Super, Natural Christians: How We Should Love Nature

Title: Super, Natural Christians: How We Should Love Nature
Published by: Fortress Press
Release Date: 2000
Pages: 220
ISBN13: 978-0800630768

A former dean at Vanderbilt University's Divinity School, Sallie McFague calls Christians down to earth. In a readable and available style, alive with concrete imagery and autobiographical material, McFague crafts a Christian spirituality centered on nature as the focus and locus of our encounter with the divine. She helps us see all life as created in the image of God.

"Super, Natural Christians: How We Should Love Nature" by Sallie McFague presents a bold, imaginative, and deeply spiritual approach to loving the earth by seeing it as the body of God. The author, Carpenter Professor of Theology at Vanderbilt Divinity School, challenges Christians to extend the ethic of care to trees, wolves, chipmunks, and rainforests. She condemns the arrogant eye that tries to dominate nature as an object and offers instead an apology for the loving eye that respects the details and the differences in the world of parks, lakes, and gardens.

McFague's outline of a Christian nature spirituality begins with a tribute to Francis of Assisi who saw the wind and sun as both valuable in themselves and as intimations of God. She then explains her subject-subjects model and the importance of ecological relationality. McFague regards nature writers such as Sue Hubbell and Annie Dillard as tutors who respect nature and emphasize the spiritual practices of attention, listening, wonder, and reverence.

In order to combat what Robert Pyle calls "the extinction of experience," the author recommends direct experiences with nature in our neighborhoods and communities. A part of extending Christian love to nature means involvement in local efforts on behalf of beleaguered streams, polluted rivers, and rundown urban parks.

McFague ends on a note of optimism: "A Christian nature spirituality is also determinedly hopeful because it believes that the creator of these wonderful, ordinary creatures is working in, through, and on behalf of us all." McFague is a true visionary whose works belong in every Christian home alongside the aquarium, the cat's bed, and the window overlooking the backyard.

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