Rooted & Rising is for everyone who worries about the climate crisis and seeks spiritual practices and perspectives to renew their capacity for compassionate, purposeful, and joyful action.
Leah Schade and Margaret Bullitt-Jonas gather twenty-one faith leaders, scientists, community organizers, theologians, and grassroots climate activists to offer wisdom for fellow pilgrims grappling with the weight of climate change. Acknowledging the unprecedented nature of our predicament – the fact that climate disruption is unravelling the web of life and threatening the end of human civilization – the authors share their stories of grief and hope, fear and faith. Together, the essays, introductory sections, and discussion questions reveal that our present crisis can elicit a depth of wisdom, insight, and motivation with power to guide us toward a more peaceful, just, and Earth-honoring future.
With a foreword by Mary Evelyn Tucker and a special introduction by Bill McKibben, the book presents an interfaith perspective that welcomes and challenges readers of all backgrounds.
Foreword / Mary Evelyn Tucker
A Special Introduction by Bill McKibben
Questions to Ponder
A Spiritual Practice
SECTION I: ROOTING IN INTERFAITH FRIENDSHIP
Section I Introduction
1 Living in the Four Worlds: Spiritual Practices in the Midst of Climate Disruption / Rabbi Mordechai Liebling
2 Connecting Faith, Environmental Justice, and Sustainability: An Islamic Reflection / Huda Alkaff
3 Building the Eco-Ethical Ark in the Age of Climate Disruption / Rev. Dr. Leah D. Schade
4 Questions to Ponder and a Spiritual Practice
SECTION II: RISING IN LOCAL ACTIVISM
Section II Introduction
5 Praised Be the Flood / Rev. Fred Small
6 The Ground Beneath Our Feet / Rabbi Shoshana Meira Friedman
7 The End of Hope and the Beginning of Miracle / Jay O’Hara
8 Questions to Ponder and a Spiritual Practice
SECTION III: ROOTING SCIENCE AND POLICY IN FAITH AND SPIRITUALITY
Section III Introduction
9 The Imperative of Hope / Dr. Katharine Hayhoe
10 The View from My Window / Natasha DeJarnett, PhD, MPH
11 The Thing with Feathers / Corina Newsome
12 Questions to Ponder and a Spiritual Practice
SECTION IV: RISING FROM THE MARGINS
Section IV Introduction
13 Not Our First Rodeo: Memory and Imagination Stir Up Hope / Peterson Toscano
14 Confronting Climate Change: Wisdom from a Civil Rights Activist / Rev. Dr. Gerald L. Durley
15 Interview with Rev. Lennox Yearwood Jr. / Margaret Bullitt-Jonas
16 Questions to Ponder and a Spiritual Practice
SECTION V: ROOTING IN LITURGY, MORAL VISION, AND VOCATION
Section V Introduction
17 The World as Sacrament / Rev. Dr. John Chryssavgis
18 A Letter / Cynthia D. Moe-Lobeda, PhD
19 Fighting Climate Change: Our Responsibility, Our Vocation, Our Salvation / Rev. Dr. Jim Antal
20 Questions to Ponder and a Spiritual Practice
SECTION VI: UPROOTED, REPLANTED, AND RISING
Section VI Introduction
21 The People around Me: Reflections from a Post-Christian Anarchist / Kiran Oommen
22 Interview with Dr. Tink Tinker (wazhazhe/Osage Nation), PhD / Leah D. Schade
23 Working Up Hope / Tim DeChristopher
24 Questions to Ponder and a Spiritual Practice
SECTION VII: GRIEF, LOVE, AND TREES
Section VII Introduction
25 Contemplating Creation: Wisdom from a Sequoia / Christina Leaño
26 Living with Environmental Despair / Roger S. Gottlieb
27 Love Every Leaf / Rev. Dr. Margaret Bullitt-Jonas
28 Questions to Ponder and a Spiritual Practice
About the Contributors
Leah Schade, PhD, is a Lutheran pastor, eco-theologian, author of Creation-Crisis Preaching: Ecology, Theology and the Pulpit, and assistant professor of preaching and worship at Lexington Theological Seminary in Kentucky.
