Archives For Ragan Sutterfield


977089_10152016104209409_1697721619_oThe new ERB print issue is back from the printer now and was mailed to subscribers this morning…


Yes, it is running well over a month late, due to a number of scheduling conflicts. Our apologies to subscribers who were eagerly awaiting it! We hope to be back on schedule with our next issue.

Featuring an interview and review on Rachel Marie Stone’s new book EAT WITH JOY.  And a superb lineup of reviews: new books by Christian Wiman, Ragan Sutterfield, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, Giorgio Agamben, Maurice Manning, and MORE!


*** NOT A SUBSCRIBER?  The ERB Print Edition is the best source for book-related interviews and news for Christian readers!

CLICK HERE to subscribe: $18.95 for 1 Year (4 issues) / $35 for 2 Years (8 issues)



Click the cover image above to view a larger version.

Below you will find the ERB Table of Contents for this issue…

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[easyazon-image align=”none” asin=”B00CLCUIT8″ locale=”us” height=”160″ src=”” width=”107″ alt=”Book Giveaway” ]Our Latest Book Giveaway…


We’re giving away 3 copies of  Ragan Sutterfield’s new book
Cultivating Reality: How the Soil Might Save Us.
Each winner will also receive a copy of Ragan’s 2010 book Farming As A Spiritual Discipline.

[ Read an excerpt of Cultivating Reality … ]

May 6-8 are Rogation Days. This church holiday, introduced in 470 AD, is a special period of asking (rogare means “to ask” in Latin) during the three days leading up to the Feast of the Ascension.  It has long been a tradition in the church for farmers to have their crops blessed during these days and to pray for a good growing season. 

To celebrate Rogation Days, we will be giving away a set of Ragan’s two books on each day. Readers who enter on May 6th or 7th will be eligible to win on the subsequent days of the contest.

**** If you don’t want to take your chances, you can get the book from the publisher at a 20% discount


Enter now to win (It’s as easy as 1, 2, 3!) :


1) Receive our free weekly online edition via email – or – LIKE our Facebook page (LGT: More info… )


2) Post the following message on your blog, Facebook Page, or on Twitter:

I just entered to win two books by Ragan Sutterfield from @ERBks! You can too:


3) Leave a comment below noting which option you chose for #1 **and** a link to your post for #2 before 11:59PM PT on Wednesday May 8, 2013.
(Leaving a comment is essential as we will draw the giveaway winners from among the comments left.)


We will draw the winner at random after each day of Book Giveaway ends, and will notify them ASAP.


[easyazon-image align=”none” asin=”B00CLCUIT8″ locale=”us” height=”160″ src=”” width=”107″ alt=”Ragan Sutterfield” ]An excerpt from Ragan Sutterfield’s new book:

Cultivating Reality: How the Soil Might Save Us

Paperback: Cascade Books, 2013.
Buy now: [ Cascade Books – 20% Discount ] [ [easyazon-link asin=”B00CLCUIT8″ locale=”us”]Kindle[/easyazon-link] ]

Watch for our review in our next print issue…  (Subscribe now!)

We’ll be giving away 3 copies of this book (and Ragan’s earlier book Farming as a Spirtual Discipline) for the next 3 days!Stay tuned…


Ragan Sutterfield – Cultivating Reality [Excerpt]

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Ragan SutterfieldIn 2013, we are encouraging our readers to mix up their reading habits, and read (or re-read) classics in addition to new books, such as the ones we review here in the ERB.

Broadly speaking, a classic is any book that is not a new book, or in other words that is worth reading five, ten or even one hundred years after its initial publication. ERB Editor Chris Smith has an article on The Huffington Post website arguing for reading a mix of classics and new books in 2013.

We’ve asked a number of noted writers to pick the classics that they often return to, and we will be running these lists as a weekly feature on our website through 2013.

This week’s post in the series is by Ragan Sutterfield.

