God and Nature in Belize

It’s the beginning of the school year at Northeastern Seminary, and I’m way behind in posting anything. A new school year is always characterized by a buzz of activity—getting syllabi ready, making sure course websites are up and running, attending faculty meetings, and getting to know new students. This year I’m also teaching three new courses, which makes for extra busyness. The result is that I’ve been too focused on school matters to do any blogging the last few weeks.

One of the new courses I’m teaching is in Belize, Central America. It is a week-long course called “God and Nature” and it starts tomorrow (I’m posting this Sunday evening Belize time, which is two hours earlier by the clock than Rochester, where I usually post from).

The course is part of the Creation Care Study Program (CCSP), and I will be teaching one of two weeks on the topic of “God and Nature” for Christian students in a semester abroad program in tropical ecology. The other week will be taught later in the semester by Steven Bouma-Prediger of Hope College. Both “God and Nature” courses provide a biblical and theological foundation for the more practical courses students take in forest, stream, and field ecology, plus internships where they get to apply what they are learning.

The students have so far had an orientation week, followed by a week of stream ecology. Here’s a crazy video montage of this year’s orientation, which shows something of what Belize is like. Starting tomorrow (Monday) the students begin digging into Scripture and reflecting on the implications of the biblical worldview for their studies.

I’ve been in Belize now for two days. I flew into Belize City yesterday and we drove two hours to the town of Santa Elena, where the program is located. It is a beautiful environment (though very humid; so I have to get used to changing my shirts often). I’ve already seen one iguana by the side of the driveway and one snake across my path.

I’ve been told I have to watch out for what the locals call the Tommy Goff (Fer-de-Lance) and Coral Snakes (both poisonous) when I’m walking in the forest. Belize has the largest population of wild jaguars in Central America, but I doubt I will see any, given I’d have to go far afield and most of my time will be taken up with teaching.

I never did get to see any jaguars or Fer-de-Lance, but I have posted a fuller report on my Belize trip.