Jay McDaniel, a professor of religion at Hendrix College, sets out to offer ideas and practices that can lead to the development of a life centered, panentheistic understanding of God, and a reverential respect for all creatures on the planet. Traditionally, we have thought of those whom Jesus called "the least of these" as the hungry, the lost, the forgotten, the poor, and the victimized. But McDaniel helps us to expand this definition to include animals subjected to cruel treatment in factory farms and scientific laboratories, endangered species, and the Earth itself with its polluted air, contaminated streams and lakes, and shrinking forests.
The author presents biocentrism as an antidote to anthropocentrism — the long-standing and wrong-hearted view of human beings as the rulers of the earth, the measure of all things, and the only species with the smarts and the reason to dominate and control the destiny of the universe. With elan and relish, McDaniel affirms the universalizing of Divine love, empathy, and transformative powers which are at work in the world right now.
A biocentic spirituality needs to take hold — one that is open, flexible, and creative enough to embrace the wisdom, insights, and practices of Buddhism and indigenous religions. McDaniel also calls upon the Christian community to move beyond the patriarchal theology and dualism of the past to a fresh emphasis on pluralistic thinking, the importance of care, an appreciation of feeling, and a heart-centered ethic. This embrace of feminist and process theology undergirds a sturdy and spiritual reverence for life that will make all the difference in the health and well-being of animals, plants, and minerals.