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Book Jacket

196 pages
Mar 2005
Augsburg Fortress Publishers

Finding God In The Singing River: Christianity, Spirit, Nature

by Mark I. Wallace

Review  |   Author Bio  |  Read an Excerpt


Beware! Under the inspirational sounding title: Finding God in the Singing River, Mark I.Wallace proposes that Christianity is a religion that needs to return to its roots in paganism, animism, and deep ecology. He calls on Christians to restore their faith by renewing those pagan roots. These roots, the author says, teach us that healing is magic and that resurrection of Jesus is a myth.

The author uses a lofty tone and densely constructed sentences that disguise his warping of truth and to present his beliefs. The main message of this book is that God being “triune” means there is a parent god: the creator; a carnate god: Jesus; and a spirit god: the part of god abiding in earth and nature. Wallace says Jesus redeemed man spiritually by his death on the cross and the Holy Spirit, a female “earthly mother spirit” or “mother bird god” strives to redeem us physically by her agonizing crucifixion at human hands in the destruction of the ecology which he terms “ecoviolence.”

The author distorts Scriptures for his purposes and yet claims the Bible is faulty. A quote from the text rewrites Scripture: “Daily the Earth Spirit intercedes for us and groans in sounds too deep for words—imploring us to love our planet home.” The book teaches that Christianity’s teaching that man should exercise dominion over nature has been the main cause of “ecocidal disease,” that is, being addicted to destroying the earth.

This book is alarming in that it teaches the worldview of deep ecology, and that the religions of paganism and animism are biblical. She, Mother Nature, the long sought for person of the trinity, that women have supposedly been robbed of by men, dwells in all living things thus making them sacred and making man of no greater value than any other earthly thing. According to Wallace, nature is God and the elements are God’s manifest self. A quote from the book: “The Spirit is the liquid God who imbues all life-sustaining bodily fluids—blood, mucus, sweat, urine –with flowing divine presence and power.”

The author is a professor of religion at Swarthmore College, Swarthmore, Pennsylvania. One of the sources of Mr. Wallace’s doctrine is Dr. Seuss’s The Lorax.

The first chapter is titled “God is Green,” and it gives a valuable glimpse into the doctrines of green spiritualists, pagans, wiccans, neopagans, animists, and other religions. It might work as a textbook for training students to spot propaganda, educational hogwash, faulty logic, and false teachings. It could help students see how people can be led into cults by truth craftily blended with blatant lies. – Elece Hollis, Christian Book

Book Jacket:

We live in an age of vast and rapid destruction of habitats and species. Yet Christianity holds great potential for healing this situation. Indeed, the Bible and Christian tradition are a treasure trove of rich images and stories about God as an "earthen" being who sustains the natural world with compassion and thereby models for humankind environmentally healthy ways of being.

Mark Wallace's stimulating book retrieves a central but often neglected biblical theme — the idea of God as carnal Spirit who indwells all things — as the basis for constructing a "green spirituality" responsive to the environmental needs of our time.

In the biblical tradition, he writes, God as Spirit is an ecological presence that shows itself to us daily by living in and through the earth. One message of Christianity, therefore, is celebration of the bodily, material world — ancient redwoods, vernal springs, broad-winged hawks, everyday pigweed — as the place that God indwells and cares for in order to maintain the well-being of our common planetary home.

Alongside his green reading of the Bible and tradition, Wallace employs the resources of deep ecology, Neopagan spirituality, and the environmental justice movement to rethink Christianity as an earth-based, body-loving religion. He also analyzes color images reproduced in the book. Wallace's bold yet careful work reawakens our sense of the sacrality of the earth and the life that the trinitarian God creates there. It also grounds the impulses of New Age spirituality in a profoundly biblical notion of God's being and activity.