Changing the World with Faith, Hope & Love: Ecology, Identity, Class & Solidarity in the Way of Jesus with Joerg Rieger!

Do you ever wonder if ‘people power’ is dead? If our efforts at change-making to create a more just and beautiful world are just a pipe dream, compared to the well-funded interests of the profit-driven powerful? I’ll admit, I’ve been feeling a bit despondent lately…until I sat down and talked to Dr. Joerg Rieger, author of Theology in the Capitalocene: Ecology, Identity, Class, and Solidarity.

For more than two decades, Joerg has worked to bring theology together with the struggles for justice and liberation that mark our age. His work addresses the relation of theology and public life, reflecting on the misuse of power in religion, politics, and economics. His main interest is in developments and movements that bring about change, especially the positive contributions religion and theology can have. His constructive work in theology draws on a wide range of historical and contemporary traditions, with a concern for manifestations of the Divine in the pressures of everyday life.

Joerg is a Distinguished Professor of Theology and the Cal Turner Chancellor’s Chair of Wesleyan Studies. He is also the founding director of the Wendland-Cook Program in Religion and Justice at Vanderbilt Divinity School in Nashville, Tennessee.  He is also an ordained elder in the United Methodist Church. 

In our wide-ranging interview, we discuss:

  • Why it’s futile to pit greater freedom and equity for people vs the needs of our planet — and how to join both together, joyfully 
  • How western culture, religion and science have teamed up to present a human-centric view of life that’s been bad news for the rest of creation  — and how going to the roots of our faith can be a powerful antidote 
  • Why relying mainly on protest as a means for social change si a dead-end street and recipe for burnout — and what everyday actions we can take to actually create change amid the powers-that-be
  • What sources of credible hope do we have?
  • What role do faith communities hold in making a difference?
  • What role does theology and biblical storytelling hold in addressing the worst injustices of class and climate today?
  • What role does spirituality and spiritual practice hold in helping us be more resilient, generative, and joyous in the face of the challenges we face, and when does spirituality become the latest ‘greenwashing’ or ‘spiritual bypassing’? 
  • Why does class analysis scare so many people today? Why does it seem to take last place in conversations about ‘intersectionality’? 
  • Do bad-faith corporations and even governments have more to lose by centering class than ‘diversity’ markers along (say) race, gender and sexual orientation? 
  • How returning to the evangelical value of “WWJD” could move the needle… how a more trusting relationship with the historically-grounded and risen presence of Jesus today can create beloved community and give us strength for the journey 

You’re going to want to tune in to this conversation —watch or listen here!

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