Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Mid-Summer Reading: July 2013 Creation Corner Column


Blessed Are the Consumers, by Sallie McFague. In his "Environmental Urgency” piece in the current (7/2013) The Lutheran magazine (http://www.thelutheran.org)  James K. Honig raises this book up, saying (now paraphrasing) she brings forward the theological model of kenosis, (Philippians 2:5-8) in the sense that "in creation God emptied God's self in love, giving creation and all creatures space to flourish" and as "Christ emptied himself (on the cross) for the sake of the whole world" so too we "give ourselves to simpler living and sustainable practices for the sake of giving others space and opportunity to flourish. This includes not only other people but other creatures and, indeed, the earth itself."

 "Caring for Creation: Vision, Hope and Justice" is the ELCA social statement on the environment and may be found at http://www.elca.org/socialstatements or call 800-638-3522, ext. 2580.

Climate Change is a Moral Issue: see http://www.interfaithactiononclimatechange.org

Climate Crises in Human History, edited by A. Bruce Mainwaring, Robert Giegengack and Claudio Vita-Finzi. This volume considers the response of selected cultures to climate events that have been documented from the archaeological and geological records.

Feral: Searching for Enhancement on the Frontiers of Rewilding by George Monbiot.  From a review in The (UK) Guardian Weekly: "The closest we get to nature is feeding ducks in the park, and ‘the greatest trial of strength and ingenuity we face is opening a badly designed packet of nuts'. In short, civilization has squeezed the wildness out of our environment and out of us. Unable to flex our Paleolithic muscles, we have withered, aetiolated *, gone to seed." * Aetiolated (or etiolated, means to be pale and drawn out due to a lack of light, feeble, having lost vigor or substance.)  

Global Weirdness by Climate Central. Sub-titled: "Severe Storms, Deadly Heat Waves, Relentless Drought, Rising Seas, and the Weather of the Future." This is the trusted source of information on all things climate related (cover blurb). From The New York Times book review: "Lays out what we know about climate change while hewing to the facts and taking great care to avoid bias and hysteria."

How Many Lightbulbs Does It Take to Change a Christian?: A Pocket Guide to Shrinking Your Ecological Footprint by Jan Nunley, Claire Foster and David Shreeve. Eight sections look at water, energy, transportation, waste, biodiversity, well-being, lifestyle, and Sabbath. 64 pages.

"Now and Forever: Sabbath, stewardship and sustainable church" by David Davis. A study guide to this piece from the April 2013 issue of The Lutheran Magazine can be found at http://www.thelutheran.org.

Shopping for Meaningful Lives: The Religious Motive of Consumerism by Bruce P. Rittenhouse. Consumerism is a problem. It deforms individual character, our sense of obligation to one another, and our concern for future generations and the environment. It is a defining feature of our culture. What drives consumerism" What can be done to counteract it? The author shows that consumerism functions as a religion. It provides a means of assurance that an individual life is meaningful. And because we need this assurance to live out our everyday lives, consumerism takes precedence over whatever other values a person professes---unless a person can adopt a different way to secure the meaning of his or her life. Thus from the perspective of Christian theology, consumerism is a wrong answer to a problem of human existence that should be answered by faith in Christ. (From the  publisher's description of the book).

Sojourners Magazine (http://sojo.net/magazine) has recently featured some articles of interest about creation care. In the May 2013 issue you can find the following articles, among others, from their cover feature entitled "Licking Climate Change":

..."For God So Loved the World" by Rose Marie Berger (Is it possible that people of faith, in a Spirit-driven 'power shift', might be the key to reversing climate change?)

..."The Gathering Storm" by Janelle Tupper (describes twelve of the many possible effects of our rising global temperature).

..."No Time for Arm-Chair Activists" by Julie Polter (a compilation of 13 books, 3 films, etc. re: climate change).

..."Feeding Our Imagination" by Mallory McDuff (re: two recent fiction books with a climate change theme).

..."The Battle is Joined" by Bill McKibben, founder of http://www.350.org, and Methodist layman (re: the Keystone XL pipeline debate).

From the July 2013 issue of Sojourners Magazine, one can find the following:

..."Turning Up the Heat" by Bill McKibben (re: the emerging fossil fuel resistance movement---see http://www.joinsummerheat.org.)

 ..."Cultivating a Better America" is a profile of Wendell Berry by Danny Duncan Collum (according to Berry, 78, author of The Unsettling of America thirty-five years ago, all you need to have hope is one good example).

 "Urgent: Time for creation care" by Robert C. Blezard is a study guide that accompanies the cover feature story in the July 2013 issue ("Urgent: Creation care") of The Lutheran Magazine http://www.thelutheran.org (click "study guides").

 "When creation speaks to us: Can we listen to others as we discover responsibility?" is the theme title for the monthly message from the presiding bishop of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, Mark S. Hanson, in the July issue of http://www.thelutheran.org magazine.

 Zoobiquity: The Astonishing Connection Between Human and Animal Health, by Barbara Hatterson-Horowitz, M.D., and Kathryn Bowers. Dr. Atul Gawande says this book is "full of fascinating stories of intersection between human and non-human medicine...Fish that faint; dinosaur cancers...adolescent elephant behavior that explain(s) human teenagers...I was beguiled."