Thursday, August 10, 2017

Book Review: GreenFaith

Book Review:
GreenFaith by Fletcher Harper

Fletcher Harper’s GreenFaith: Mobilizing God’s People to Save the Earth provides a wonderful resource for understanding the importance of caring for God’s creation, and our common home, that God has both made and proclaimed “good.” Through powerful biblical exegesis, awe-filled personal experience, environmental teachings from various religious traditions, and groundbreaking science, this much-needed and diverse text presents a valuable tool for faithful-living in this time of ecological crisis. We have all had experiences in God’s world that shook us—experiences that were sublime, moving, or indescribable. Harper draws on these universal experiences, allowing their power and significance to form the foundation for a much deeper conversation about the future of our world and our moral commitment to its holistic health.

 In addition, readers learn through GreenFaith that there is a strong theological foundation to support the care of God’s earth. Through thoughtful readings of the creation stories in Genesis, Harper provides readers with a new and biblically sound understanding of their ancient beginning—rooted in the care of the earth and a reverence for its creatures. Harper then moves to other passages from the Old Testament, illuminating moments in various books that contribute to our theological environmental ethic. Finally, he examines the life of Jesus and the many ways in which Christ’s actions and words speak to his care for all of God’s world.

The ecological teachings of other religious traditions, such as Hinduism, Islam, Taoism, and Buddhism, are also considered in GreenFaith. We have much to learn and share when it comes to the care of God’s creation, and in a time when division and fear are so palpable, we must come together with our brothers and sisters to do this important work.  Harper’s hopeful voice throughout GreenFaith provides a tone that encourages the reader not to be dismayed, but to embark on the journey of loving both people and place. Perfect for Sunday School classes, book studies, or personal reading, GreenFaith has something to offer each of us—from the environmental novice to the climate scientist.

Sarah Ogletree is a second year Divinity Student at Wake Forest University School of Divinity, and a graduate of the the Sustainable Development program at Appalachian State University. She has worked closely with organizations like the United Methodist Women and the Creation Care Alliance of Western North Carolina to establish relationships between communities of faith and movements of environmental justice. Sarah hopes to become a resource to both the church and her community regarding faith-based climate action and social justice advocacy. 


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