Holy Ground: Earthen Spirituality and the Crum Woods

The thesis for this talk is borrowed from Mark Wallace's recent book, Finding God in the Singing River: Christianity, Spirit, Nature (Minneapolis: Fortress, 2005). His case is that the environmental crisis today is a spiritual crisis because the continued degradation of the earth threatens the fundamental interconnections that bind human beings to one another and to all other forms of life. If the root of the environmental problem is spiritual at its core, it is also the case, ironically, that a central answer to the problem lies in a rehabilitation of the earth-friendly teachings within the theological tradition that has at times been most openly hostile to nature, namely, the Christian tradition. Religiously speaking, he suggests that hope for a renewed earth is best founded on belief in God as Earth Spirit, the benevolent, all-encompassing divine force within the universe who inhabits earth community and continually works to maintain the integrity of all forms of life. This idea of God as carnal Spirit who imbues all things is the linchpin for forging a green spirituality responsive to the environmental needs of our time. In this formulation, God is not the invisible Sky God who exists in a heavenly realm far removed from earthly concern, but the Earth God who indwells the land and flows with natural processes.