In 2013 a group of friends—and, at the time, seminarians—set out to create a digital space for thoughtful discussions around faith and ecology. Guided by love for the wild, for spiritual and ecological communities, the work they sought to present also expressed concerns about the increasing calamities of the anthropocene.
While the leadership of EcoTheo Review has changed, we still strive to publish work that creates lasting affection toward the natural world. The daily barrage of data detailing the escalating degradation of earth and her many habitats has done little to make individuals and communities of care. When faced with statistics alone, it is hard to develop any sense of sympathy or responsibility. As Wendell Berry said in his Jefferson Lecture, entitled ‘It All Turns on Affection,’ “We don’t learn much from big numbers. We don’t understand them very well, and we are not much affected by them.” Art and story then are our focus, shared with the hope that they might cultivate affection toward the natural world, and in turn deepen your commitments to your communities, human and ecological. As Berry has said elsewhere, “We have the world to live in on the condition that we will take good care of it. And to take good care of it, we have to know it. And to know it and to be willing to take care of it, we have to love it.”
Our lives are made meaningful by the various artists, contemporary and long-gone, who have sought to express, on canvas or the page, something of the magnitude and mystery of Creation, from the interdependence of forests to the jubilant colors of a community garden in July, as well as the lasting impacts of environmental racism and pollution. We come to EcoTheo from various faith backgrounds and delight in work from within and outside all religious traditions that reflects our values of curiosity, justice, and community.
Ultimately, our hope is that what you encounter on our website and in our quarterly will lead from affection to action. Our mission is to enliven conversations and commitments around ecology, spirituality, and art. With that we leave you with a favorite quote of ours at EcoTheo Review:
If you want to build a ship, don’t drum up people to collect wood and don’t assign them tasks and work, but rather teach them to long for the endless immensity of the sea.