Charles Sturt University
PACT - Public and Contextual Theology

Cross-cultural Eco-theology in an Indian Ocean Context published

Congratulations to PaCT Fellow Dr David Reichardt whose book Cross-cultural Eco-theology in an Indian Ocean Context has been recently published.

Dr Reichardt said it was a two-year project which came about after Indian publisher ISPCK’s general secretary asked him to write a textbook on eco-theology for Indian pastors. ISPCK has a policy of trying to provide material on current issues in theology available in good quality and moderate cost for pastors, many of whom are not well paid or educated.

Dr Reichardt received funding from PaCT to complete the book, which is 8 chapters long.

He and an Indian academic, Professor Chilkuri Vasantha Rao, edited contributions of 7 Australians and 11 Indians, most of whom paired up to write chapters.

The book is divided into three sections. The first section, “Beginning a Conversation…", includes chapters on the state of the earth and the necessity for an Indian eco-theology, and the ambiguous ways in which Christian theology has engaged with creation care.

Section 2 includes 4 chapters on the “resources of faith”: the bible, christology, pneumatology and spirituality, and practical engagement in environmental care.

Section 3, entitled Eco-theology and Eschatology, looks at hope in a time of the Anthropocene epoch, an end to a way of life, beginnings of an other, and living in the here and now with the effects of climate change and ecological degradation.

Each chapter is the product of cooperation between an Indian and an Australian ecotheologian, hence the reference to “Indian Ocean Context” in the title.

At the end of each chapter is a suggested reading list, several questions for discussion and a short reflection given by one of two senior Indian ecotheologians. Dr Reichardt provided an open letter to Indian pastors, explaining what this book is about, two examples of ecotheological sermons, and a short article on how to write an ecotheological sermon.

The current Moderator of the Church of North India has written a Foreword, and Rev Prof Dean Drayton, former President of the Uniting Church in Australia, has written an Epilogue.

Dr Reichardt said if it is well-received in India, ISPCK will consider having it translated into Hindi, and then, perhaps, several of the south Indian languages.