Making Peace with the Land: God's Call to Reconcile with Creation
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InterVarsity Press / 2012 / Paperback

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Making Peace with the Land: God's Call to Reconcile with Creation

InterVarsity Press / 2012 / Paperback

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Stock No: WW834570

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Product Description

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.

Making Peace 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.

Product Information

Format: Paperback
Number of Pages: 160
Vendor: InterVarsity Press
Publication Date: 2012
Dimensions: 8.25 X 5.50 (inches)
ISBN: 0830834575
ISBN-13: 9780830834570
Series: Resources for Reconciliation

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Author Bio

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).


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.
-From the foreword by Bill McKibben

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.
-Walter Brueggemann,
Columbia Theological Seminary

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.
-Sara Miles,
founder of The Food Pantry

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.
-Nancy Sleeth,
cofounder, Blessed Earth

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.
-Shane Claiborne

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.'
-Barbara Brown Taylor

In Genesis, God entrusts the care of his good creation to humanity, commanding us to rule it as his vice-regents--which means careful stewardship, not consumeristic exploitation. Determining the difference between the two is sometimes difficult. But with the guidance of prayer, Scripture, and books life Making Peace with the Land, we might find the search for wisdom less difficult than we first thought.
-Jake Meador,
Christianity Today, June 2012

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  1. Abram KJ
    Age: 25-34
    Gender: male
    5 Stars Out Of 5
    And God planted a garden....
    August 14, 2012
    Abram KJ
    Age: 25-34
    Gender: male
    Quality: 5
    Value: 5
    Meets Expectations: 5
    The newest offering from IVP Books' Resources for Reconciliation series is Making Peace with the Land: God's Call to Reconcile with Creation. The Resources for Reconciliation series pairs a practitioner with an academician, who then together address the theology and practice of reconciliation in a given sphere of life.

    Practitioner Fred Bahnson is an agriculturalist and writer (and excellent theologian); academician Norman Wirzba is a theology professor at Duke Divinity School (and grounded practitioner). Making Peace with the Land makes the Biblical case that "redemption is cosmic," and so extends to the whole created order, not just humanity. God wants all creatures ("human and nonhuman") to be "reconciled with each other and with God." In other words, our Biblical theology of reconciliation is anemic if it does not extend to a loving stewardship of the whole of God's creation. The authors warn against "ecological amnesia."

    Our "ecological amnesia" is at its core a theological issue. God is God of the soil, a gardener who loves the soil and brings forth life through it (as noted in Genesis). But we have worked against the land in developing systems and structures for farming that draw heavily on "our own agricultural scheme" and "monocultures of annual crops." Instead we need to "look to nature as a model for how to practice agriculture," engaging in what Bahnson calls regenerative agriculture, founded on the truth that "the ecosystems in which we find ourselves-created by God and deemed ‘very good'-are far more adept at growing things than we are." The profile in chapter 6 of the work of ECHO (Educational Concerns for Hunger Organization) both astounded and inspired me.

    Bahnson and Wirzba are compelling: "Surely it is a contradiction to profess belief in the Creator while showing disregard or disdain for the works of the Creator's hands." After reading a lengthy description of how Chicken McNuggets are made, I was about ready to become a vegetarian. Regardless of how the phrase "animal rights" makes you feel, animal torture is not possibly justifiable by those who have been called to co-steward the creation with God.

    At times I desired more exegetical nuance when the authors dealt with Scripture. For example, though the prologue is convincing enough that we ought to view God as gardener, to accept that God's gardening work is "the most fundamental and indispensable expression of the divine love that creates, sustains, and reconciles the world" is difficult for me to_ well_ reconcile with the expression of divine love on the cross. In the end, it's all of the above. That said, Bahnson's note on the acacia tree in Isaiah 41:18-19 as a nitrogen-fixing tree and thus "divine agroforestry advice" was awesome. And the authors do affirm elsewhere that reconciliation begins with the person and work of Jesus-it is in Jesus that all things hold together, as they point out from Colossians 1.

    Many of us practice "a sort of gnostic disdain for manual labor, soil husbandry, caring for physical places and living within our ecological limits." If I make enough money to simply buy food, I don't need to get close to that food except to pick it up at the store (or restaurant!). Then I eat it and keep going with my work, however disconnected I may be from the source of that food. However, "Reconciliation with the land means learning to see the land as part of God's redemptive plan and acknowledge God's ongoing presence there. That will require putting ourselves in proximity to the land and staying there long enough to be changed."

    After reading this book, I'm unsettled. I'm a lot farther from "the land" than I perhaps should be. I'm not sure what to do with that.

    But if I'm unsettled, I'm also inspired. What if I allowed my having been reconciled with Christ to inform a ministry of reconciliation not limited to other people? What if we followed Wirzba's advice to allow our weekly "Eucharistic eating" to "not only transform the eating we do with people," but to also transform "the entire act of eating, which means [changing] the way we go about growing, harvesting, processing, distributing, preparing and then sharing the food we daily eat"?

    That would be an abundant life.

    (Thank you to IVP for the free review copy, in exchange for an unbiased review, and-as it turns out-a re-examined life. This review is a condensation of one posted at
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