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Research Paper | 12th May 2023

The Soil of Spirituality: What Agrarians can Teach Us About the Life of Faith

Norman Wirzba | Agriculture, Spirituality, Theology


This essay explores what bearing the Anthropocene context has on Christian faith and spiritual praxis. Concerned that some dominant expressions of spirituality are oblivious to the negative effects of an Anthropocene condition, this piece examines how people and communities might begin to uphold rather than undermine a wholistic and sacramental understanding of creation. The author argues for an agrarian approach, one rooted in the land and in the perspective of a God who only ever looks at the entirety of creation with love. This agrarian perspective advocates for cultivating the well-being of land and people together by fostering the virtue of humility and practices of confession, conversion, and repentance. The moving story of Don and Marie’s journey of personal transformation which leads them to transition from industrial and commercial pursuits to holistic farming practices offers a concrete example of what it means to cultivate true agrarian hospitality. The essay concludes by arguing for an incarnate spirituality that views the world not with a myopic Anthropocene mentality but instead acknowledges and attends to the social and ecological aspects of God’s creation as well.

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