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EcospiritReligions and Philosophies for the Earth$
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Laurel Kearns and Catherine Keller

Print publication date: 2007

Print ISBN-13: 9780823227457

Published to Fordham Scholarship Online: March 2011

DOI: 10.5422/fso/9780823227457.001.0001

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Sacred-Land Theology: Green Spirit, Deconstruction, and the Question of Idolatry in Contemporary Earthen Christianity

Sacred-Land Theology: Green Spirit, Deconstruction, and the Question of Idolatry in Contemporary Earthen Christianity

Chapter:
(p.291) Sacred-Land Theology: Green Spirit, Deconstruction, and the Question of Idolatry in Contemporary Earthen Christianity
Source:
Ecospirit
Author(s):

Mark I. Wallace

Publisher:
Fordham University Press
DOI:10.5422/fso/9780823227457.003.0015

This chapter takes up the question of Christianity's earthen identity by way of a biblically inflected, nature-based retrieval of the Holy Spirit as the green face of God in the world. Drawing on the Bible's definition of the Spirit according to the four cardinal elements, it begins with an analysis of how the Spirit reveals herself in the scriptural literatures as a physical, earthly being who indwells the earth—even as the earth enfleshes the Spirit. To make this point, the chapter develops a case-study of a local watershed, Crum Creek, as a Spirit-filled sacred place because it continues to function as a vital if threatened habitat for a wide variety of plant and animal species. But if it is the case that the earth embodies the Spirit's power and love for all things, then whenever this fragile, green planet—God's earthen body, as it were—undergoes deep environmental injury and waste, it follows that God in Godself also experiences pain and deprivation. Since God and the earth, Spirit and nature, share a common reality the loss and degradation of the earth means loss and degradation for God as well. This model of sacred-land theology raises two troubling criticisms that are addressed.

Keywords:   Christianity, ecological theology, earthen identity, Spirit, God, nature, environmental degradation, sacred-land theology

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