For 50 years, Wendell Berry, a farmer, ecologist, and cultural critic, has been sharing his cogent and spiritual vision of the world in essays, poems, and fiction. In this rounded and enlightening book, Ragan Sutterfield, author of Cultivating Reality: How the Soil Might Save Us and This Is My Body, honors and celebrates the wisdom of this sage who has been aptly called a "contemporary St. Benedict."
In twelve substantive chapters, Sutterfield deftly reveals the major themes in Wendell Berry's life and work. Here are a few of those with a sample Berry quote.
- Givenness: Wendell Berry and The Art of Being a Creature
"To treat life as less than a miracle is to give up on it."
- Humility: Coming to Terms with Reality
"To counter the ignorant use of knowledge and power, we have … only a proper humility."
- Love: It All Turns on Affection
"We must achieve the character and acquire the skills to live much poorer than we do."
- Economics: Home and Care in the Kingdom of God
"We have an environmental crisis because we have consented to an economy in which by eating, drinking, working, resting, traveling and enjoying ourselves we are destroying the natural, the God-given, world."
- Sabbath: Delight and the Reorientation of Desire
"[The Sabbath] invites us to rest. It asks us to notice that while we rest the world continues without our help. It invites us to find delight in the world's beauty and abundance."
Sutterfield focuses on Berry's values, principles, and ideals with other thematic sections: keeping the creation, becoming native, joining the community of the creation, reclaiming connection, truth and the work of the imagination, living in harmony, and the renewal of religion. An added value is a lively conversation with Wendell Berry.
Given the needed worldwide attention to climate change, food, and sustainability, this book hits the mark with its relevance and timeliness!