Dr. Larry RasmussenDr. Larry Rasmussen

Christian environmental ethicist Dr. Larry Rasmussen, who is the Reinhold Niebuhr Professor Emeritus of Social Ethics at Union Theological Seminary, will present the address “The Planet You Inherit: Everything Turns on Ethics and Spirituality” as the 2023-24 Danforth Lecture at Hope College on Thursday, Nov. 2, at 7 p.m. in the Maas Center auditorium.

The public is invited. Admission is free.

As described in the presentation’s abstract, “The human imprint is everywhere. It is so deep that not only is the course of evolution shaped by human choice and action but a geological shift is taking place as well. We’re moving from the late Holocene (the Wholly Recent Age) into the early Anthropocene (the Age of the Human). What does this mean for ethics, spirituality and a viable way of life?”

The address shares its title with that of Rasmussen’s most recent book, “The Planet You Inherit: Letters to My Grandchildren When Uncertainty’s a Sure Thing” (Broadleaf Books, 2022). His book “Earth-Honoring Faith: Religious Ethics in a New Key” (Oxford University Press, 2013) received the Nautilus Gold Prize for Ecology/Environment and the Nautilus Grand Prize for best 2014 book overall (27 categories). An earlier volume, “Earth Community, Earth Ethics” (Maryknoll: Orbis Books, 1996), won the prestigious Grawemeyer Award in Religion of 1997. A volume written with Bruce C. Birch, Cynthia Moe-Lobeda, and Jacquiline E. Lapsley, “Bible and Ethics: A New Conversation,” appeared in May 2018 (Fortress Press).

He served as a member of the Science, Ethics, and Religion Advisory Committee of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), and was a recipient of a Henry Luce Fellowship in Theology, 1998-99; the Burnice Fjellman Award for Distinguished Christian Ministries in Higher Education; the Joseph Sittler Award for Outstanding Leadership in Theological Education; and the UNITAS (Distinguished Alumnus) Award from Union Theological Seminary, New York. In 2021, he was granted the Lifetime Achievement Award of the Society of Christian Ethics.

From 1990 to 2000, Rasmussen served as co-moderator of the World Council of Churches unit, Justice, Peace, Creation. He was the organizer of the decade project on Earth-Honoring Faith at Ghost Ranch, 2008–2017.

In the spring semester 2018, he was guest professor at Union Theological Seminary and Yale University Divinity School. In the summer session of 2019, he taught in Cambridge University in England.

The Danforth Lecture is sponsored by the Hope College Department of Religion with support from an endowment established by the Danforth Foundation of St. Louis, Missouri. The program was established by the foundation “to deepen and enlarge the religious dimension of the campus family through speakers who can reflect on the broad, interdenominational and yet positive sense of the Judeo-Christian perspectives of life and existence.”

Some of the many distinguished scholars who have visited the campus through the program in the past include  Dr. Lewis B. Smedes of Fuller Theological Seminary; Dr. Martin E. Marty of the University of Chicago Divinity School; Dr. Nicholas Wolterstorff of Yale Divinity School; Dr. Oliver O’Donovan of the University of Edinburgh; Dr. John Stratton Hawley of Barnard College; Dr. Timothy George of Samford University’s Beeson Divinity School; Dr. Ellen F. Davis of the Divinity School at Duke University; Dr. Dale C. Allison Jr. of Princeton Theological Seminary; Dr. Sarah Coakley of St. Andrews University and Australian Catholic University; and Father Frank Clooney of Harvard University.

To inquire about accessibility or if you need accommodations to fully participate in the event, please email accommodations@hope.edu.  Updates related to events are posted when available in the individual listings at hope.edu/calendar.

The Maas Center is located at 264 Columbia Ave., between 10th and 13th streets.