Margaret Bullitt-Jonas, PhD, is an Episcopal priest, author, and climate activist serving as Missioner for Creation Care in the Episcopal Diocese of Western Massachusetts and Southern New England Conference, United Church of Christ.
"Leah Schade and Margaret Bullitt-Jonas have curated a powerful anthology. Their new work offers weary-hearted readers tools to cope with the grief and despair of climate work, encourages persistence in taking action, and motivates bearing witness to the vision of a more just and sustainable future [...] By collecting these various stories and voices, Schade and Bullitt-Jonas provide the reader with a sense of relief through an unburdening of adopted identities or purposes and asks how can you in your specific life add to this movement? What roots you in this work? How can you stand firmly and deeply in your own soil and rise to meet the both nourishing and harsh conditions these people face in working toward a better world? Anyone in a faith-based organization interested in this work would be wise to read this book and share in community to discern how you are best able to root yourself in this challenging and life-giving work."
– Anglican Theological Review
"If you're part of the 'choir' regarding climate change, if you get it, if you're on board, this is the book you need right now. It will help you keep singing, even when politicians and corporate leaders prove themselves bigger fossil fools than before, even when the news is bleaker, even when you lose hope for the tenth time, but still can't give up. This book puts new steel in my spine and fires up my resolve. You need this book, and the Earth needs you to take its message and resources to heart."
– Brian D. McLaren, author of The Great Spiritual Migration
"Huge problems – war, poverty, civil rights – experienced serious progress in America only after the religious community got committed. Just in time for the 50th anniversary of Earth Day, Rooted & Rising provides a powerful spiritual and moral case for people of faith becoming involved in climate activism."
– Denis Hayes, founder of The Earth Day Network
"It is now clear: prophetic, spiritual resilience in the face of the Earth emergency is indispensable to our health and a catalyst for any eco-social transformation we might muster. In Rooted & Rising, climate activists beneath the Abrahamic canopy – Jews, Muslims, Christians – voice exactly what we need and show the way. Kudos to Margaret Bullitt-Jonas and Leah Schade for convening this remarkable gathering and offering spiritual practices to accompany the inspiring witness."
– Larry Rasmussen, Reinhold Niebuhr Professor Emeritus of Social Ethics, Union Theological Seminary
"Whatever your faith or spiritual background, this provocative collection of essays will stimulate new thought and action. This book is for everyone who has been frustrated by the lack of progress in addressing climate change. These pages will educate and inspire you and renew your strength."
– Sally Bingham, founder and president emeritus, Interfaith Power and Light
"Rooted & Rising is a deeply personal series of essays by those who see climate activism as a calling. At a time when the challenge may seem insurmountable, this book is a celebration of community. These essays show us that doing the work becomes its own end, and that the fulfillment we find in each other and in nature nourishes and sustains us in the struggle."
– Nicole Ghio, Fossil Fuels Program Manager, Friends of the Earth
"Rooted & Rising: Voices of Courage in a Time of Climate Crisis is a true gem. Filled with inspiring personal stories, contemplations on how to live with honesty and compassion in the midst of climate disruption, thoughtful questions for the reader to consider, and creative rituals to access our deepest emotional responses to the climate crisis, this book is a must-read for anyone and everyone who cares about planet Earth and all of its inhabitants."
– Katy Z. Allen, eco-chaplain and founder of Ma'yan Tikvah: A Wellspring of Hope and co-founder of Jewish Climate Action Network
"Hope flows, aided by spirit; fear and grief must be named and honored; resilience and justice are within us; holy paradoxes abound, as people of faith confront our climate-imperiled era. These are just a few of the vital messages delivered in this poignant, timely, diverse collection. I'll be returning to Rooted & Rising often, and anticipate that many others will, too."
– Fred Scherlinder Dobb, Adat Shalom in Bethesda MD; Chair, Coalition on the Environment and Jewish Life
"This timely book is not about overcoming climate change – it's about climate activism as a devotional practice. It's about honoring God, the Oneness that flows through everything. It's about building community and loving our neighbors (including the whole natural world) and feeding the hungry and protecting the poor. It's about the meaning of faith and about responding with all of our hearts and souls and might to meet the needs of this Climate era. It will motivate you and your communities to live as citizens of one earth."
