Luminaries / H. Paul Santmire / Eco-theology, Bonhoeffer and Barth, and Doing Theology from the Margins

The Luminaries series is a collection of interviews with premier thinkers working in the theological academy and the church. In this Luminaries interview, I talk with Dr. H. Paul Santmire, a historian and pastoral scholar in the disciplines of ecological theology, environmental ethics, and Christian liturgy and spirituality. On this episode, Dr. Santmire and I discuss eco-theology, Martin Luther, modern Lutheran theology, Barth and Bonhoeffer, and doing theology from the margins.

Use coupon code “SANTMIRE23” for 40% off Santmire’s W&S books

The Rev. Dr. H. Paul Santmire is a historian and pastoral scholar in the disciplines of ecological theology, environmental ethics, and Christian liturgy and spirituality. Since before the first Earth Day, he has been addressing ecological and justice issues from a Christian theological perspective. A Harvard-educated teacher and practitioner, and ordained in the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, Santmire served as Chaplain and Lecturer in Religion and Biblical Studies at Wellesley College in Massachusetts, as the Pastor of an inner-city congregation in Hartford, Connecticut, and as the Senior Pastor of a historic metropolitan church in downtown Akron, Ohio. Visit to find his writing online.

Show Notes


Dr. Santmire’s website: ⁠⁠

Dr. Santmire’s Twitter: ⁠⁠

Dr. Santmire’s Facebook: ⁠⁠

Dr. Santmire’s Instagram: ⁠


Bonhoeffer, Dietrich. The Cost of Discipleship.

———. Letters and Papers from Prison.

Santmire, H. Paul. Behold the Lilies: Jesus and the Contemplation of Nature—A Primer.

———. Celebrating Nature by Faith: Studies in Reformation Theology in an Era of Global Emergency.

———. EcoActivist Testament: Explorations of Faith and Nature for Fellow Travelers.

———. South African Testament: From Personal Encounter to Theological Challenge.

———. The Travail of Nature: The Ambiguous Ecological Promise of Christian Theology.


(01:52) – Orange juice, virgin mary

(03:02) – Lutherans (and Luther), Nazis, the Holocaust, Bonhoeffer

(10:42) – Studying with Paul Tillich, Heiko Oberman, and Martin Heinecken

(14:04) – The influence of Christian liturgy

(17:04) – “Behold the lilies” vs. “Consider the lilies”

(22:28) – Nature and civilization

(26:34) – American Lutheran (eco)theology

(31:53) – Jürgen Moltmann

(34:12) – Tradition-specific approaches to global issues

(38:25) – Karl Barth and theology of nature

(46:36) – God and humanity (and nature?)

(48:23) – Advice to eco-activists: do nothing for a spell

(52:28) – Eco-justice organizations

(56:02) – Interracial work in apartheid South Africa

(01:00:47) – Theology that starts from the margins


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