A Christian Perspective on John Muir...

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"Austin finds in the great naturalist John Muir a man with a vocation of the Hebrew prophets, indeed a 'John the Baptist' urging humankind to rediscover the deep and renewing foundations of life through a regained interaction with the natural world" - Pacific Theological Review

"I have been a devotee of John Muir since my childhood, and I think your book does better justice to Muir in a scant 92 pages than any of the others" - Harold Wood, Editor, Pantheist Vision

This engaging portrait of America's first environmental activist uncovers spiritual roots of modern ecological consciousness. It is a book that many carry with them into the woods.

Baptized into Wilderness: A Christian Perspective on John Muir. Richard Cartwright Austin. Second Edition. Creekside Press. ISBN 0-9625831-2-X. Softbound. 104 pages. Order here.

 

Baptized into Wilderness | Hope for the Land | Beauty of the Lord
Reclaiming America

From the book...

Muir's special gift was listening to nature. He sat down beside an unfamiliar plant "for a minute or a day, to make its acquaintance and hear what it had to tell." Listening included analytical scrutiny...

Muir developed an ecological populism. The pressing need he saw was for ordinary people - whose interest was beauty, not profit - to visit the remaining forests and wildernesses. They would defend "God's trees." Muir believed that abuses "are done in the darkness of ignorance and unbelief, for when light comes, the heart of the people is always right."...

Muir's striking paradox: when we are domesticated we are alienated from each other, but when we are wild we are in touch most deeply with other life. The engagement of expressive selves, in an ecological context, sustains all. ...

Humanity may reenter [natural systems] if we can achieve "healthy abilities and desires." At present, human abilities and selfish desires overwhelm other life. The path to health, Muir was convinced, is to establish new relationships with nature, relationships which are not primarily economic or exploitative, but sensuous, loving, and respectful.

Such integrating relationships must become primary if human economic needs are to be met within a healthy ecology. Given the rate at which wildness is being subdued by technology, the only hope for person or beast is for humans to discover love for nature. This is, indeed, a call for new birth.


 

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