Ecological Praxis as Discipleship: Developing a Model of Praxis from Sallie McFague's Theological Call for Consumption Reduction

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Title: Ecological Praxis as Discipleship: Developing a Model of Praxis from Sallie McFague's Theological Call for Consumption Reduction
Authors: Hetherington, Jessica Claire Fraser
Date: 2013-06-13
Abstract: This thesis is a constructive response to the challenge of changing human behaviour in the face of the ecological crisis. I examine the writings of theologian Sallie McFague who argues that in the middle-class North American context, a Christian ecological praxis of consumption reduction is theologically necessary. Such praxis, for McFague, is understood as a form of Christian discipleship. However, while she calls for this praxis, McFague does not develop it. The methodology behind McFague’s call for ecological praxis emerges from her earlier scholarship. I excavate McFague’s comprehension of action located in her parabolic and metaphorical theologies and construct it into a coherent model of praxis that undergirds McFague’s later call for ecological praxis. McFague focuses on the function of metaphor in the relationship among belief, language and action in people’s lives. The model of praxis constitutes a rich, complex framework for interpreting an ecological praxis of consumption reduction. However, the model as it stands does not factor in insights made in ecotheology. These insights illustrate the unique demands and opportunities the ecological crisis affords human beings in terms of their behaviour and relationships with God. Thus, I develop the model of praxis using key contributions from McFague’s own ecotheology. Finally, I turn to the question of how to elicit ecological praxis in people’s lives. I begin a heuristic inquiry into the possibilities of ecological literacy as a tool for engaging in the praxis McFague advocates. The primary finding in this thesis is that the methodology behind McFague’s call for an ecological praxis of consumption reduction is based upon an early and enduring concern for Christian discipleship, understood as Christian belief lived out in the world. For McFague, the foundation of ecological praxis is found in the function of metaphor in the relationship among belief, language and action. This foundation is complex and highly nuanced. Through my own construction and a further development of a model of praxis based upon McFague’s ideas, I am able to present from McFague’s theological scholarship a cogent and indispensable framework for understanding human action in light of belief and the ecological crisis.
URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10393/24242
http://dx.doi.org/10.20381/ruor-762
CollectionThèses Saint-Paul // Saint Paul Theses
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