How does the Catholic tradition understand the significance of the environment, and what are the implications for our daily lives? In Walking God's Earth, David Cloutier provides a concise, accessible, and spiritually engaging introduction to these questions. Cloutier emphasizes the importance of "finding our place" within God's created order, showing how spiritual experiences and scriptural narratives guide us to a humble and realistic perspective, one that often clashes with the presumptions of society. In its focus on practical ways of living out this message, the book identifies key areas—food, fuel, dwelling places, work, and leisure—where Catholics can bring their faith convictions into daily living.
We are called to handle the things of God's creation in holy, sacramental ways, as an essential part of our vocation to live out our faith. Walking God's Earth emphasizes the importance of connecting, both spiritually and morally, our environmental lives with the basics of our faith in hope that God's desire for "the renewal of the earth" may be realized in our own desires and in the practices of our communities.
David Cloutier is associate professor of theology at Mount St. Mary's University in Emmitsburg, Maryland. He is the author of several books and numerous articles and serves as a director at the Common Market, the consumer food cooperative of Frederick, Maryland.
Explicitly Catholic in the best sense, this lovely book speaks to all Christians, from its opening invitation to walk mindfully through creation's wondrous variety to its concluding exhortation to consecrate the world. Cloutier elegantly balances four chapters that display the theological roots necessary for environmental faithfulness with four chapters that reveal the deep patterns of life that will require reconfiguration.
Using familiar examples from daily life, this clearly written book examines the intricacies of economic and ecological cycles. Cloutier not only effectively demonstrates the relevance of these issues to daily suburban life, but shows how choices that affirm human dignity over individualism, and the bonds of community over empty excess, are both practical and spiritually renewing. Walking God's Earth is a faithful call for Catholics to take the steps they can, attentively and patiently working to renew the structures of our lives together for the refreshment of all creation. His vision of green and walkable communities inspires hope that Americans can renew our ways of living together, walking through God's creation as our own shared, and livable, home.
Erin Lothes Biviano, Assistant Professor of Theology, College of Saint Elizabeth, Morristown, NJ
For clergy looking for a primer in advance of Francis' anticipated encyclical, or for lay Catholics who simply want to better understand what resources our faith tradition brings to the issue, Cloutier has provided a perfect introduction to Green Catholicism. . . . Cloutier's analogies and examples all have this easily accessibility to them that make this the kind of book that can be used in a parish adult faith formation group, or even with high schoolers.
Michael Sean Winters, National Catholic Reporter
Walking God's Earth considers how the Catholic tradition relates to environmental concerns and how `finding our place' in God's order also involves dealing with questions of fuel, food, dwelling places and more elements of daily living. The environment of the heart and soul are linked to other elements of God's creation and the holy ways involved in truly living a life of faith.
The Midwest Book Review
An enriching read. David Cloutier's book explores the interplay between Catholic tradition and environmental awareness. Cloutier's call for Catholics to appreciate and take care of God's creation is both practical and faith-based.
St. Anthony Messenger
Beginning with an invitation simply to take a walk in the places we inhabit, Prof. Cloutier invites readers into our local, natural worlds while also guiding us on a journey into patterns of observation, participation, and appreciation of Creation from a Catholic perspective. This book will be a helpful and accessible resource for a general audience, including faith-sharing or parish book groups, as well as introductory college-level theology courses.
Christiana Z. Peppard, Assistant Professor of Theology, Fordham University