#AdventBookClub: Advent 3 – being human

‘Dominion’ is, as this chapter discusses, a quite unhelpful work for describing the relationship between humans and our non-human neighbours. It implies a particular power dynamic which is not (at least in my reading of them) faithful to either of the creation stories in Genesis. And it has some unfortunate resonances, in a world shaped by colonialism and empire, with all those times and places where (usually white) humans have claimed dominion over (usually black and brown) other humans.

But I am not sure terms like ‘stewardship’ are any better. Still, there is a power dynamic which places humans in some sense ‘over’ our non-human neighbours. Stewardship is intended to be a more ‘benevolent’ kind of power than dominion, but it does nothing to challenge the fundamentally hierarchical understanding of the relationship.

And yet we know that however much power we may think we have (for good or ill) over our non-human neighbours, we depend on them absolutely for our survival. This is not really a relationship of hierarchy, but on of mutuality and interdependence. Perhaps we need to find new ways of understanding and expressing our relationship with our non-human neighbours, on whom we depend and who depend on us, with whom God has created us in mutual dependence and support, if we are to bring about a significant shift in our attitudes and actions.

This year for #AdventBookClub we are reading “Sleepers Wake: Getting Serious About Climate Change” by Nicholas Holtam. For conversations and blog posts from various group members, follow the hashtag on Twitter or join the Facebook group


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