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Green Christianity: Five Ways to a Sustainable Future.

Green Christianity: Five Ways to a Sustainable Future. By Mark I. Wallace. Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 2010. ISBN: 978-0-8006-6461-9. xvii and 181 pages, including DVD video introduction and brief excerpts from Renewal: Stories from America's Religious-Environment Movement. Paper. $25.

Wallace's book is an ideal read for an introductory course on ecological theology, as well as for pastors looking to introduce their more progressive congregants to a religious environmentalism that stretches standard notions of classical theism and provokes questions about how Christians may respond to our ecological crisis. The author makes a compelling case for exploring what he calls "Christian animism," a panentheistic framework that is based in a "green reading" of Scripture, an erotically charged appreciation for divinely fashioned bodies (and thus Earth's "body"), and a pragmatic application of eco-justice principles. Through creative and ecologically inspired biblical exegesis, as well as illustrative case studies in food-justice, green and sustainable business practices, and faith communities active in ecological causes, Wallace paints in bold, vivid strokes the kind of green religious movement he envisions.

Traditionalists will no doubt feel some nervousness that Wallace's project will result in an idolatry of creation. He is careful to point out, however, where his vision differs from classic paganism and Earth-worship, which should ease that wariness. In addition, I would argue that the pendulum has swung so far to the extreme of a detached theism that it is high time for a move to re-envision the natural world as sacred and thus deserving of human nurture and love. The question reader-groups may want to discuss is: What do we stand to lose by embracing this new paradigm of Christian animism and the notion of God's "subscendence"? Alternatively, if we live into this new direction, what might we stand to gain as a human community charged with the protection of this planet? Ecological ethics is a key moral issue of our time, and this book makes an important contribution to an articulation of the core Christian values that undergird caring for God's creation.

Leah D. Schade

The Lutheran Theological Seminary at Philadelphia
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Author:Schade, Leah D.
Publication:Currents in Theology and Mission
Article Type:Book review
Date:Oct 1, 2012
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