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Making Peace with the Land: God's Call to Reconcile with Creation
Inter-varsity Press / 2012 / Paperback
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God is reconciling all things in heaven and on earth. We are alienated not only from one another, but also from the land that sustains us. Our ecosystems are increasingly damaged, and human bodies are likewise degraded. Most of us have little understanding of how our energy is derived or our food is produced, and many of our current industrialized practices are both unhealthy for our bodies and unsustainable for the planet. Agriculturalist Fred Bahnson and theologian Norman Wirzba declare that in Christ, God reconciles all bodies into a peaceful, life-promoting relationship with one another. Because human beings are incarnated in material, bodily existence, we are necessarily interdependent with plants and animals, land and sea, heaven and earth. The good news is that redemption is cosmic, with implications for agriculture and ecology, from farm to dinner table. Bahnson and Wirzba describe communities that model cooperative practices of relational life, with local food production, eucharistic eating and delight in God's provision. Reconciling with the land is a rich framework for a new way of life. Read this book to start down the path to restoring shalom and experiencing Jesus' kingdom of shared abundance, where neighbors are fed and all receive enough.
Fred Bahnson is a permaculture gardener, a pioneer in church-supported agriculture, and an award-winning poet and essayist. Bahnson is the director of the Food and Faith initiative at the Wake Forest University School of Divinity. Formerly, he was a Kellogg Food & Society policy fellow at the Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy and the cofounder and former director of Anathoth Community Garden in Cedar Grove, North Carolina. Bahnson is a contributor to the University Press of Kentucky book edited by Joel Shuman and the author of the forthcoming Free Press book His essay "Climbing the Sphinx" was featured in edited by Philip Zaleski. Norman Wirzba (Ph.D., Loyola University Chicago) is research professor of theology, ecology and rural life at Duke Divinity School. He holds memberships in the American Academy of Religion, the Society for Continental Philosophy and Theology and the International Association for Environmental Philosophy. Wirzba is the author of (Cambridge), (Cambridge) and (Oxford) as well as numerous reviews and articles, including "Agrarianism After Modernity: An Opening for Grace" in (Baylor). McKibben is a former staff writer for and a frequent contributor to His books include (Random House), (Random House), (Eerdmans) and, most recently, (Little, Brown).
"I cannot think of another book on making peace with the earth that does so much in so few pages--grounding its case with theological care, describing the causes of 'ecological amnesia' so clearly that they are impossible to disown and offering a vision of practical response that appeals to hope instead of guilt, and all of this while telling stories that make the book difficult to put down! Here is a book for anyone who is ready to trade ecological despair for practical action, in the company of two men who know what it means to be 'married to the land.'"
"This series is on reconciliation, which is at the heart of the Christian faith. One of the early Christians said there are three dimensions to the cross--the vertical, which is about reconciliation with God; the horizontal, which is about reconciliation to other humans; and finally the cross is firmly planted into the earth, which calls us to reconcile with creation. That final dimension is perhaps the most neglected one of all in the piles of books on faith. I am deeply thankful for this addition to the library. We all just got smarter."
"When Mary turned from the empty tomb and mistook Jesus for a gardener, it was no mistake: Jesus is the new Adam. Thank you, Fred and Norman, for reminding us of our Genesis 2:15 responsibility to tend and protect the Garden, this earth, and calling each of us to the good work of living peaceably with the land."
" Making Peace with the Land offers a powerful vision of God as a gardener, physically engaged in the work of restoring all creation to wholeness. And it offers hungry people a way to join in God's work by getting our hands dirty. This is a book about communion in its deepest sense."
"Bahnson and Wirzba have written a compelling summons to food repentance. They call us away from the long-term unsustainable bubble of food in the orbit of fossil fuel. They urge return to the quotidian reality of soil, fresh tomatoes, the daily work of gardening, and realism about the source of food. Their accessible, anecdotal style adds force to the critical bite of their invitation toward life-giving, life-sustaining food."
"This book reminds us of the resources--scriptural, scientific and human--that we have as we try to write a new story, one that emphasizes the need for people to back off, to allow the planet to operate on its own (God's) terms instead of ours. It's a rich book, which is appropriate, since this is a rich and beautiful world."
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