Recommended Reading

Active Hope: How to Face the Mess We’re in without Going Crazy
Joanna Macy and Chris Johnstone (2012)

The challenges we face can be difficult even to think about. Climate change, the depletion of oil, economic upheaval and mass extinction together create a planetary emergency of overwhelming proportions. Active Hope shows us how to strengthen our capacity to face this crisis so that we can respond with unexpected resilience and creative power. Drawing on decades of teaching an empowerment approach known as the Work That Reconnects, the authors guide us through a transformational process informed by mythic journeys, modern psychology, spirituality, and holistic science. This process equips us with tools to face the mess we’re in and play our role in the collective transition, or Great Turning, to a life-sustaining society.

Ask the Beasts: Darwin and the God of Love
Elizabeth A. Johnson (2014)

For millennia, plant and animal species have received little sustained attention as subjects of Christian theology and ethics in their own right. Focused on the human dilemma of sin and redemptive grace, theology has considered the doctrine of creation to be mainly an overture to the main drama of human being’s relationship to God. What value does the natural world have within the framework of religious belief? The crisis of biodiversity in our day, when species are going extinct at more than 1,000 times the natural rate, renders this question acutely important. Standard perspectives need to be realigned; theology needs to look out of the window, so to speak as well as in the mirror. Ask the Beasts: Darwin and the God of Love leads to the conclusion that love of the natural world is an intrinsic element of faith in God and that far from being an add-on, ecological care is at the center of moral life.

Coming Back to Life: Practices to Reconnect Our Lives, Our World
Joanna Macy and Molly Young-Brown (1988) (book and DVD)

Many of us feel called to respond to the ecological destruction of our planet, yet we feel overwhelmed, immobilized and unable to deal realistically with the threats to life on Earth. Noted spiritual and environmental thinkers Joanna Macy and Molly Young Brown contend that this crippling response to world crisis is a psychological defense mechanism that has been endemic since the years of the Cold War arms race, when we had to adapt within a single generation to the horrific possibility of nuclear holocaust.

Ecology at the Heart of Faith 
Denis Edwards (2006)

Denis Edwards helps the general reader, the preacher, the spiritual director, the student and the theologian tear down the walls that too often separate mysticism, theology, prophecy, poetry and science.

Holy Ground: Where the Catholic Tradition and the Universe Story Meet
Gail Worcelo, CP (2011)

This essay is Sister Gail’s enriched version of a short piece, “Discovering the Divine Within the Universe,” which appeared in the fall 2000 issue of Earthlight magazine.

The Great Work: Our way into the Future 
Thomas Berry (1999)

Thomas Berry is one of the most eminent cultural historians of our time. Here he presents the culmination of his ideas and urges us to move from being a disrupting force on the Earth to a benign presence. This transition is the Great Work ― the most necessary and most ennobling work we will ever undertake. Berry’s message is not one of doom but of hope. He reminds society of its function, particularly the universities and other educational institutions whose role is to guide students into an appreciation rather than an exploitation of the world around them. Berry is the leading spokesperson for the Earth, and his profound ecological insight illuminates the path we need to take in the realms of ethics, politics, economics, and education if both we and the planet are to survive.

The Hidden Heart of the Cosmos 
Brian Swimme (1999)

Following the most recent scientific discoveries about the birth of the universe, this text shows how these new insights replace outmoded ways of seeing the world, bridging the chasm between science and spirituality, the physical realm and the soul. This book will help readers to grasp the larger significance of the human enterprise in this evolving universe.

Centering Prayer and the Inner Awakening
Cynthia Bourgeault (2004)

Practitioners of centering prayer are known for the great enthusiasm they bring to the practice of this ancient discipline. Centering Prayer and Inner Awakening is a complete guidebook for all who wish to know the practice of centering prayer. Cynthia Bourgeault goes further than offering an introduction, however. She examines how the practice is related to the classic tradition of Christian contemplation, looks at the distinct nuances of its method and explores its revolutionary potential to transform Christian life. The book encourages dialogue between centering prayer enthusiasts and those classic institutions of Christian nurture ― churches, seminaries, and schools of theology ― that have yet to accept real ownership of the practice and its potential.

The Journey of the Universe
Brian Swimme and Mary Evelyn Tucker (2011)(DVD)

This volume tells the epic story of the universe from an inspired new perspective, weaving the findings of modern science together with enduring wisdom found in the humanistic traditions of the West, China, India, and indigenous peoples.

The Wisdom Jesus
Cynthia Bourgeault (2008)

If you put aside what you  think you know about Jesus and approach the Gospels as though for the first time, something remarkable happens: Jesus emerges as a teacher of the transformation of consciousness. Cynthia Bourgeault is a masterful guide to Jesus’ vision and to the traditional contemplative practices you can use to experience the heart of his teachings for yourself.

Laudato Si’: On Care For Our Common Home
Pope Francis (2015)

In his second encyclical, Pope Francis draws all Christians into a dialogue with every person on the planet about our common home. We as human beings are united by the concern for our planet, and every living thing that dwells on it, especially the poorest and most vulnerable. Pope Francis letter joins the body of the Church’s social and moral teaching, draws on the best scientific research, providing the foundation for the ethical and spiritual itinerary.

Making All Things New: Catholicity, Cosmology, Consciousness
Ilia Delio (2015)

A new paradigm for being Catholic: catholicity, a conscious awareness of how everything – the sun, moon, stars, Kepler, Saturn, maple trees, muddy rivers, amoeba, bacteria and all peoples of the earth ― form a whole. Ilia Delio introduces a new word, catholicity, which is destined to become as discussed and familiar in this century as the word Catholic was in the 2nd century.

Soul Whispers 
Edwina Gateley (2015)

“If you’re wondering what a lifetime of preferring no-thing to God looks like, read this book! There is doubt and struggle in these pages, but mostly there is joy, familiarity and play and the kind of language known only to prophets and mystics. Ah, if only we all had Gateley’s ease and intimacy with God. What might the world be were all of us as alive to the Divine as this love-stricken poet! (Review by Mary Lou Kowanacki, Benedictine sister, award-winning author and director of web-based movement: Monasteries of the Heart).

Spiritual Ecology: The Cry of the Earth
Llewellyn Vaughn-Lee (2013)

Our present ecological crisis is the greatest man-made disaster this planet has ever faced. A central but rarely addressed aspect of this crisis is our forgetfulness of the sacred nature of creation and how this effects our relationship to the environment. There is a pressing need to articulate a spiritual response to this ecological crisis and this book does just that.

Worship and the New Cosmology: Liturgical and Theological Challenges
Catherine Vincie, RSHM (2014)

What is the Christian response to developments in the hard sciences? What do discoveries at the macro and micro levels have to say about Christian theology, about a theology of God, Christology, pneumatology, and creation? How do the developments in systematic theology that do take the advances in cosmology and the New Sciences seriously come to bear on our worship life?These are the questions that are addressed in this text. It is an initial effort to bring cosmology and the New Sciences into dialogue with developments in systematic and sacramental theology. This book also suggests some ways in which these developments might appear in our worship. Overall, the author is concerned to reduce the cognitive dissonance between our scientifically informed everyday lives and our life of faith.

Falling Upward: A Spirituality for the Two Halves of Life
Richard Rohr (2011)

This book offers a new paradigm for understanding one of the most profound of life’s mysteries: how our failings can be the foundation for our ongoing spiritual growth. Throughout the book, Rohr draws on the wisdom from time-honored myths, heroic poems, great thinkers and sacred religious texts to demonstrate that we grow spiritually more by doing it wrong than by doing it right.