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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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“Come Suck Sequoia and Be Saved”

“Come Suck Sequoia and Be Saved”

Chapter:
(p.113) Chapter 4 “Come Suck Sequoia and Be Saved”
Source:
When God Was a Bird
Author(s):

Mark I. Wallace

Publisher:
Fordham University Press
DOI:10.5422/fordham/9780823281329.003.0005

Chapter 4 keys on John Muir’s ecstatic wilderness religion as a paradigm of the dialectic between Christianity and animism at the center of this book, namely, Christianimism. Muir’s nature evangelism came at the price of rhetorically abetting the forced removal of Native Americans from their homes within the fledgling national parks movement. Notwithstanding this stain on Muir’s legacy, his thought is notable for rethinking the full arc of Jesus’ life—John the Baptist, departure into wilderness, temple money-changers, and crucifixion—in deeply personal terms that are environmental and biblically sonorous. Muir advocates a two bookstheology in which the Bible and the Earth are equally compelling revelatory “texts.” His Yosemite spirituality reaches its apogee in his 1870 “woody gospel letter,” a paean to a homophilic, orgasmic religion of sensual delight: “Come suck Sequoia and be saved.” In Muir’s spirit, the chapter concludes that Christianity is still not Christianity because of its erstwhile hostility to embodied existence.

Keywords:   Christianimism, Christianity, evangelism, Jesus, John the Baptism, John Muir, Native Americans, wilderness religion, Yosemite spirituality

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