Finding God in the Singing River
Mark I. Wallace, Finding God in the Singing River: Christianity, Spirit, Nature, (Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 2005).
One of my colleagues in a clergy book study is completing his D.Min. at United Theological Seminary and this book had been used as a text in one of his seminary classes. It was a good suggestion for our book group and prompted much good discussion. I was pleased that Wallace is a deep thinker and doesn’t rush to easy conclusions. He understands the complexity of ecology and has a good background in the history of philosophy and theology that serves him well in bringing the discussion beyond the point of taking sides and clinging to ideologies. Rather, he encourages readers to think of deep ecology and to consider the problems with historic rationales for particular approaches to the earth and its animals and plants.
The feature I liked best about the book, its ability to present complex thought, was criticized by a couple of my colleagues. They complained that it was hard to read and that he used a lot of vocabulary that is not common. I felt that his use of complex words fit well into the complex reality of his subject matter. Furthermore, the vocabulary is not uncommon to a student of the history of philosophy. A bit of jargon can make an old guy like me feel educated, to tell you the truth.
At any rate, I believe this is an important contribution to the intersection of faith and ecology. While confessing that our theology has sometimes supported exploitive practices, he challenges us not to abandon our theology or faith, but rather to delve deeper into the underlying meanings and relationships to discover a deeper and more wholistic approach to our world.