Nature as Spiritual Practice

Overview

Steven Chase's innovative On Earth As it Is uses a compelling blend of theological, scriptural, historical, and cultural discussions to reclaim the role of nature in the formation of Christian spiritual and moral identity. His thought-provoking “creation practices” will lead readers into more profound knowledge of themselves and their Creator, guide them to greater compassion for their neighbors, instill in them reverence for and companionship with nature, and awaken in them a ...
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Overview

Steven Chase's innovative On Earth As it Is uses a compelling blend of theological, scriptural, historical, and cultural discussions to reclaim the role of nature in the formation of Christian spiritual and moral identity. His thought-provoking “creation practices” will lead readers into more profound knowledge of themselves and their Creator, guide them to greater compassion for their neighbors, instill in them reverence for and companionship with nature, and awaken in them a greater commitment to creation care.
· Encourages Christians to read the Bible, pray, and worship out of doors.
· Demonstrates the power of nature to soothe and heal the soul.
· Advocates “befriending” God's creation as a crucial element in Christian growth.
· Show how the Bible is full of natural images — and how nature itself can function as a holy text, testifying to the glory of God.
Offers stories, anecdotes, research, scriptural tie-ins, practical advice, and contemplative exercises to help readers experience God in nature.
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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
“In Nature as Spiritual Practice Steven Chase invites us to seek God in nature's own liturgy, to mourn with nature within the earth's dark night, and to be transformed by a deepened attention to the world all around. Step outside, Chase tells us. Our desire for God is a desire we share with the earth itself.”
— Stephanie Paulsell
Harvard Divinity School author of Honoring the Body: Meditations on a Christian Practice

“A wonderful mix of insights from classical spiritual teachers and nature writers, woven into a series of contemplative and active practices that echo the work of Joanna Macy and Bill Plotkin. Full of riches both thoughtful and practical!”
— Belden C. Lane
Saint Louis University author of Ravished by Beauty: The Surprising Legacy of Reformed Spirituality

Library Journal
In recent years we've seen a growing interest in the relationship between nature and spirituality, with many books discussing the role of nature in spirituality and its divine aspects. This book goes beyond that. Chase (resident scholar, Collegeville Inst. of Ecumenical & Cultural Research) offers insight into the spiritual side of nature along with exercises (called practices) that the reader can do to experience this relationship firsthand. The fairly easy practices can be done alone or in a group in a retreat setting. They include contemplative prayer, discernment, occasional scripture reading, and meditation on your relationship with nature. Most compelling is the concluding chapter, "The Green Beatitudes," where Chase goes through the beatitudes one by one and offers an interpretation of each that relates it to nature. After each interpretation is a section that presents a way for the reader to relate with nature through that beatitude. VERDICT All in all, this is a distinctive book that offers readers different ways to reconnect to nature and to their own spiritual selves. Recommended to all collections with an emphasis on spirituality, especially nature spirituality. Those focusing on green theology or these new kinds of spiritual and meditative exercises would especially benefit.—Sonnet Ireland, Univ. of New Orleans Lib.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780802840103
  • Publisher: Eerdmans, William B. Publishing Company
  • Publication date: 5/17/2011
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 296
  • Sales rank: 690,577
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 8.80 (h) x 0.90 (d)

Meet the Author

Steven Chase is resident scholar at the Collegeville Institute for Ecumenical and Cultural Research and president of the Society for the Study of Christian Spirituality. His recent books include Contemplation and Compassion: The Victorine Tradition and The Tree of Life: Models of Christian Prayer.
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Table of Contents

Acknowledgments ix

Preface: How to Use This Book xi

Introduction: On Earth as It Is

1 "Thy Will Be Done, on Earth as It Is..." 3

2 "Definitions and intentions 16

Section 1 Sacramental Ecology

3 The Sacred Matters 31

4 A Covenant with Mystery 42

Section 2 The Book of Nature

5 The Grammar of Nature 57

6 The Sacred Idiom of Nature 74

Section 3 Creation Contemplation

7 Nature as Liturgy and Prayer 93

8 Hovering and Hazelnuts as Contemplative Prayer 110

Section 4 The Dark Night of the Planet

9 The Dark Night: Miseries and Signs 125

10 Darkness: Consenting to Creative Love 146

Section 5 Nature as Spiritual Guide

11 Nature as Belonging 163

12 Nature as Healing and Solace 174

Section 6 The Moral Senses of Nature

13 Spiritual Practice as Moral Response 195

14 Transforming Perspectives and Earth Insights 206

Conclusion The Green Beatitudes Wisdom and the Green Beatitudes 225

Appendix A What Are Christian Practices? 247

Appendix B Multiple Intelligence Inventory 249

Appendix C The Meaning of "Nature" 253

Bibliography 257

Index of Names 265

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