By H. Paul Santmire
Sooner than Nature caps a collection of topics first dropped at the fore in Santmire’s earlier paintings, such a lot significantly the vintage The Travail of Nature. right here Santmire keeps the pursuit of a theology sure up with nature and its situation, in particular the fragility and fervent expectation of nature’s redemption. Santmire invitations readers on a theological and religious trip to a prayerful and contemplative wisdom of the Triune God, during which practitioners are inducted right into a bountiful courting with the cosmic and common ministry of Christ and the Spirit uniting all of nature in one imaginative and prescient of wish and anticipation.
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Extra resources for Before Nature: A Christian Spirituality
I’m elated all the more at such times, too, because I often self-consciously see myself as part of larger, interconnected worlds, of the ecology of that place in western Maine, and more particularly of the fructuous vegetable garden and of Laurel’s small but elegant perennial garden celebrating the colors yellow, blue, and red, a garden into which she pours enormous energies, and of our Hidden Garden (more on this later). I then contemplate beyond in every direction the fragile biosphere, which is so preciously layered around this earth, and the domains of our sun and our galaxy all around us, among the billions and billions of other Blessedly Scything with God | 9 galaxies—and God, in, with, and under it all, hovering, giving birth to all things as this universe’s creative and life-giving Spirit.
The whole area where I scythe is a rich meeting place for many creatures, myself included. I will not say much about other creatures from the wild side of things that occasionally invade what we like to think of as our space on our side of the field, including the deer that sometimes blatantly stand there in mutual contemplation with us as they munch our hostas, and the woodchucks that devour too many of our kohl seedlings and delphinium buds (over the course of one summer, I caught three woodchucks in our have-a-heart trap as well as a cat; one other summer I caught a skunk), and the raccoons that feast on our corn the day before we intend to harvest it.
It affects my consciousness like the thunder and lightning that occasionally roll over our house and gardens and the field and on into the woods beyond and above. Our field covers, in very small measure, a pipeline that day and night delivers oil hundreds of miles from Portland, Maine, to Montreal, Canada. Sometimes helicopters from the pipeline company shatter the silence of the field as they roar by at low altitudes and high speeds, inspecting that pipeline. It can be frightening. So, on any given day as I scythe, I think of that fateful black gold pulsing through the pipe buried beneath my feet, and I realize how deeply my own world in rural Maine is bound up with the dynamics of globalized industrial society everywhere, with the threats and the realities of warfare in the Middle East, in particular, and with global warming, more generally.
Before Nature: A Christian Spirituality by H. Paul Santmire