Writers on the Classics:
[ #1 – Shane Claiborne ] [ Most recent, #4 – Jonathan Wilson-Hartgrove ]

Ragan Sutterfield is the author of the book [easyazon-link asin=”B00845UKFI” locale=”us”]Farming As A Spiritual Discipline[/easyazon-link], and a forthcoming title from Cascade Books on faith and agriculture.  He has written for a variety of magazines including Men’s Journal, Triathlete, Paste, Gourmet, Spin, Fast Company, Christianity Today and Books & Culture on issues relating to health, good food, sustainability, and theology. He blogs on Patheos at WORD+ FLESH.

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As our Advent gift to you, we will be uploading the audio recordings from the main sessions of the “A Rooted People: Church, Place and Agriculture in an Urban World” conference.  (Click here for the conference website and more info on the conference).

Talk #1 – Opening Session
“Humility” – Ragan Sutterfield

Ragan is a farmer and writer from Little Rock Arkansas, and author of  Farming as A Spiritual Discipline (Click here for our review…)

Talk #2 – Keynote Talk
“Lords, Priests, and Lovers (or Three Ways to Become a Master Gardener)”
– Fred Bahnson

Fred is a writer and co-founder of Anathoth Community Garden




A   Rooted People - Conference


A Rooted People:
Church, Place and Agriculture
in an Urban World

Registration and more info:

Spread the word with the Facebook e-vite

Ours is a world in which transportation is becoming extremely costly (as was highlighted by the massive costs of the BP Oil Spill) and yet at the same time is a world that is becoming increasingly urban. Common sense would seem to indicate that these trends will impact in a major way our food systems and the way we eat. Given these factors, what is the church’s redemptive role in caring for the health and wholeness (shalom) of not just humanity, but all creation? Englewood Christian Church has invited several speakers with rich experiences in sustainable agriculture to lead a conversation reflecting on this question and related ones about church, place, food, community and agriculture, and we invite you to join us.

* Fred Bahnson: Writer and Co-founder of Anathoth Community Garden
* Martin Price:
Former Director of Educational Concerns For Hunger Organization (ECHO)

* Ragan Sutterfield:
Arkansas Farmer/Writer, Author of FARMING AS A SPIRITUAL DISCIPLINE

Workshops Lead By :   Main speakers and others TBA

When: Friday Oct. 29 and Saturday Oct. 30, 2010

Where: Englewood Christian Church / Indianapolis


Ragan Sutterfield - FARMING.Thanks to Doulos Christou Books, we are giving away three copies of Ragan Sutterfield’s FARMING AS A SPIRITUAL DISCIPLINE.

Three lucky winners will win a copy of this book!

How to enter to win:

  1. Announce the contest on Twitter, Facebook or your blog: I just entered to win  a copy of FARMING AS A SPIRITUAL DISCIPLINE by @Ragan Sutterfield from@ERBks . You can enter too:
  2. Post a comment to this announcement with your name and a link to your post for #1.
  3. You may enter one time per day for the duration of the contest.
  4. We will pick a winner at random from the eligible contestants and notify them this weekend.

The contest will end at 4PM ET on this Friday April 9th.


FLOURISH Magazine Reviews
Ragan Sutterfield’s New Book

Last week, I was listening to a scientist on public radio describe the mating calls of the amphibians she was studying. She said, only half-jokingly, that these frogs had been around for thousands of years and would still be around long after humans were gone.

This idea that humans are at best a trivial part of the natural world, and at worst “some sort of colossal mistake on the landscape,” is one of two “heresies of human alienation in creation” that Ragan Sutterfield describes in his small book of essays, Farming as a Spiritual Discipline. The other heresy, one of which many Christians have been guilty, is that humans are masters of creation, and that nature is utterly submissive to the needs of humanity.

Sutterfield describes what should be our correct relationship with nature: that of creatures of a loving God who, by extension and Imago Dei, should love creation. Practically speaking, Sutterfield says that farming is a route to reconnecting with the ways of loving creation that we have forgotten.

