Overviews of how Christians have thought about creation through the centuries include George Huntston Williams’s Wilderness and Paradise in Christian Thought (1962) and Christian Attitudes Toward Nature (2015). Discussions of monasticism, including how monks and nuns related to God’s creation, include Erik Doyle, St. Francis and the Song of Brotherhood (1981); C. H. Lawrence, Medieval Monasticism (1984); Jane Bobko et al., Vision: The Life and Music of Hildegard of Bingen (1995); G. R. Evans, Bernard of Clairvaux (2000); Christopher Brooke, The Age of the Cloister (2002); Jennifer Lee Hevelone-Harper, Disciples of the Desert (2005); and Augustine Thompson, Francis of Assisi (2012). The Celts feature in Esther de Waal, ed., The Celtic Vision (1988); Timothy Joyce, Celtic Christianity (1998); and J. Philip Newell, The Book of Creation: An Introduction to Celtic Spirituality (1999).
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Learn more about mysticism from Bernard McGinn’s magisterial series on Christian mysticism, The Foundations of Mysticism (1991), The Growth of Mysticism (1994), The Flowering of Mysticism (1998), The Harvest of Mysticism in Medieval Germany (2005), and The Varieties of Vernacular Mysticism (2013). For the sacramentality of everyday life, we send you to Brother Lawrence’s classic The Practice of the Presence of God (1691); C. S. Lewis, The Discarded Image (1964); Alexander Schmemann, For the Life of the World (1963); Kathleen Norris, The Quotidian Mysteries (1998); and our senior editor Chris Armstrong’s newly released Medieval Wisdom for Modern Christians (2016).
Christians and the rise of modern science appear in Charles Hummel, The Galileo Connection (1986); David Lindberg and Ronald Numbers, God and Nature (1986); John Hedley Brooke and Geoffrey Cantor, Reconstructing Nature (2000); Kenneth Howell, God’s Two Books (2002); David Livingstone, D. G. Hart, and Mark Noll, eds., Evangelicals and Science in Historical Perspective (2002); and James Hannam, The Genesis of Science: How the Christian Middle Ages Launched the Scientific Revolution (2011).
Read about Methodists and others worshiping outdoorsin Russell E. Richey, Methodism in the American Forest (2015), and check out the thoughts of nineteenth-century Americans about nature in Lawrence Buell, The Environmental Imagination (1996) and Leo Marx, The Machine in the Garden (2nd ed., 2000). The Bruderhof story is told in Eberhard and Emmy Arnold, Seeking for the Kingdom of God (1974); Markus Baum, Against the Wind (1998); and Yaacov Oved, The Witness of the Brothers (2012). The modern environmental movement and Christian contributions to it are covered in Wendell Berry, The Unsettling of America (1977) and The Art of the Commonplace (2002); Peter Harris, Under the Bright Wings (1993); Terry Gifford, ed., John Muir: His Life and Letters and Other Writings (1996); Katharine Wilkinson, Between God and Green (2012); Tim Flinders, ed., John Muir: Spiritual Writings (2013); Leah Kostamo, Planted (2013); and Mark Stoll, Inherit the Holy Mountain (2015).
The field of “ecotheology” is vast and often controversial: good places for CH readers to start (some with practical tips!) include H. Paul Santmire, The Travail of Nature (1985); Calvin DeWitt, Caring for Creation (1998); Loren Wilkinson, ed., Earthkeeping in the Nineties (1991); Loren and Mary Ruth Wilkinson, Caring for Creation in Your Own Backyard (2001); R. J. Berry, Environmental Stewardship (2006); Steven Bouma-Prediger, For the Beauty of the Earth (2010); Larry Rasmussen, Earth-Honoring Faith (2012); Douglas Christie, The Blue Sapphire of the Mind (2013); Daniel Brunner, et al., Introducing Evangelical Ecotheology (2014); and Norman Wirzba, From Nature to Creation (2015). Annie Dillard’s Pilgrim at Tinker Creek (1974) helped raise twentieth-century Christianawareness of nature’s beauty and fragility, similar to the role played in the larger culture by Rachel Carson’s controversial Silent Spring (1962).
Many inspiring devotional writings speaking of the beauty of creation are collected in Bernard McGinn’s Essential Writings of Christian Mysticism (2006) and in the Classics of Western Spirituality series from Paulist Press. Experience beautiful nature photography designed to arouse a greater awareness of God’s creation from Thomas Jay Oord, Through Both Creations Shine (2015).
CHRISTIAN HISTORY ISSUES
Read these relevant past issues of Christian History online. Some are still available for purchase.
• 24: Bernard of Clairvaux
• 42: Francis of Assisi
• 45: Camp Meetings
• 54: Eastern Orthodoxy
• 60: How the Irish Were Saved
• 76: The Christian Face of the Scientific Revolution
• 93: Western Monasticism
• 107: Debating Darwin
VIDEOS FROM VISION VIDEO
Videos on people and movements featured in this issue include Blessing Europe; Clare and Francis; Francis of Assisi; Has Science Killed Christianity?; Hildegard; History of Orthodox Christianity; Pioneers of the Spirit: Hildegard of Bingen; My Journey to Life; Saint Francis; and Wisdom from India: Ecology.
Vision Video also has many videos exploring the beauty of God’s created order, including Dancing Word: Creation; God of Wonders; King of Creation; Journeys to the Edge of Creation; Meeting God in Quiet Places; Music and Majesty; Our Fascinating Universe; and Wonders of God’s Creation.
Many of the Christian writings mentioned in this issue, especially those published before 1900, can be found at the Christian Classics Ethereal Library, or at other standard online collections of texts like Project Gutenberg and Internet History Sourcebooks.
Some sites devoted to the life and thought of a few of our featured people are George Herbert/Luminarium; The Robert Boyle Project; The Galileo Project; the Isaac Newton Institute for Mathematical Sciences; the Journal and Letters of Francis Asbury; The Works of Ralph Waldo Emerson; The Thoreau Reader; the John Muir Exhibit at the Sierra Club; Merton.org; Protopresbyter Alexander Schmemann; Wendell Berry Books; and AnnieDillard.com. The legacies of Benedict and of Bernard of Clairvaux live on at the Order of Saint Benedict website; find the Trappists (Merton’s order) at the Order of Cistercians of the Strict Observance. (The Franciscans do not have a centralized website.) Laudato Si’ is at the Vatican website.
Many Christians working to care for creation today, some discussed in this issue, can be found at A Rocha, the Berry Center, the Bruderhof, the Evangelical Environmental Network, and Restoring Eden. CH
This article is from Christian History magazine #119 The Wonder of Creation. Read it in context here!
By the editors
[Christian History originally published this article in Christian History Issue #119 in 2016]
Christian History Timeline: China in the 20th Century
The golden age of Protestantism in Chinathe editors
A Gallery of Missionaries
Some notable Christian workers in China.the editors
The Billy Graham of China: John Sung (1901–1944)
Chinese evangelist John Sung was a man of tender conscience, constant self-examination, daily repentance, and unremitting pursuit of holiness.G. Wright Doyle
Everything for the Lord; Watchman Nee (1901-1972)
Nee had a gift for calling people to a deeper spiritual life.Yading Li
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