Wendell Berry and the Cultivation of Life: A Reader's Guide  -     By: Matthew J. Bonzo, Michael R. Stevens
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Wendell Berry and the Cultivation of Life: A Reader's Guide

Brazos Press / 2008 / Paperback

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Product Description

Far from being a mere "nostalgic agrarian," Wendell Berry offers an important and redemptive vision for life through his poetry, fiction, and essays. His themes of community, place, and conservation speak to a range of people, both conservative and progressive, who are concerned with finding health in the midst of our restless, transient "culture of death."

Wendell Berry and the Cultivation of Life is a systematic overview of Berry's life and work and a concise introduction to his cultural and spiritual themes. It demonstrates the power of Berry's vision and shows how his account of the world resonates with the biblical narrative of creation. This book confronts readers with the question persistently raised in Berry's works: How can we sustain meaningful lives against the background of a consumeristic, dislocated age?

This timely guide will benefit theology, literature, and sociology students as well as pastors and ecology groups. Readers will discover how to flesh out Berry's worldview and foster a culture of life in their neighborhoods, educational systems, churches, and homes.

Matt Bonzo (Ph.D., Free University of Amsterdam) is assistant professor of philosophy and Michael R. Stevens (Ph.D., University of Dallas) is associate professor of English, both at Cornerstone University.

Product Information

Format: Paperback
Number of Pages: 208
Vendor: Brazos Press
Publication Date: 2008
Dimensions: 9.00 X 6.00 (inches)
ISBN: 1587431955
ISBN-13: 9781587431951
Availability: In Stock

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Publisher's Description

Wendell Berry's poetry, fiction, and essays persistently ask the question: How can we live meaningful lives in a consumer-driven, fragmented age? His honest search for health in the midst of disease has garnered attention and discussion in both conservative and progressive circles.

Wendell Berry and the Cultivation of Life thoroughly examines Berry's main themes of community, place, and conservation. It offers an apology for the power of Berry's vision and the ways in which his account of the world resonates with the biblical narrative. Pastors, students, professors, and laity will discover in this book how to flesh out Berry's worldview and foster a culture of life in their neighborhoods, churches, and schools.

Author Bio

J. Matthew Bonzo (PhD, Free University of Amsterdam) is assistant professor of philosophy and Michael R. Stevens (PhD, University of Dallas) is associate professor of English, both at Cornerstone University in Grand Rapids, Michigan.

Endorsements

"I have long ranked Wendell Berry among my most trustworthy guides as I have picked my way through the distorting and corrupting seductions of American culture. For forty years, in a succession of novels and poems and essays he has been re-ordering my Christian imagination to cultivate totalities, to live life as a spiritually organic whole." -Eugene Peterson, professor emeritus of spiritual theology, Regent College

"For nearly thirty years I've been part of a conversation with the work of Wendell Berry which has made me a better pastor. This introduction to Berry by Matthew Bonzo and Michael Stevens beckons readers to join the conversation. For veteran Berry readers, it's like sitting by the fire with old friends; for newcomers, it's an invitation." -Kyle Childress, pastor, Austin Heights Baptist Church, Nacogdoches, Texas

"Matthew Bonzo and Michael Stevens here provide us with the clearest and most cordially inclined, but still clear-eyed, overview of Berry that I have seen to date. As the green-theology/neo-agrarian movement grows, this kind of careful reconsideration and assessment of its saints, forerunners, and older protagonists becomes increasingly pertinent and, indeed, even necessary." -Phyllis Tickle, author, The Great Emergence

"Over the past fifty years Wendell Berry has given witness to a vision of our life together that is proving to be indispensable and prophetic. Bonzo and Stevens have gleaned a rich harvest from this vision, showing that Berry's voice is one today's church cannot ignore. Wendell Berry and the Cultivation of Life is an excellent introduction and guide for those seeking a better, healthier, saner world." -Norman Wirzba, research professor of theology, ecology, and rural life, Duke Divinity School

"How do you recommend this book without resorting to the kind of salesmanship that Wendell Berry has railed against throughout his career? Not by hyperbole, but with imperatives. Here are three. Know this: Wendell Berry is not the messiah, though this unruly Baptist bears a more than passing resemblance to that Baptist who first prepared Christ's way. Read Berry; if you want to be a faithful disciple in the American context, he is a necessary conversation partner. Buy, read, and mark this book; it is an excellent introduction to Berry's complex work---indeed, the best one I know." -D. Brent Laytham, assistant professor of theology, North Park Theological Seminary

"Once one is exposed to the comprehensive wit of Wendell Berry, there is no going back. The question 'What Would Wendell Berry Do?' comes to inform all manner of decisions in our buying, selling, and doing. In a treatment that is both wide-ranging and robustly evangelical, Bonzo and Stevens bring Berry's witness to bear upon one dim-witted economy after another with an invigorating account of Berry's more magnanimous economic vision. In a constant call to look harder at the world we're in, creation is imagined not as a resource for endless plundering but rather the place where God's kingdom, the great economy, comes, offering the hospitality that sustains, our only home and our only hope."--David Dark, author, The Gospel According to America

"Wendell Berry and the Cultivation of Life is an insightful and readable guide to the work of one of the most important living American writers. Steeped in a deep knowledge of all of Berry's work---fiction, essays, poetry---and conversant with many scholars in a variety of academic disciplines, Bonzo and Stevens illuminate why Berry has attracted such a following of readers over the past four decades. If you have never read Berry, this book will serve as a very good introduction. If you are a Berry connoisseur, this book will deepen your understanding." -Steven Bouma-Prediger, professor of religion, Hope College

"Wendell Berry's vision of a new economy of value, in which even a fallen sparrow is important, is clearly and critically opened up to the church by Bonzo and Stevens. I hope that this book will be read alongside Berry's work, and that Christians will see Berry's voice for the prophetic gift it is---a call to live more deeply in the Kingdom of God." -Ragan Sutterfield, author and farmer

Author Bio

J. Matthew Bonzo (PhD, Free University of Amsterdam) is assistant professor of philosophy at Cornerstone University in Grand Rapids, Michigan.

Michael R. Stevens (PhD, University of Dallas) is associate professor of English at Cornerstone University in Grand Rapids, Michigan.

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