The lineup for the
Dubbed an "intellectual hootenanny" by
This year's event will be
This year's spiritual theme surfaced with Jackson's decision to invite Benedictine monk Brother
"Brother David was the first person he lined up to speak, and then he ended up building it around that," Seirer said. "It's going to be diverse and different; Wes is good at that."
But in late August, Steindl-Rast canceled his visit, and his colleague
Ethical land use
One of the later speakers to be invited is
Burk said Jackson was speaking at an environmental science seminar at Creighton, and "it came up when we were talking that I had been a student of
Burk said his talk will explore how believers and nonbelievers can take different approaches and still end up with the same view of ethical land use.
As an example, he cites the monarch butterfly.
"It's either an incredible product of creation or evolution," Burk said. "Its annual migration is one of the more remarkable phenomena of nature."
Yet some monarch populations have dropped by 97 percent in the past 20 years.
"None of us would be economically affected by the demise of monarch butterflies, but it would be a shame to leave our children and grandchildren a world without them."
From a nonreligious point of view, Burk said, "there are marxist-humanists who believe the Earth is here to be exploited for the good of people -- but there are also people who aren't religious but still have a land ethic."
Likewise, Burk said, religious people can take differing views: "There is the religious idea of stewardship -- but also the flip side, that the Earth was put here for us to use."
The biblical perspective
"There's no biblical warrant for that in my perspective," said
Davis said the Bible "doesn't provide easy answers but complicates the world in a fruitful way."
"From a biblical perspective, arable land is not a commodity," Davis said. "It is not sold on the open market. This is different from land in town, a house in town -- any land on which food can be grown is not treated as a commodity in
"Who owns the land? Ultimately God. It's granted to us in an intergenerational trust, but it belongs to God."
Unfortunately, she said, "that doesn't answer the question in the modern world any more than it did in ancient
Connecting with Wes
Davis said she first met Jackson about 20 years ago when she was teaching at Yale, and he was there to speak.
"Obviously, Wes wasn't talking about the Bible, but the way he was talking, I could easily connect it to the Bible," she said.
Shortly afterwards, she said, she spent a week of a sabbatical at the
While there, she said, "Wes asked me an interesting question. He took me out to lunch and asked me why is it that the Bible always gets it so right about land. I didn't know that the Bible always gets it right, and certainly didn't know why it got it right, but that question led me in directions that were certainly helpful in my work."
Others at the festival
Other presenters are:
--Kenneth Levy-Church, a philanthropist and expert on Russian history, who will speak about the crisis in eastern
--Jackson, whose talk is titled "The Need for a Utopian Novel."
--Mary Kay, a
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