I know what you may be thinking - "Huh? The Sierra Club promoting a book on religion and environmentalism?" But as I discussed in a post months ago, and as many others have discussed for years now, the Creation Care movement is growing and is a very valuable ally in our work to protect the environment
"Holy Ground" is a book of essays and sermons by faith leaders from all backgrounds. Editor Lyndsay Moseley said the book reflects the Creation Care movement very well.
"In the past few years, religious groups have been getting engaged as never before," said Moseley, who also works for the Sierra Club's National Coal Campaign."We thought a book like this would be useful in promoting dialogue and understanding about diverse religious traditions' approaches to caring for the environment, and helping the Sierra Club build strong partnerships with communities of faith across the country who are working to address climate change, protect endangered species, and secure clean air and water for their families."
Moseley said the book shows the true diversity of the religious traditions engaging in the environmental movement, with pieces by an Evangelical Christian, a Catholic, a mainline Protestant, a Jew, a Muslim, a Hindu, and many others. Authors include scholars like Larry Rasmussen, Nandini Iyer, and Seyyed Nasr; religious leaders like Pope Benedict XVI, Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew I, Rev. Joel Hunter, and Rabbi Zoe Klein; and faith-based environmental nonprofit leaders like Rev. Sally Bingham and Peter Sawtell.
Enjoy this excerpt from Matthew Sleeth's essay, "Confessions of an Evangelical Tree-hugger":
It is not by accident that Christ dies on a tree, nor that he worked with wood in his father's shop. Nor is it a coincidence that the word "tree" is mentioned over five hundred times in the Bible. The human story begins with the tree of life in the garden. The last chapter of the Bible tells of two trees of life, and an unpolluted river that flows between them. The leaves of these trees, we are told, will heal the nations.
It took us a thousand years to prove this Biblical truth: that trees are, indeed, the breath of life. The transfer of life-giving gas from tree to human is not intuitive. Only in relatively recent human history was it discovered that oxygen comes not from rocks, but from trees and photosynthesis.
God is not subtle about his feeling for trees. "I love the tall cedars," saith the Lord. Abraham plants an oak. The symbol of Christ's birthday is a pine. We decorate them and sing "Oh Christmas tree." Essays are made by fools like me, but only God can make a tree. The kingdom of heaven is, "like a tree," Jesus said. So, yes, call me a tree-hugger. So was my Lord.
The stories, sermons, and prayers in "Holy Ground" are direct and personal, added Moseley, providing an opportunity for readers (religious and nonreligious) to "overhear" a diverse selection of religious leaders reflect on the importance of caring for the earth. Each contributor speaks in a unique voice, but some of the religious themes that emerge include stewardship, justice, concern for future generations, and the call to care for our neighbors.
So if you're looking for some great reading material this winter, or you need a gift idea for the religious Creation Caring friend or family member of yours - be sure to check out "Holy Ground: A Gathering of Voices on Caring for Creation."
And if you want to hear more from Lyndsay Moseley about this book, check her out on Sierra Club Radio.