– Ellen Bernstein, author of The Promise of the Land: A Passover Haggadah; Founder, Shomrei Adamah, Keepers of the Earth, first national Jewish environmental organization
"Margaret Bullitt-Jonas and Leah Schade have gathered the spiritual and practical wisdom we need for such a time as this. As ministers, activists and scholars, they know we must take bold action that heals the land, the waters, the skies and the whole family of God. They also know our faith traditions provide us with the fuel we need. I hope people of faith everywhere will open this book, explore the diverse and rich collection of voices, and be encouraged, challenged, informed, strengthened, rooted and driven to prayer and action."
– The Most Rev. Michael B. Curry, presiding bishop of The Episcopal Church
"This stunning collection of essays is like nothing we have seen before. With its honest acknowledgement of the raw fear, anger, and despair evoked by the climate crisis, Rooted & Rising will take readers to places they have never been – but which they need to face. At the same time, the book lifts up something equally real: the extraordinary power of human beings to take collective action, if they so choose. Rooted & Rising shows how claiming our relationship with all of life is the foundation of spirituality (with or without religious faith); how the energy of our feelings can be turned into positive action; and how our lives can find purpose and meaning in this perilous time."
– Lise Van Susteren, co-author of The Psychological Effects of Global Warming on the United States: And Why the U.S. Mental Health Care System is Not Adequately Prepared and Emotional Inflammation
"This important book is a collection of wise testimonies about how people of different spiritual backgrounds sustain their grit amidst the climate crisis: they release false idols, practice truth-telling, grieve, lament, breathe, pray, practice gratitude, embrace community, and live out their faith by taking action. I laughed, cried, and knowingly sighed as I identified with the experiences of these diverse climate justice leaders."
– Shantha Ready Alonso, executive director, Creation Justice Ministries
"This book does more than sound the alarm about the ecological destruction we have wrought and the catastrophic doom that awaits. Sound the alarm it does. But most importantly, it leads us to think deeply about how we sustain ourselves and the rest of our sacred Creation after the alarm has been sounded. Through passionate storytelling, this book shares a wellspring of faith practices and inner resources that sustain readers in moments of despair and lead them to a place of hope in the midst of a terminal climate crisis. The strength, wisdom, and reservoir of faith that fill these pages inspire one to take action to save our Creation. And so, for all who sometimes feel hopeless but refuse to give up on ourselves and our earthly home, this book is a must read. It provides you with the 'stuff' to continue in the struggle to 'midwife whatever new life will be born out of this cataclysmic time.'"
– The Very Rev. Dr. Kelly Brown Douglas, Dean, Episcopal Divinity School at Union Theological Seminary and author, Stand Your Ground: Black Bodies and the Justice of God
"In the face of an absolute emergency, the voices in Rooted & Rising represent an important source of inspiration and challenge. There is no time left for delay or half-heartedness in our response to the climate crisis, and these authors call on all of us to do everything we can for the sake of our precious planet."
– Fletcher Harper, executive director, GreenFaith
"Rooted & Rising should be required reading at all Christian seminaries, rabbinical and Islamic colleges! This collection provides an important way forward for religious leaders to take action for ethical sustainability using the best sources in their own traditions while cultivating interfaith friendships to work for eco-justice"
– David Grafton, professor of Islamic studies and Christian-Muslim relations, Hartford Theological Seminary
"It is mainly for the sake of encouraging and inspiring such despondent, hushed members of the green choir that the array of testimonies found in Rooted & Rising has been assembled. The result is an invaluable, enspirited, and uplifting anodyne to hopelessness [...] . In the light of that 'awakened consciousness', Rooted & Rising takes full account of the rationale for despair about earth's ills, and about the pressing challenge to ecojustice that this crisis entails. Yet the volume's chief value is to put a human face on what it might mean to live with the fear without letting it overcome us. Toward that end, the book's many personal stories of and by those who have demonstrated such endurance and resolve, including Margaret Bullitt-Jonas's own moving account of triumphing over an addiction recalling our culture's addiction to fossil fuel, blend into a compelling cloud of witnesses. For this and other reasons, I'd judge Rooted & Rising to be a must-read anodyne to hopelessness in our cultural moment, a book I will be recommending as spiritual sustenance to several disheartened friends."
– Journal for the Study of Religion, Nature and Culture