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Evening Thoughts: Reflecting on Earth as a Sacred Community

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Among the contemporary voices for the Earth, none resonates like that of noted cultural historian Thomas Berry. His teaching and writings have inspired a generation’s thinking about humankind’s place in the Earth Community and the universe, engendering widespread critical acclaim and a documentary film on his life and work.

This new collection of essays, from various years and occasions, expands and deepens ideas articulated in his earlier writings and also breaks new ground. Berry opens our eyes to the full dimensions of the ecological crisis, framing it as a crisis of spiritual vision. Applying his formidable erudition in cultural history, science, and comparative religions, he forges a compelling narrative of creation and communion that reconciles modern evolutionary thinking and traditional religious insights concerning our integral role in Earth’s society.

While sounding an urgent alarm at our current dilemma, Berry inspires us to reclaim our role as the consciousness of the universe and thereby begin to create a true partnership with the Earth Community. With Evening Thoughts, this wise elder has lit another beacon to lead us home.

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Praise for Evening Thoughts: Reflecting on Earth as a Sacred Community

The wisdom of Thomas Berry is a mountain stream clear, brilliant, revealing, bracing and sustaining, flowing from deep time and the essential Earth. In these bewildering years, I thirst for Thomas Berry’s insights. I drink him in great gulps. I give thanks for the beautiful, inspiring Evening Thoughts, which collects his wisdom and offers it in cupped hands.” Kathleen Dean Moore, author, Riverwalking and coeditor, Moral Ground

"In darkening times Thomas Berry announces the dawn of a new Earth-centered consciousness grounded in a larger view of humankind and a deeper sense of the sacred. Evening Thoughts is a very great gift from a very wise man." David Orr, counselor to the President, Oberlin College

If we listen deeply to Thomas Berry's persistent articulation of the voice of the Earth, we can begin to learn to join the Earth Community as the authentic way of fully embodying our humanity.” Tu Weiming, Professor of Philosophy and Dean of the Institute for Advanced Humanistic Studies, Peking University

"One of the great thinkers of our time, Berry offers a vision of intimacy with the Earth as our way to intimacy with each other. This is a marvelous continuation of the Berry canon.” James Gustave Speth, author of America the Possible: Manifesto for a New Economy

As always, the voice of Thomas Berry manages to be simultaneously calm, sweeping, insistent, particular. It's a voice we badly need to keep hearing.” Bill McKibben, author of The End of Nature Berry is our conscience, our prophet, our guide. He speaks to what is best within us, in a voice that is inclusive, ecumenical, generous, and wise.” Orion

The most provocative figure among the new breed of eco-theologians.” Newsweek

Praise for The Dream of the Earth

This first volume in a new series, the Sierra Club Nature and Natural Philosophy Library, explores human-earth relations and seeks a new, non-anthropocentric approach to the natural world. According to cultural historian Berry, our immediate danger is not nuclear war but industrial plundering; our entire society, he argues, is trapped in a closed cycle of production and consumption. Berry points out that our perception of the earth is the product of cultural conditioning, and that most of us fail to think of ourselves as a species but rather as national, ethnic, religious or economic groups. Describing education as "a process of cultural coding somewhat parallel to genetic coding," he proposes a curriculum based on awareness of the earth. He discusses "patriarchy" as a new interpretation of Western historical development, naming four patriachies that have controlled Western history, becoming progressively destructive: the classical empires, the ecclesiastical establishment, the nation-state and the modern corporation. We must reject partial solutions and embrace profound changes toward a "biocracy" that will heal the earth, urges the author who defines problems and causes with eloquence. Publishers Weekly

With this classic book, Thomas Berry broke crucial new ground in the human relationship with the planet. Its ripples will spread for generations to come.” Bill McKibben, author of Hope, Human and Wild

The Dream of the Earth is a landmark. There is no wiser or more hopeful guide through the years ahead.” David Orr, counselor to the President, Oberlin College

Thomas Berry brings us into the presence of the entire cosmic order, of body-earth-body, and with his hand on the pulse on ours and on what he calls the basic structure and functioning of the Earth,’ we re-find the deep interior, the Everywhere’."  Gretel Ehrlich, author of Facing the Wave

"....a profoundly important and contemplative vision of how we should relate to this privileged planet which nurtured the rise of civilization." Thomas E. Lovejoy, Blue Planet Prize Laureate 2012

Thomas Berry is an exemplar in a tradition that includes a diverse group of spiritually radiant individuals (Gandhi, the monk Thomas Merton, the Lakota elder Black Elk), visionaries (Jacques Ellul, Terry Tempest Williams, Rachel Carson), and writers (Wendell Berry, Gary Snyder, Rebecca Solnit, Loren Eiseley). For these people the pressing issue has always been the preservation of an enduring community. Berry is a superb guide on the road that leads us back to the tradition of wisdom keepers, the ones who keep us awake.” Barry Lopez, author of Arctic Dreams

About the Author:

Thomas Berry (1914-2009), one of the leading environmental thinkers in North America, was the director of the Riverdale Center for Religious Research and founder of the History of Religions Program at Fordham University. His other major publications include The Dream of the Earth (1988), The Universe Story, with Brian Swimme (1992), and The Great Work (1999).

Mary Evelyn Tucker is coordinator of the Forum on Religion and Ecology and a visiting professor at Yale University's Institute for Social and Public Policy. She lives in New Haven, Connecticut.

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