The results of this project will be reported at a conference in Australia in December 2010.

Here is the paper proposal as accepted:

"Presentation Proposal for 2010 International Conference of the International Society for the Study of Religion, Nature, and Culture: Living on the Edge

Perth Australia
December 16-19, 2010

Daniel Roland, PhD

Title of Paper: “Responding to the Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill in the Sunday Sermon: A Study in How Clergy Members Apply Scripture in Addressing an Environmental Disaster”

The presentation will report on the findings from an exploratory research project analyzing sermons delivered by clergy members from various Christian denominations speaking to the Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. The research project utilizes Grounded Theory and the interpretative framework of Dervin’s Sense-Making Methodology to identify the contextual dimensions from which clergy approach and perceive the oil spill situation, the various elements employed to construct conceptual bridges to achieve a sense-making experience of the oil spill situation, and the desired outcomes called for through the sermon texts.

The research project invites clergy members to participate in an electronic survey designed to gather personal demographic information, to discover the various information resources used when preparing a sermon addressing an environmental disaster, and to measure the extent and dimensions of clergy member interest in environmental issues. The survey also asks for demographic data concerning the congregation(s) served by clergy members such as economic impact of the oil spill, clean up volunteerism, financial support, response to sermons addressing environmental concerns, and so on.

The research project also asks clergy members to submit digital copies of the text of sermons addressing the Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill. The research project aggregates the sermon texts into a database to facilitate keyword searching and the discovery of unique and common patterns, themes, references, etc., within and across different variables.
The presentation will speak to the conference theme of the challenges and approaches of social, spiritual, and cultural change and focus on the Sunday sermon as the communication medium for effecting such change. Sense-Making Methodology is especially appropriate for the theme of a conference that seeks to define living on the edge. The presentation will also contribute to the multi-disciplinary nature of the conference by speaking from the perspective of Information Science."

A survey is currently underway on Qualtrics.