Previous | Next

Spring 2020 · Vol. 49 No. 1 · pp. 82–87 

Recommended Reading

On Eco-Discipleship

Laura Schmidt Roberts and Michael Kunz

“Anabaptist Environmental Theologies and Ethics.” Mennonite Quarterly Review 94 (January 2020).

Essays in this special issue of MQR aim to enrich and renew the agenda of Anabaptist environmental theology and ethics by surveying current literature and varieties of Anabaptist environmental theology and ethics, exploring the theological place of land and deep-seated racialized practices, developing a pastoral response to climate denial and the accompanying psychological distress, and raising issues of the ethical dimensions of waste disposal. — Laura Roberts

Bauckham, Richard. Living With Other Creatures: Green Exegesis and Theology. Waco, TX: Baylor University Press, 2011.

Explores Scripture as a whole, including Jesus’s perspectives on creation and novel approaches to reading the Gospels, finding a firm command for Christians to care for all of God’s creation. Also discusses generations of theologians who have sought to live out this biblical mandate, including some of the most well-known “ecologists” throughout Christian history. — Laura Roberts

Berry, Wendell. Sex, Economy, Freedom, and Community: Eight Essays. New York: Pantheon, 1992.

Berry’s essay in this collection, “Christianity and the Survival of Creation,” is perhaps the most accessible, compelling, and challenging piece yet written for people of faith across the Christian spectrum of theology and politics. The whole book speaks from deep places within a rare white man who sought to know, love, and commit himself, through care, to the land. — Nathan Hunt

Bouma-Prediger, Steven. For the Beauty of the Earth. Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academic, 2010.

Bouma-Prediger examines biblical foundations {83} for creation care theology. It is an especially helpful resource to those new to evangelical environmental ethics conversations. — Katie Isaac

Brunner, Daniel L., Jennifer L. Butler, and A. J. Swoboda. Introducing Evangelical Ecotheology: Foundations in Scripture, Theology, History, and Praxis. Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academic, 2014.

This work presents the biblical, ecological, and historical background of Christian ecotheology and avenues for action. — Katie Isaac and Ched Myers

Davis, Ellen F. Scripture, Culture, and Agriculture: An Agrarian Reading of the Bible. New York: Cambridge University Press, 2009.

Davis examines the theology and ethics of land use, especially the practices of modern industrialized agriculture, in light of critical biblical exegesis. She provides a fresh perspective from which to view the destructive practices and assumptions that now dominate the global food economy. Nine interrelated essays explore the biblical writers’ pervasive concern for the care of arable land against the background of the geography, social structures, and religious thought of ancient Israel, bringing out neglected aspects of texts that are central to Jewish and Christian traditions. — Sara Gurulé*

De Graaf, John and David Wann. Affluenza: How Overconsumption is Killing Us—and How to Fight Back. San Francisco, CA: Berett-Koehler Publishers, 2014.

The book behind the film of the same name describes the symptoms of Affluenza and offers many helpful tips on how to resist it. — Ken Friesen

Dykstra, Laurel, curator. Wild Lectionary. Bartimaeus Cooperative Ministries and Word & World.

Each week, author-practitioners meditate on the week’s Revised Common Lectionary passage, focusing on its watershed discipleship and ecological themes. — Katerina Friesen

Foster, Richard J. Freedom of Simplicity: Finding Harmony in a Complex World. HarperOne, 2005.

Foster’s classic work on simplicity continues to inspire as he explains how simplicity is not merely living with less but a key spiritual discipline. — Ken Friesen {84}

Francis. Laudato Si’: On Care for Our Common Home. Washington, DC: United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, 2015.

Pope Francis is a master weaver. In this slim “letter to the church,” rooted in his love for Jesus, he deftly weaves together the social and ecological, spiritual and economic, personal and cultural, scientific and theological to paint a picture of the transformations required today. Its exhortations are invitational and life-breathing. — Nathan Hunt

Gorringe, Timothy, and Rosie Beckham. The Transition Movement for Churches: A Prophetic Imperative for Today. Norwich, UK: Canterbury, 2013.

Provides churches confronting a climate-changing world with theological rationale and ideas that align with the Transition Town Movement to enhance environmental resiliancy and social justice. — Ched Myers

Harker, Ryan D., and Janeen Bertsche Johnson, eds. Rooted and Grounded: Essays on Land and Discipleship. Eugene, OR: Pickwick, 2016.

This collection of essays and the conference from which they took shape calls the church to root itself more deeply in the agrarian biblical text and ecclesial tradition in order to remember and freshly imagine ways of living on and with the land that are restorative, reconciling, and faithful to the triune God’s invitation to new life in Christ. — Laura Roberts

Kimmerer, Robin Wall. Braiding Sweetgrass: Indigenous Wisdom, Scientific Knowledge, and the Teachings of Plants. Minneapolis: Milkweed Editions, 2013.

In some of the most beautiful prose I have ever read, Kimmerer breathes out a fully matured imagination for relationship that cultivates wholeness. As both a citizen of the Potowatomi nation and professor of ecology, she brings an encyclopedic and intimate relationship to creation, as a world of nonhuman persons with wisdom to teach and gifts to give. Kimmerer shows us, in one thrilling essay after another, what life would be like if culture rooted itself in reciprocity instead of consumerism. — Nathan Hunt and Katerina Friesen

Lane, Belden C. Backpacking with the Saints: Wilderness Hiking as Spiritual Practice. New York: Oxford University Press, 2015.

