CROSSING BORDERS: ECO-THEOLOGY IN THE SHADOWLANDS

Mary L. Hayle, Anne Marie Dalton, Nancie Erhard

Abstract


The construction and effectual application of eco-theology must seriously engage the shadowlands, the places where borders have created inequities and injustice. In this liminal space, many aboriginal peoples have lived as mere shadows in their ancestral lands, marginalised by the nations that have colonized them. When the place of Christianity in a society’s public sphere is in flux, and it finds itself, at times, within the shadowlands, its relationship to other religious traditions, in-cluding Aboriginal worldviews, also encourages changes. What happens to Chris-tianity, particularly eco-theology, when it engages mostly earth-based traditions in this context? These encounters bring to the fore porous borders that have operated consciously or unconsciously in the past and point the way to a new kind of dialogue in the present. We contend that the answer to the above question is a key component in a meaningful eco-theology which finds its context in a pluralist nation. Other key components to be explored extend beyond theology to broader issues: one, of coming to terms with the effects of colonialism and the need to pay attention to trust in order to become effective allies effecting real ecological change; and two, the very practical need Christianity has to find an effective voice if it is not to be completely marginalised in a pluralist, post-colonial context. This article focuses on Christian engagement with Canada’s First Nations and Christian theology. Consideration of the following themes attempts to further a conversation regarding the future of Christian Eco-theology in a post-Colonial, pluralist context where Christianity often finds itself in much the same shadowlands as those who it colonized: the theoretic understandings of porous borders, a metaphor grounded in the porous non-containment of ecosystems themselves, the complex history of Christianity in the Othering of aboriginal peoples legally and geo-politically within Canada, and the contemporary theological implications – particularly in terms of salvation – for Christianity as it attempts to listen respectfully to the ecological insights of a people seeking agency within its own primal traditions, which are at the same time Christian-influenced.

 

doi: 10.7833/111-1-24


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DOI: https://doi.org/10.7833/111-0-24

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ISSN 2305-445X (online); ISSN 0254-1807 (print)

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