Chapter

Sacred-Land Theology: Green Spirit, Deconstruction, and the Question of Idolatry in Contemporary Earthen Christianity

Mark I. Wallace

in Ecospirit

Published by Fordham University Press

Published in print June 2007 | ISBN: 9780823227457
Published online March 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780823236626 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.5422/fso/9780823227457.003.0015

Series: Transdisciplinary Theological Colloquia

Sacred-Land Theology: Green Spirit, Deconstruction, and the               Question of Idolatry in Contemporary Earthen Christianity

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This chapter takes up the question of Christianity's earthen identity by way of a biblically inflected, nature-based retrieval of the Holy Spirit as the green face of God in the world. Drawing on the Bible's definition of the Spirit according to the four cardinal elements, it begins with an analysis of how the Spirit reveals herself in the scriptural literatures as a physical, earthly being who indwells the earth—even as the earth enfleshes the Spirit. To make this point, the chapter develops a case-study of a local watershed, Crum Creek, as a Spirit-filled sacred place because it continues to function as a vital if threatened habitat for a wide variety of plant and animal species. But if it is the case that the earth embodies the Spirit's power and love for all things, then whenever this fragile, green planet—God's earthen body, as it were—undergoes deep environmental injury and waste, it follows that God in Godself also experiences pain and deprivation. Since God and the earth, Spirit and nature, share a common reality the loss and degradation of the earth means loss and degradation for God as well. This model of sacred-land theology raises two troubling criticisms that are addressed.

Keywords: Christianity; ecological theology; earthen identity; Spirit; God; nature; environmental degradation; sacred-land theology

Chapter.  9701 words. 

Subjects: Christian Theology

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