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The Green Life: Book Roundup Wednesday: Environmental Spirituality

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July 28, 2010

Book Roundup Wednesday: Environmental Spirituality

Books about environmentalism Every Wednesday, we review a selection of new and upcoming books addressing a specific aspect of environmentalism. Today we're recommending books about the overlap of spirituality and environmentalism.

The Way Home: Making Heaven on Earth (by Madis Senner, $25, O Books, Dec. 2009): For an interesting correlation between environmentalism and the afterlife, check out this book about the importance of treating the environment in a kind, heavenly way. Through citing Bible passages and other religious influences, the author asserts that we are instructed by higher powers to create heaven on earth. As such, Senner presents a compelling argument that respecting the environment and having a close relationship with Mother Nature is the only way to dismiss the material world we created and embrace our true identity as spiritual, not physical, beings.

The Green Devotional: Active Prayers for a Healthy Planet (by Karen Speerstra, $15, Conari Press, Jan. 2010): Providing a green and inspirational way to get through your day, this handy collection of environmentally focused prayers and quotes is an ideal pick-me-up. From Gandhi quotes to Qur’an passages, with environmentalists’ musings mixed in, this devotional supplies a terrific range of timeless ideas from some of the most influential environmental voices. Speerstra's hope is that each passage encourages readers to act on its message and live a life more in harmony with nature.

A Reenchanted World: The Quest for a New Kinship with Nature (by James William Gibson, $16, Metropolitan Books, Apr. 2009): With man-made environmental degradation and disasters becoming increasingly prevalent, Gibson chronicles the environmental movement behind what he calls the "reeenchantment" of nature, that is, society’s ever-growing realization that nature is worth preserving. In this amalgam of history, politics, and eco-inspiration, the author paints a vivid picture of a movement begun but its mission not yet fulfilled.

I Want to be Left Behind: Finding Rapture Here on Earth (by Brenda Peterson, $25, Da Capo Press, Feb. 2010): In this entertaining memoir, Peterson recounts her upbringing via two different spiritualities – environmental reverence and religious Southern Baptist morality – whose contradictory views she tried to validate throughout her life. But through her fun and often funny recounts of her journey toward understanding, Peterson ultimately realizes that the principles of environmental fervor and religious zeal are more similar than she originally believed.

Tending to Eden: Environmental Stewardship for God’s People (by Scott C. Sabin, $18, Judson Press, Feb. 2010): For a strong Christianity-based backing of environmentalism, Sabin’s easy-to-read guide to simultaneously living for God and the Earth is packed with scriptures and analyses from an environmental perspective. Without being too preachy, the author provides reasoning through narrative, history, and real-life illustrations of how nature and religion go hand in hand. Sidebars sprinkled among the pages from other environmental theologians round out this compelling read.

--Sarah A. Henderson

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