I hope, as I suggested last week, you visited our website, and read my sprawling (a word I often use to describe my monthly column of book reviews) piece about my anti-nuclear power activism years ago, and the books that have helped nurture and sustain our environmental perspectives. I mentioned some brand new books, of course, but told the story of some older books; it’s amazing, isn’t it, how Wendell Berry, who I first read in the late 70’s, or Walt Brueggemann’s The Land, have only become more urgent over time.
I hope you don’t mind if I give a very big straw hat-tip to the excellent writer Andy Crouch, who has done, per usual, absolutely excellent reviews of some similar books in the past two issues of Books and Culture. Firstly, from last month’s issue, Andy gives a very critical look at a book by a writer we stock, Roger Gottlieb, a lefty activist who has written about how mainline churches and synagogues have helped in progressive social causes over the years. Gottlieb has a new book (on Oxford University Press) on religion and the environment, and Andy, with very interesting stories and good care for the topic, takes Gottlieb to the woodshed. Gottlieb wrote a nice letter to the editor back, appearing in this month’s edition, saying that even if his details are debated, he is glad to hear that evangelicals like those in Books and Culture care about the Earth. Who knew? I highly commend this piece, especially if one is involved in mainline, ecumenical or more liberal faith traditions, since Gottlieb would be an ally, and it is helpful to see how a smart evangelical like Crouch replies. And, as I’ve said, Andy is such a good writer, I’d read any of his reviews..
Better yet, may I commend his well written new Books and Culture piece, enthusiastically noting three newer books, including Serve God, Save the Planet by J. Matthew Sleeth, that we promoted last week. Whew. I hate it when we plug something, only to find really informed friends who criticize the book I’ve endorsed. Please read Andy’s great review, where he does the book justice. The first anecdote is worth the moments it will take to point and click, believe me. Will anybody agree to do what he describes? (By the way, if you haven’t subscribed to this often heady journal, we would highly recommend it. I wouldn’t be without it…)