Senior Research Fellow at the Calvin Institute of Christian Worship