seven texts that have been my teachers in a spirituality of creation...

While preparing for a month of reflections on the Season of Creation, the recently added eco-justice theme to the Christian liturgical calendar, I started to peruse my theological library. There are seven books that I have kept - and used with vigor - over the past twenty years that may be of interest.  They are:

+ Creation Spirituality by Matthew Fox. This is the foundational text and grandmother of this genre. As I reread portions, I was awed by the prescient insights Fox brought to this subject in 1991 - the depth of his wisdom and the connections he articulated are masterful, too.. Closely related to Creation Spirituality are his other two masterworks:  A Spirituality Named Compassion and Original Blessing: A Primer in Creation Spirituality. For those seeking to understand the root and branches of eco-justice themes in the Christian tradition, these are essential texts.

+ The Season of Creation: A Preaching Commentary, eds. Norman C. Habel, David Rhoads, H. Paul Santmire.  Like other lectionary preaching tools, this compendium offers serious Biblical commentary on the assigned Scriptures for each of the Sundays in the Season of Creation. It also provides theological and liturgical insights for nourishing a contemporary spirituality of creation. Compiled in 2011, with links to on-line updates, this is a must have for those leading worship.

+ Grounded by Diana Butler Bass.  The current hands-on favorite over the past 18 months, Bass weaves Biblical themes into the interviews, research, questions and stories from her journey away from anthropomorphic religion. Many of my clergy friends have been captivated by this book - it is lively, faithful and well written - and I find myself in resonance with many of her challenges to the status quo. Published in 2015, this is now available in paper.

+ Natural Grace: A Dialogue on Creation, Darkness and the Soul of Spirituality and Science by Matthew Fox and Rupert Sheldrake. This (and the book following my notes) is my all-time favorite in the Creation Spirituality realm. As the authors themselves articulate it: "We both share an interest in going beyond the current limitations of institutional science and mechanistic religion." And they do in this series of dialogues re: the emerging synthesis of scientific wisdom and sacred insights. Fun, demanding and creative.

+ Belonging to the Universe: Explorations on the Frontiers of Science and Spirituality by Frijof Capra and David Steindl-Rast.  Another series of brilliant dialogues between a Benedictine monastic and the author of The Tao of Physics. Their goal is to summarize a new paradigm for thinking and living that embraces a radical awareness of our inter-dependence with all of Creation - and then unpack some of the implications for living as partners with the totality of the cosmos! Not for the faint of heart, this rewarding text from 1991 is a celebration of all that is holy. 

+ Sisters of the Earth, ed. Lorraine Anderson.  What does it mean to learn from Nature about healing, delight, joy and the rhythm of life?  The essays, poems and prose of over ninety women writers are gathered in this 1991 anthology. It was my re-connection with contemporary feminist thought and my first contact with poets like Joy Harjo, Terry Tempest Williams and Ursula Le Guin. While this is not an explicitly Christian or even spiritual collection, it is a satisfying distillation of recent feminist wisdom that has been all too often marginalized in an overly bottom line culture and economy.

+ Becoming Bread: Meditations on Loving and Transformation by Gunilla Norris. Bishop Tutu writes, "Remove your shoes, for this is holy ground. I was almost breathless with wonder at the beauty of Norris's words - so simple and yet so profound."  Me too. This small but significant volume of poems and commentary from 1993 highlights what it means to live organically as a loving part of God's creation. As one who both cherishes bread - and enjoys baking it - I was moved by her metaphors.

I find that I need to go deeply into a theme - one book or lecture is never enough - and these seven texts have been valuable teachers. Maybe they will have value for you, too.


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