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"Read [him] with pencil in hand, make notes, and hope that somehow our country and the world will soon come to see the truth that is told here." —The New York Times Book Review In this collection of essays, first published in 1993, Wendell Berry continues his work as one of America's most necessary social commentators. With wisdom and clear, ringing prose, he tackles head-on some of the most difficult problems which faced near the end of the twentieth-century. Berry elucidates connections between sexual brutality and economic brutality, and the role of art and free speech. He forcefully addresses America's unabashed pursuit of self-liberation, which he says is "still the strongest force now operating in our society." As individuals turn away from their community, they conform to a "rootless and placeless monoculture of commercial expectations and products," buying into the very economic system which is destroying the earth, our communities, and all they represent. Throughout the book Berry asks, What is appropriate? What is worth conserving from our past and preserving in our present? What is it to be human and truly connected to others? What does it mean to be free?
Essayist, social critic, poet, “mad farmer,” novelist, teacher, and prophet: Wendell Berry has been called many things, but the broad sweep of his contemporary relevance and influence defies facile labels. With his unique perspective and far-reaching vision, Berry poses complex questions about humankind and our relationship to the land and offers simple but profound solutions. Berry’s essays, novels, and poems give voice to a provocative but consistent philosophy, one that extends far beyond its agrarian core to include elements of sociology, the natural sciences, politics, religion, philosophy, linguistics, agriculture, and other seemingly incompatible fields of study. Wendell Berry: Life and Work examines this wise and original thinker, appraising his written work and exploring his influence as an activist and artist. Jason Peters has assembled a broad variety of writers including Hayden Carruth, Sven Birkerts, Barbara Kingsolver, Stanley Hauerwas, Donald Hall, Ed McClanahan, Bill McKibben, Scott Russell Sanders, Norman Wirzba, Wes Jackson, and Eric T. Freyfogle. Each contributor examines an aspect of Berry’s varied yet cohesive body of work. Also included are highly personal glimpses of Wendell Berry: his career, academic influence, and unconventional lifestyle. These deft sketches of Berry show the purity of his agrarian lifestyle and demonstrate that there is nothing simple about the life to which he has devoted himself. He embraces a life that sustains him not by easy purchase and haste but by physical labor and patience, not by mindless acquiescence to a centralized economy but by careful attention to local ways and wisdom. Wendell Berry: Life and Work combines biographical sketches, personal accounts, literary criticism, and social commentary. Together, the contributors illuminate Berry as he is: a complex man of place and community with an astonishing depth of domestic, intellectual, filial, and fraternal attributes. The result is a rich portrait of one of America’s most profound and honest thinkers.
Following up on her Reaching Out without Dumbing Down, Marva Dawn here insists that churches need to engage in a serious process of community discernment concerning worship in order to employ the best tools and forms, and she offers extensive reflections to further the discussion. Each part of A Royal "Waste" of Time begins with a sample Scripture-based sermon since Dawn emphasizes that the church's worship must follow biblical guidelines and form a biblical people.
For over fifty years, Wendell Berry has argued that our most pressing ecological and cultural need is a renewed formal intelligence -- a mode of thinking and acting that fosters the health of the earth and its beings. Yet the present industrial economy prioritizes a technical, self-centered way of relating to the world that often demands and rewards busyness over thoughtful observation, independence over relationships, and replacing over repairing. Such a system is both unsustainable and results in destructive, far-reaching consequences for our society and land. In Virtues of Renewal: Wendell Berry's Sustainable Forms, Jeffrey Bilbro combines textual analysis and cultural criticism to explain how Berry's literary forms encourage readers to practice virtues of renewal. While the written word alone cannot enact change, Bilbro asserts that Berry's poetry, essays, and fiction can inspire people to, as Berry writes, "practice resurrection." Bilbro examines the distinct, yet symbiotic, features of these three genres, demonstrating the importance of the humanities in supporting tenable economies. He uses Berry's pieces to suggest the need for more robust language for discussing conservation, ecology, and the natural -- and regenerative -- process of death. Bilbro additionally translates Berry's literature to a wider audience, putting him in conversation with philosophers and theologians such as Ivan Illich, Willie Jennings, Charles Taylor, and Augustine. The lessons that Berry and his work have to offer are not only for those interested in cultivating the land, but also for those who cultivate their communities and live mindfully. In short, these lessons are pertinent to all who are willing to make an effort to live the examined life. Such formative work is not dramatic or quick, but it can foster the deep and lasting transformation necessary to develop a more sustainable culture and economy.
For many of us, the connection between the ecological crisis and humanity's detachment from the land is becoming increasingly clear. In biblical terms, adam (humanity) has severed itself from the adamah (soil), and we (creation) are reaping the consequences. This collection of essays, and the conference from which it took shape, calls the church to root itself more deeply in the agrarian biblical text and ecclesial tradition in order to remember and freshly imagine ways of living on and with the land that are restorative, reconciling, and faithful to the triune God's invitation to new life in Christ. When we listen attentively to and patiently learn from the biblical text, church history, and theology, the land itself can become a conversation partner, and we are summoned to recognize that the gospel is reserved not simply for humanity, but for the whole of creation.
This collection introduces and explores "watershed discipleship" as a critical, contextual, and constructive approach to ecological theology and practice, and features emerging voices from a generation that has grown up under the shadow of climate catastrophe. Watershed Discipleship is a "triple entendre" that recognizes we are in a watershed historical moment of crisis, focuses on our intrinsically bioregional locus as followers of Jesus, and urges us to become disciples of our watersheds. Bibliographic framing essays by Myers trace his journey into a bioregionalist Christian faith and practice and offer reflections on incarnational theology, hermeneutics, and ecclesiology. The essays feature more than a dozen activists, educators, and practitioners under the age of forty, whose work and witness attest to a growing movement of resistance and reimagination across North America. This anthology overviews the bioregional paradigm and its theological and political significance for local sustainability, restorative justice, and spiritual renewal. Contributors reread both biblical texts and churchly practices (such as mission, baptism, and liturgy) through the lens of "re-place-ment." Herein is a comprehensive and engaged call for a "Transition church" that can help turn our history around toward environmental resiliency and social justice, by passionate advocates on the front lines of watershed discipleship. CONTRIBUTORS: Sasha Adkins, Jay Beck, Tevyn East, Erinn Fahey, Katarina Friesen, Matt Humphrey, Vickie Machado, Jonathan McRay, Sarah Nolan, Reyna Ortega, Dave Pritchett, Erynn Smith, Sarah Thompson, Lydia Wylie-Kellermann
New York Times bestselling author of the forthcoming God's Wisdom for Navigating Life and nationally renowned minister Timothy Keller exposes the error of making good things "ultimate" in this book, and shows readers a new path toward a hope that lasts. Success, true love, and the life you've always wanted. Many of us placed our faith in these things, believing they held the key to happiness, but with a sneaking suspicion they might not deliver. No wonder we feel lost, alone, disenchanted, and resentful. There is only one God who can wholly satisfy our cravings—and now is the perfect time to meet Him again, or for the first time. In Counterfeit Gods, Timothy Keller shows how a proper understanding of the Bible reveals the unvarnished truth about societal ideals and our own hearts. This powerful message cements Keller's reputation as a critical thinker and pastor, and comes at a crucial time—for both the faithful and the skeptical.

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