Read an excerpt from
The Rule of Empires:
Those Who Built Them, Those Who Endured Them, and Why They Always Fall .
Hardback: Oxford UP, 2010.
Buy now: [ Amazon ]
A Brief Review of :
Reviewed By Jordan Kellicut.
“We are full of life… and we are poisoning ourselves (8).” This heartfelt plea is like a watermark on every page of Claiming Earth as Common Ground. Andrea Cohen-Kiener experienced an awakening that led her to pursue involvement in recycling plastics, and from that a greater realization that ecology was related to her spirituality. The Earth, she says, is our ultimate common ground for disparate religion. It provides not just the well-worn question, “Can religious people save the environment?” But also a new question, “Can the environmental challenge save religion (2)?” It is this question that drives her theological reflection (especially chapters 2-5).
Cohen-Kiener advocates a variety of specific practices, not the least of which is an appendix with an exhaustive list of “small steps” to reduce one’s ecological footprint (146-149). One specific practice focused on gardening and seed conservation (chapter 6). This is imperative because homogenous seed genus is vulnerable to pests and climate changes (93). The other main practice is the rediscovery of Sabbath. Lessness is the object of Sabbath, where at least one day is given over to seeking to nourish the soul through slowing down and “greening a day” (chapter 8). Cohen-Kiener argues that environmental abuse and the reactionary desire to “go green” is at its root a spiritual hunger (117). Religion can help us “rename and reclaim the subtle spiritual hungers (119).” As she says, “Environmentalism can save religion by giving us a living laboratory in which we can learn to live up to our religion’s aspirations (144).”