The Rev. Dr. H. Paul Santmire, Lutherans Restoring Creation (LRC) Advisory Board member, has published a new book dedicated to LRC and to its Founder, David Rhoads, Celebrating Nature by Faith: Studies in Reformation Theology in an Era of Global Emergency (Cascade). Along the way, Santmire credits LRC and Rhoads, in particular, with helping to inspire and to shape what he considers to be the substantive and highly influential ecojustice ministries of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America.
Santmire, who helped to write the ELCA 1993 Social Statement, “Caring for Creation,” has been a leader in the field of ecological theology and ethics since he published his first book in 1970, Brother Earth: Nature, God, and Ecology in a Time of Crisis (Thomas Nelson). In this volume he proposes a fresh construct for the Christian’s life with nature, partnership, rather than stewardship. He offers a comprehensive study of Martin Luther’s rich theology of nature and a review of the contributions of the eminent American Lutheran theologian of nature, Joseph Sittler, along with discussions of works by other major Lutheran ecological thinkers of the last century. The book concludes with an autobiographical chapter tracing Santmire’s more than fifty years of engagement with the theology of nature and ecojustice issues.
In her endorsement of this book, retired ELCA Montana Synod Bishop, Jessica Crist, writes, in part: “Celebrating Nature by Faith is Paul Santmire’s urgent plea to rethink Christianity’s approach to nature…. With new insights into Bible and theology, Santmire stands out as both scholar and pastor, with a lifetime of passion for nature, faith, and justice. This is an important read for people of faith concerned about the future of the planet.”