President Joe Biden has proclaimed that concern for the environment and the challenges of climate change will infuse his agenda in office. And religion publishers are ready for this increased national focus with half a dozen upcoming titles that bring a spiritual perspective to our relationship with the planet.
Valerie Weaver-Zercher, an acquisitions editor at Broadleaf, an imprint of Fortress that launched in January 2020, tells PW, “If we claim to publish books to foster a more open, just, and compassionate world, how could we not be publishing on the climate crisis? To look away from mass extinction, or sea level rise, or climate refugees and more would be irresponsible. We would not be aligned with the progressive Christian faith tradition we profess. If we are publishing on the topics that occupy the mind, heart and spirit, we have to address our relationship with the earth.”
She points to Church of the Wild: How Nature Invites Us into the Sacred, by Victoria Loorz, a founder of the Wild Church Network. Due out in October, the book, Weaver-Zercher says, “is not only for the ministry audience, but it’s also a springboard for Victoria’s reflections on wild spirituality. She writes that no matter how you define God, you encounter God in nature. And through nature, we must find a spirituality that undergirds our work for the survival of the species.” Loorz, an ordained minister and environmental activist, aims for a broad audience of Christians, unaffiliated believers, and spiritual but not religious folks.
There is a connecting thread running through Loorz's book and three more titles from Broadleaf plus books from HarperOne and the Golden Sufi Center. They speak of a sacred connection to the earth and the insights, pleasures – and the responsibilities – this relationship means for humankind.
Sacred Earth, Sacred Soul: Celtic Wisdom for Reawakening to What Our Souls Know and Healing the World
Scottish spiritual teacher and minister John Philip Newell, author of The Rebirthing of God and founder of The School of Celtic Consciousness, explains how this earth-based Celtic spirituality can help us rediscover the natural rhythms of life and deepen our spiritual connection with God, with each other, and the planet. (HarperOne, July 6)
Seasons of the Sacred: Reconnecting to the Wisdom Within Nature and the Soul
Sufi teacher and prolific author Llewellyn Vaughan-Lee reminds readers of our place in the earth’s rhythms of life. The book includes poems, stories, and illustrations of the seasons by international artists to reveal meaning and peace amid even times of terrible loss. (Sufi Center, May 1)
Jesus for Farmers and Fishers: Justice for all Those Marginalized by Our Food System
Gary Paul Nabhan, an Ecumenical Franciscan Brother, agro-ecologist, and agrarian addresses faith-based environment and social justice causes. He “contrasts the profound ways Jesus interacted with those who were the workers of the field and the fishers of the sea with the crises currently occurring in American farm country and fishing harbors,” according to the publisher. (Broadleaf, March 30)
Our Angry Eden: Faith and Hope on a Harsher, Hotter Planet
Pastor David Williams offers a blunt look at what it means if we fail the moral tests we face in the current climate crisis, according to the publisher. He spells out actions that “followers of Jesus” can take to promote human thriving, and find a transcendent hope in facing harsh times ahead. (Broadleaf, July 20)
Our Last Best Act: Planning for the End of Our Lives to Protect the People and Places We Love
Mallory McDuff, author of an earlier work on Christian environmentalism, Sacred Acts: How Churches Are Working to Protect Earth’s Climate, details how, even in death, people can honor their values and commitment to the earth. According to the publisher, she explores green burials, aquamation (a water-based variation on cremation), green cemeteries, home funerals, and human composting. (Broadleaf, Dec. 7)