Taking solo backpacking trips through untamed land with the writings of desert mothers and fathers, medieval mystics, and contemplatives, Lane reflects on the wisdom these saints gleaned from their experience of the natural world. — Audrey Hindes {85}

Lawrence, Brother. The Practice of the Presence of God. New York: Doubleday, 1977.

Brother Lawrence’s classic of contemplative spirituality is not an academic work. His spirituality consists in encountering God through the most ordinary and mundane routines of life, famously praying, Lord of pots and pans and things . . . make me a saint by getting meals and washing up the plates. — Audrey Hindes

Laws, John Muir. The Laws Guide to Nature Drawing and Journaling. Berkeley, CA: Heyday, 2016.

“I notice,” “I wonder,” and “It reminds me of” are the foundational prompts for nature journaling as advocated by John Muir Laws. Paying focused attention to the natural world, Laws endeavors to evoke a love of that world that leads to advocacy and conservation. — Audrey Hindes

Miles, Sara. Take this Bread: A Radical Conversion. New York: Ballantine Books, 2008.

In this book, Miles narrates a journey of healing and transformation that began by participating in the sacrament variously called Communion, the Eucharist, the Lord’s Supper, or Mass. In turn, she is compelled to feed others. — Audrey Hindes

Moe-Lobeda, Cynthia. Resisting Structural Evil: Love as Economic-Ecological Vocation. Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 2013.

Moe-Lobeda’s work of eco-feminism is an extended meditation on the expressions love must take in the context of structural violence. A beautiful, integrative work of penetrating analysis and a rich theology rooted in soil and social suffering, the book offers guidance for (as Cornell West would say) making love public in the form of justice. — Nathan Hunt

Myers, Ched. “From ‘Creation Care’ to ‘Watershed Discipleship’: Re-Placing Ecological Theology and Practice.” Conrad Grebel Review 32 (Fall 2014): 250–75.

Myers seeks to “re-place” our theology and discipleship in our watersheds in light of the ecological-economic crisis of our time. — Katerina Friesen

Myers, Ched, ed. Watershed Discipleship: Reinhabiting Bioregional Faith and Practice. Eugene, OR: Cascade Books, 2016.

A collection of essays by younger activists that embrace a bioregional approach to ecological theology and practice to enhance local sustainability, restorative justice, and spiritual renewal. — Ched Myers

Northcott, Michael. A Political Theology of Climate Change. Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 2013.

Northcott makes the case that political {86} entities, not just individuals, have legal and moral responsibilities to rule over limited terrains to ensure a just and fair distribution of the fruits of the earth within ecological limits. — Ched Myers

Peterson, Eugene H. Reversed Thunder: The Revelation of John and the Praying Imagination. Harper Collins, 1988.

Peterson’s eloquent meditation on the Revelation of St. John engages the imagination and awakens the intellect to the vitality and relevance of the last words in the biblical canon on Scripture, Christ, church, worship, evil, prayer, witness, politics, judgment, salvation, and heaven. — Sara Gurulé

Redekop, Calvin. Creation and the Environment: An Anabaptist Perspective on a Sustainable World. Baltimore, MD: The Johns Hopkins University Press, 2000.

Redekop and his contributors share a Mennonite perspective on social, economic, and ecological issues and their relationships to creation care. — Katie Isaac

Rohr, Richard. Simplicity: The Freedom of Letting Go. New York: Crossroad, 2003.

A book written by a Franciscan mystic that gives practical guidance for living a life informed by joy, not dry theology. — Ken Friesen

———. The Universal Christ: How a Forgotten Reality Can Change Everything We See, Hope For, and Believe. New York: Convergent Books, 2019.

Rohr’s book offers a new (to North American Protestants) vision of Christ as the ”blueprint” for a creation permeated with Christ. This expansive vision offers hope and healing, showing that all things in creation—human beings included—are connected to God and to one another. — Audrey Hindes

Schrock, Jennifer. Every Creature Singing. Goshen, IN: Mennonite Creation Care Network, 2014.

This is a Sunday school curriculum that helps Christ-followers to explore creation care theology, ecological peace, and practical applications in their local communities. — Katie Isaac

Shifting Climates: A Podcast About Climate Justice + the Church. n.d. Center for Sustainable Climate Solutions.

The connections between climate, justice, and faith are illuminated by stories from people around the world. — Katerina Friesen and Sara Gurulé {87}

Taylor, Dorceta E. Toxic Communities: Environmental Racism, Industrial Pollution, and Residential Mobility. New York: New York University Press, 2014.

Taylor helps us see the imbrication of injustices that still occupy separate spheres in our imagination. Her book demonstrates that Black and Brown communities, along with clusters of unwanted peoples in undesired places, have been the victims of an “environmental racism” which rationalizes their economic exclusion and exploitation. We do not understand the ecological crisis until we see its racist and classist faces. — Nathan Hunt

Walker-Jones, Arthur. The Green Psalter: Resources for an Ecological Spirituality. Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 2009.

Concern for the earth and biblical faith have had an uneasy relationship: ecological theologians have often cited biblical themes of dominion or “mastery” over the land as contributing to our present environmental crisis. Walker-Jones explores Psalm genres and important metaphors in the Psalms for earth, the environment, and living things, while tracing their influence in contemporary culture, for example in recent films. — Sara Gurulé

* Sara Gurulé received a Bachelor of Arts degree in Biblical Studies with a minor in Environmental Studies from Fresno Pacific University in the spring of 2019. She is presently Pink House Intern and Interim College Hour Coordinator at Fresno Pacific University.

Previous | Next