Ventures online courses to focus on society and the environment




Ventures in Christian Discipleship, a program of McPherson College

By Kendra Flory

The February and March online courses offered by Ventures will focus on society and the environment. Ventures in Christian Discipleship is a program of McPherson (Kan.) College.

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In February, the Ventures online course will be “Examining the Disconnect Between Society and the Environment.” The environment is our home, and we rely heavily on it for all aspects of our lives. Technology is becoming so much a part of our everyday lives that some experience nature simply through images on a screen. Running items across the scanner or clicking “Buy Now” has made the purchase of products from foods to electronics to vehicles so easy it comes often without a second thought--without thought of excess, of where these products come from, or of the natural and social environments impacted in the making of the products. This course will explore the disconnect between society and the environments on which we are so dependent and don’t even realize it anymore.

The class will be held online on Saturday, Feb. 29, at 9 a.m. to 12 noon (central time) and taught by Dustin Wilgers, associate professor of biology at McPherson College. Wilgers has been on the faculty since 2011 teaching a variety of courses in biology and environmental stewardship. He has a passion for conservation and efforts that lead toward sustainability. He strongly believes that most people do the best they can for their situation but simply may not be aware of the implications of their everyday actions. Much of his work in and out of the classroom and with students of all ages focuses on increasing awareness of our impacts on the environment.

The March course will be “Creation Care and the Gospel of John.” This course looks to the Gospel of John as a resource for renewing our love for God’s creation and overcoming complacency about the current environmental crisis. We will learn from John’s prologue that Jesus is the embodiment of the divine wisdom that gives light and life to all creation. The prologue can then serve as our guide for reading other portions of John, including stories where Jesus continues to work for the transformation of humanity and the healing of creation.

The class will be held online on Saturday, March 21, at 9 a.m. to 12 noon (central time) and taught by Dan Ulrich, Wieand Professor of New Testament Studies at Bethany Theological Seminary. Ulrich has taught at the seminary since 1996. He is writing a book about the four gospels as guides for envisioning life-giving ministries in the 21st century, and recently completed a chapter on the Gospel of John. Hiking, camping, and canoeing are activities that have nurtured his love for God and God’s creation since childhood. He has enjoyed continuing those activities, when possible, with his spouse, Paula, and their young-adult children. Ulrich is an ordained minister in the Church of the Brethren with a doctorate. in biblical studies from Union Presbyterian Seminary in Richmond, Va.

All classes are donation-based and continuing education credit is available for $10 per course. To learn more about Ventures and to register for courses visit www.mcpherson.edu/ventures .

-- Kendra Flory is advancement assistant at McPherson College.

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