Books on Our Relationship to Earth, Spirituality and Faith

This page lists books on our relationship to earth, spirituality and faith I believe are worth reading.  They are listed alphabetically by author or editor.  I also include a very, very brief description of the book.  Please feel free to share with me your favorite titles.

Cohen, Michael P;  "The Pathless Way:  John Muir and American Wilderness", University Wisconsin Press, 1984.

What I find intriguing is Cohen's (no relation) objective to document the spiritual aspect of Muir's writing.  He writes, "I was interested in his thinking while in the mountains...what kind of philosophical questions he asked..I was interested in his ethics.

 

Dina, James; "The Voyage of the Ant", published by Stackpole Books, 1989. 

"A true story of ingenuity and perseverance ... of building a birchbark canoe with stone tools and paddling up the Connecticut River".

 

Roderick Nash; "Wilderness and the American Mind", published by Yale University Press, 1967. 

A true classic.  Nash's book is a tour de force in the philosophical and psychological implications of wild, uncultivated land. 

 

Will Hobbs, "Far North", is a delightful book heavily inspired by R.M. Patterson's "Dangerous River" (see next book reviewed).

In Far North two teenage boys, a Texan and a Dene, struggle for survival in the wilderness along the South Nahanni River after the destruction of their float plane.

John Lionberger's "Renewal in the Wilderness", pub. by Skylights Paths, Woodstock VT 1997.

This book is a perfect description of the mission of Burning Bush Adventures!  John exquisitely describes his personal transformative experience on an Outward Bound course and why I started BBA while in rabbinical school.  (Not surprising to me, his awakening occurred while he was a student at the same school where I started my OB career).  Building on his experience, he recounts how he changed careers to create a ministry devoted to helping clergy reconnect spiritual with God through wilderness encounters.  Bill Mckibben descsribes this book best:  "if you've been wondering how to find God, here's a topo map".

Berry, Thomas;  "The Sacred Universe:  Earth, Spirituality, and Religion for the Twenty-First Century", published by Columbia University Press, 2009. 

The book is a collection of what might be considered some of the best of Berry's insightful environmental writing.

 

Comins, Mike; "A Wild Faith:  Jewish Ways into Wilderness, Wilderness Ways into Judaism", published by Jewish Lights, 2007.

Mike Comins shows the reader how Judaism connects to the earth and ways followers of the Jewish path can enrich their spiritual and religious life through various exercises conducted outdoors.

Lane, Belden C; "The Solace of Fierce Landscapes", published by Oxford University Press, 1998.

Lane weaves his personal story of how he coped with his mother's death by seeking out wild places with a thoughtful study of the role of wild places in spiritual formation and in religious history.  I found this book very powerful!

 

Bergon, Frank, editor;  "The Wilderness Reader", published by New American Library, 1980.

A compendium of essays and excerpts from books from a wide range of some of the most well known writers on wilderness, nature and the environment.

R.M. Patterson, "Dangerous River", pub. by Chelsea Green Publishing Company, Post Mills VT 1990.

"Dangerous River" is pure fun.  What I love about it is that it is about nothing more than two men living out their fantasy to spend a year on incredibly wild and beautiful remote river in the Northwest Territories.  The book offers no great insights, no discoveries and nothing philosophical:  "Having, then, made it quite clear to the prospective reader that his mind is in no danger of improvement at my hands....".  But no doubt once you finish it you'll want to go see the South Nahanni for yourself.