Simpler Living, Compassionate Life edited by Michael Schut

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Simpler Living, Compassionate Life: A Christian Perspective  (1998) grew out of a curriculum created by Michael Schut in 1996 and published by Earth Ministry. The early success of the curriculum led to its expanded publication as a larger collection. Featuring essays by Cecile Andrews, Henri Nouwen, Frederick Buechner, and many more, this collection touches many topics surrounding humanity’s relationship to our earthly home. In addition to the essays, the book includes 70 pages of additional material to help guide communities as they engage this book, making it a wonderful choice for book groups. This book is obviously meant not just to be read, but engaged, and engaged in community most of all.

Any work attempting to examine the global economy, everyday food choices, social structures, justice, and more will confront a problem of accessibility for readers without theological or ecological degrees. However, for those willing to take the time to move a little bit more slowly and intentionally through the selections, readers will find that Schut’s careful curation has created an accessible approach to the interconnected nature of our relationship to the natural world. The authors who contribute to this collection argue for a new way of moving through the world, voluntary simplicity inspired and grounded in a Christian faith that recognizes the sacred nature of all life.

Simpler Living, Compassionate Life can be found at most major book retailers, including Amazon here, and through your favorite independent bookstore. More detailed information on the sections of the book, including reviews for each section and author profiles can be found at the hyperlinks below. (Hyperlinks currently in progress.)

Profile: Wendell Berry

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Prolific American author Wendell Berry is known for his poetry, essays, novels and his activism. His experiences as the son of a farmer directed his work later in life as an author and activist. His activism began in 1968 with A Statement Against the War in Vietnam” which was published in 1969 in a collection of essays. His activism has continued throughout his career and he has taken a special interest in environmental issues.

His work has received numerous awards, most of which can be found here at a fan website. In addition to his many already published works, Mr. Berry has two books to be published in the next year: Fidelity: Five Stories (Aug 2018 – rerelease; original publication date 1992) and The Art of Loading Brush New Agrarian Writings (Jan 2019).

Beloved for his insightful and steady voice which argues for a profound reflection and connection with the earth, Berry has been an influential American voice through the last half of the twentieth century and into the twenty-first century. There are many recommendations for the best place to start when reading Wendell Berry, but there is agreement that the most important thing is to start.

For Wendell Berry’s own website click here. A fan website has collected many online resources for those interested in Wendell Berry, which can be found here. Berry’s published work can be found from major booksellers and your favorite independent bookstore. Click here to be taken to his author page on Amazon.

CreatureKind Church Course

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CreaturKind has created a 6-week course to help Christians think about what their faith means for animals. The course is free and is meant to assist churches in learning about animal welfare and how to care for animals faithfully. They aim to encourage Christians to consider what they believe about God’s creatures and how they might move toward living out those beliefs as members of the body of Christ. To read more or watch a short video about the course, click here.


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CreatureKind is an organization that engages churches in new ways of thinking about animals. They encourage Christians to consider what they—as members of the body of Christ—believe about God’s creatures and how they might move toward living out those beliefs more fully. They also provide information, prompt discussion, share stories, and offer recommendations for flourishing as humans creatures without denying the flourishing of animal creatures. They work to inspire vegans, vegetarians, omnivores, farmers, fishers, and friends to learn from each other about how each to be the church that follows Christ into the reconciliation of all creatures. To read more about CreatureKind, click here.

Episcopal Diocese of Ohio: Bellwether Farm

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Bellwether farm is a new camp and education center of the Episcopal Diocese of Ohio. It is meant to provide leadership development and teachings through sustainable farming, food production, and care of the environment. It is located in Wakeman Ohio, with the goals of informing, inspiring, and empowering leaders for a sustainable future. The buildings are models of green technology featuring passive buildings, renewable energy, and water reclamation systems. To read more or see how to attend, click here.

Urban Agriculture and Container Gardens





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Technology For the Poor is a non-profit organization started by Dr. Job Ebenezer. Their mission is to develop, innovate, and disseminate sustainable technologies to the poor all over the world. While Dr. Ebenezer has designed and implemented many different sustainable practices, one of the most notable is his work with urban agriculture and gardens. Using inexpensive containers and suitable soil mix, he has created container gardens in urban areas such as rooftops and unused parking lots in places such as Chicago and Washington D.C. Locally, he has created these gardens at Ascension Lutheran Church, Faith Mission Men’s Shelter, and a soup kitchen in Franklin. To learn more about Technology for the Poor and their work, click here. To read about container gardens and a guide on how to start your own, click here.

Engaged Organizations: Food, Faith, and Farming

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Food, Faith, and Farming, previously known as Churches’ Center for Land and People, uses an interfaith collaboration approach to integrate earth stewardship, economic justice, community and spirituality around issues related to agriculture and food. They aim to strengthen rural life and the connection between farmers, their land, and their communities. They do so by offering a prayerful and spiritual perspective in rural communities, raising awareness of rural spirituality in our culture, and providing resources for those in church life and beyond. To check out their website, click here. Additionally, they offer a flyer containing resources for faith communities on the spiritual integrity of rural life and farming. To read the flyer, click here.

Engaged Organizations: Christian Food Movement

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The Christian Food Movement combines discipleship, sustainability, health and justice in hopes to inspire conversation and collaboration about agriculture and providing food for all who need it. Their website is a guide to different Christian organizations that either provide information about sustainability producing food, or are a resource for those in need of food. They believe in loving and taking care of ones neighbor, no matter their faith. This is how and why this program was started and has since grown. In addition, their website offers a directory which can be used to find resources in any state. To access this directory click here. To read more on the Christian Food Movement, click here.

Engaged Organizations: Shepherd’s Corner

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Shepherd’s Corner is an ecological ministry of the Dominican Sisters of Peace. They serve as a farm along with a center for ecology, spirituality, and education. They work towards providing environmental education, reflective experiences on care for the creation, and renewal of the land. They welcome people of all backgrounds to come and learn how to reconnect with the natural environment, with themselves, with one another, and with the Creator. They frequently offer events to help others reach these goals. To see the dates of these events and learn more, click here.

To learn more by visiting their website, click here.

Shepherd’s Corner Events

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Shepherd’s Corner is an ecology center of the Dominican Sisters of Peace. They strive to provide environmental education, reflective experience on care for creation, and renewal of the land. They hold many events which are all now listed in the events calendar. These events include celebrating the time of planting in our gardens and our lives, learning how to prepare for Spring through renewal, balancing life in tune with the Vernal Equinox, and learning how to avoid harmful cleaners. While these events are free, there is a suggested donation price and a required registration which can be found here.  To see the calendar of these events, click here.