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When God Was a BirdChristianity, Animism, and the Re-Enchantment of the World$
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Mark I. Wallace

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9780823281329

Published to Fordham Scholarship Online: May 2019

DOI: 10.5422/fordham/9780823281329.001.0001

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Worshipping the Green God

Worshipping the Green God

(p.81) Chapter 3 Worshipping the Green God
When God Was a Bird

Mark I. Wallace

Fordham University Press

This chapter begins with a visitation by a great blue heron to the author’s class taught in Swarthmore College’s Crum Woods. Is the Crum Woods holy ground? Some ecotheologians (John B. Cobb Jr., Richard Bauckham) caution against this way of speaking, but this chapter argues that Christianity is a religion of double incarnation: in a twofold movement, God becomes flesh in both humankind (Jesus) and otherkind (Spirit), underscoring that corporeality and divinity are one. The chapter focuses on historical portraits of Jesus’ relationship to particular birds as totem-beings in his teaching ministry; Augustine’s repudiation of Neoplatonism and natalist celebration of the maternal, birdy Holy Spirit in the world; and Hildegard of Bingen’s avian pneumatology in which earth’s “vital greenness” is valorized for its curative powers in a manner similar to Jesus’ mudpie healing of the blind man in John 9. It concludes with a meditation on nature-worship in a Quaker meetinghouse in Monteverde, Costa Rica.

Keywords:   avian pneumatology, Richard Bauckham, John B. Cobb Jr., Crum Woods, double incarnation, ecotheologians, great blue heron, Hildegard of Bingen, Jesus, neoplatonism, Quakers, totem-beings

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