Read the full review:

Ragan Sutterfield.
Paperback: Doulos Christou Press, 2009.
Buy now: [ Doulos Christou Press ]

Poems by Robert Hass

Some might consider Robert Hass to be the Dominating Golden General of contemporary American poetry, although any hint or taint of the tyrannous will seem remote from him. Hass is winsome, widely respected in the literary world, and his poems (and the voices speaking in them) are vastly appealing. These should be reasons enough to obtain and take pleasure in The Apple Trees at Olema: New and Selected Poems. In some volumes sharing this format, the new work is thin, serving mainly to garnish the literary buffet of several previous books. Hass’ existing readers will be pleased to know that the “new” section here is substantive—forty pages of elegies, a ballad, and notebook meditations. Also generous are the inclusions from Hass’ five prior books, including the seminal Praise and his last collection, the critically lauded Time and Materials. One of Hass’ best known poems appears in the former book, “Meditation at Lagunitas,” with its distinctive mix of discursiveness and poststructuralism (“The idea, for example, that each particular erases / the luminous clarity of a general idea”) and love-making and bread and a clown-faced woodpecker and an assertion that, while paradoxical, still outlasted high theory: “There are moments when the body is as numinous / as words, days that are the good flesh continuing.”

Read the full review:

The Apple Trees at Olema:
New and Selected Poems
Robert Hass.
Hardback: Ecco, 2010.
Buy now: [ Amazon ]


ERB editors Chris Smith and Brent Aldrich will be speaking at Calvin College next Monday with our friend Ragan Sutterfield:

Taking Pop Culture Back to the People:
The Church as a Catalyst of Local Culture
A Lecture in the Calvin College Pop Culture Series

3:30 PM Monday March 8, 2010
Meeter Center Lecture Hall
Calvin College
Grand Rapids, MI

Free and Open to the Public.

The effects of several centuries of individualism and several decades of globalization, have served to disconnect us from our neighbors and from the places in which we live. Brent Aldrich, Chris Smith and Ragan Sutterfield will make a case that churches, as communities of God’s people guided by the redemptive mission of God, are not only essential to the reclaiming of the identity of their specific places, but can also serve to nurture a distinctive local culture that is of the people (i.e., popular). Brent, Chris and Ragan will also share stories from our own adventures in embodying this vision of the Church – Ragan as a farmer, Brent as a visual artist and Chris as a community developer and urban naturalist.

Facebook invitation (Share it with a friend!):


“Living the Incarnation”

A Review of
Wendell Berry and Religion:
Heaven’s Earthly Life

Edited by
Joel James Shuman and L. Roger Owens.

Reviewed by Ragan Sutterfield.

Wendell Berry and Religion:
Heaven’s Earthly Life
Edited by Joel James Shuman and L. Roger Owens.

Hardback: University Press of Kentucky,  2009.
Buy now: [ Amazon ]

Wendell Berry and ReligionWendell Berry has been in the news a lot these days from his visit to Washington with fellow agrarian agitators to Michael Pollan’s homage to Berry in The Nation’s food issue.  This attention is very good on the one hand, it is certainly a welcome development that more people are reading Berry and heeding his call to eat locally, but there is certainly cause to worry about this new attention.  The worry is that Berry will be painted, as many have already done, as a “father of the local food movement”—a key voice in a big trend.  Berry has written some of the best critiques of the industrial agricultural system and he has certainly advocated eating local food grown by farmers one knows, but Berry, as a thinker and writer, is concerned with problems and ways of living much bigger than any movement (a reduction he himself critiqued in his essay “In Distrust of Movements”).  It would be a tragedy if Berry’s legacy were to be left to the advocates of local food alone.

Thankfully we don’t need to worry too much about such a reduction because Joel Shuman and Roger Owens have put together a varied and deep collection of essays that engage Berry with the full complexity and breadth his work requires.  Wendell Berry and Religion: Heaven’s Earthly Life has been a long time in the making and it is a book that is still unfinished.  That’s a good thing, because as Joel Shuman writes in the introduction, this book represents “contributions to an ongoing conversation” with Berry’s work—a conversation “among a particular group of persons, over time and in a particular place.”  Such a conversation can never hope to be finished, only interrupted and picked up again—but here we have a very good beginning.

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