1st Edition

Ecoflourishing and Virtue Christian Perspectives Across the Disciplines

Edited By Steven Bouma-Prediger, Nathan Carson Copyright 2024

    This book brings together the interdisciplinary reflections of Christian scholars and poets, to explore how ecological virtues can foster the flourishing of our home planet in the face of unprecedented environmental change and devastation. Its central questions are: What virtues are needed for us to be better caretakers of our home planet? What vices must we extinguish if we are to flourish on the earth? What is the connection between such virtues and vices and the flourishing of all creatures? Each contribution offers insight on ecological virtue ethical questions through disciplinary lenses ranging from biology, geology, and economics, to literature, theology, and philosophy. The chapters feature the legacy and lessons of senior scholars reflecting on a lifetime of earthkeeping work, highlight global concerns and perspectives, and include compelling poetic reflections. Focusing on the way in which human vices and virtues drive so many of our ecological problems and solutions, the volume engages timely issues of environmental importance – such as environmental racism, interfaith dialogue, ecological philosophies of work and economics, marine pollution, ecological despair, hope and humility – encouraging fresh reflection and action. It will be of interest to those working in theology and religious studies, philosophy, ethics, and environmental studies.


    Bill McKibben



    Poetic Reflection: Materfamilias Luci Shaw


    I. Gifts in Retrospection: Mentors in Ecoflourishing

    Poetic Reflection: Of This World Todd Davis

    1 From Shenandoah to the Mountain West

    Holmes Rolston III

    2 Crossing Lehigh Gap: Discerning Christian Contributions and Misdirection in Wilderness Preservation

    Susan Power Bratton

    3 Beholding Earth through the Eye of its Maker

    Calvin B. DeWitt

    4 Prophets and Poets: The Capture of the Creative Vision

    Luci Shaw

    5 A Table and a Planet: From Hearthkeeping to Earthkeeping

    Mary Ruth Wilkinson and Loren Wilkinson

    Poetic Reflection: In the Garden Todd Davis


    II. Grounding Narratives of Ecoflourishing and Virtue: Stories Worth Telling

    Poetic Reflection: Disarm Laura Kathryn Dvořák

    6 When Good Christians Destroy the Earth: The Virtue of Limits and the Limits of Virtue

    Jonathan A. Moo

    7 "Ecoflourishing" and Story: Fantasy, Science Fiction and Hope

    Loren Wilkinson

    8 ‘I all-creation sing’: Christina Rossetti’s Cosmic Liturgy and Challenge to Anthropocentrism

    Joshua King

    9 John Muir, Deep Time, and the Hope of Ecoflourishing

    Michael Kunz

    Poetic Reflection: Homes for Prayer Laura Kathryn Dvořák


    III. Biblical and Theological Soundings: Ecological Ruin, Restoration, and Community Virtues

    Poetic Reflection: Humphrey’s Basin Paul Willis

    10 Subverting Metaphor, Transforming Identity: An Eco-Anthropological Analysis of Job’s Shift from Ruler to Member of the Creation Community

    Alexander W. Breitkopf

    11 Paul, Generosity, and Ecological Flourishing

    Julien C. H. Smith

    12 Ecoflourishing: Life, Death and Natural Disasters

    Robert S. White

    Poetic Reflection: San Rafael Mountain Paul Willis


    IV. Global Ecoflourishing: Biospheric, Intercultural, and Interreligious

    Poetic Reflection: A Common Sight Pattiann Rogers

    13 Interdisciplinary Voices of the Ecoflourishing ‘Glocal’ Dialogue from Non-Western Cultural and Literary Perspectives

    Graciela Susana Boruszko

    14 Becoming Citizens of the Biosphere: Character, Ecoflourishing, and Control in Our Newfound Common Home

    Calvin B. DeWitt

    15 Becoming Human, Intercultural, and Inter-creational: Movements toward Achieving Ecoflourishing

    Anthony Le Duc

    Poetic Reflection: The Family Is All There Is Pattiann Rogers


    V. Philosophical Remedies: Relationship, Work, Economy

    Poetic Reflection: Still Life George David Clark


    16 Primary Encounters: Relational Ontology and Ecoflourishing

    Amy E. Smallwood

    17 Toward a Christian Ecological Philosophy of Work

    Karl Clifton-Soderstrom

    18 Fairy Tales and True Stories: Economic Talk for Ecological Flourishing

    Kathryn D. Blanchard

    Poetic Reflection: Shiversong George David Clark


    VI. Virtue and Vice in Ecological Practice: Confronting Current Challenges

    Poetic Reflection: Garden Micheal O’Siadhail

    19 The Christian Ethics of Waste, Contaminants, and Emerging Pollutants in Marine Ecosystems

    Susan Power Bratton

    20 Reconciling the Food Chain with the Great Chain of Being: A Philosopher’s Reflection on Raising Sheep for Meat

    Gregory S. Poore

    21 Justice, Biocentrism, and White Supremacy: John Muir’s Romantic Christian Ethics

    Russell C. Powell

    22 The Virtue of Intersectionality in Environmental Ethics

    Kevin J. O’Brien

    Poetic Reflection: Forebears Micheal O’Siadhail




    Steven Bouma-Prediger is Professor of Religion at Hope College in Michigan, USA. He is best known for his book – For the Beauty of the Earth: A Christian Vision for Creation Care and his most recent book Earthkeeping and Character: Exploring A Christian Ecological Virtue Ethic. At Hope he oversees the Environmental Studies program and co-chairs the Campus Sustainability Advisory Committee.

    Nathan P. Carson is Associate Professor and Program Director of Philosophy at Fresno Pacific University in Fresno, California, USA, directing also its Sierra Program which integrates wilderness, conservation, and community with environmentally thematized courses. His philosophical publications have appeared in Dao, Philosophy and Literature, International Philosophical Quarterly, History of Philosophy Quarterly, and Journal of Chinese Philosophy.

    "This book is essential reading for every student and scholar alike. By focusing on one of the most important themes of our generation – articulating the place of virtue in ecological flourishing – it challenges the reader to weave together the insights of diverse disciplines both practically and creatively. The overall intent is to build a more constructive approach to thinking and acting differently in a rapidly changing and globalized world. The editors can be congratulated for bringing together a superlative line up of essayists whose approaches to earthkeeping from a variety of disciplines serve to complement each other. A predominance of essays by Christian scholars alongside a handful of poems in this collection, reinforces the argument in a way that will touch both hearts and minds." - Celia Deane-Drummond, Director, Laudato Si’ Research Institute, and Senior Research Fellow, Campion Hall, University of Oxford.

    ​​"This rich anthology shows the down-to-earth power of Christian virtue ethics in this time of global ecojustice crisis. Carry this book with you. Dip into it often. Be inspired." - Paul Santmire, author of seven books on ecological theology, including The Travail of Nature and EcoActivist Testament.

    "Few books in the study of Christian environmental virtue ethics engage such a far-ranging set of issues from multiple disciplinary perspectives – and by each field’s leading scholars and writers on top of it. This volume will be a guide for years to come for those intentional about reflecting on what it means to be better caretakers of planet earth." - Gretel Van Wieren, Professor of Religious Studies and Philosophy, Michigan State University.