This week's staff pick comes from Elyse, who works the desk and helps manage social media here at Holy Cross Bookstore. Her husband is a third-year seminarian at Holy Cross.
Her pick, Living in Creation: Orthodox Perspectives on Ecology, is by Elizabeth Theokritoff, a scholar and translator who studied under Met. Kallistos Ware.
How did you first hear about this book?
A friend recommended it to me. And after reading the statements that Pope Francis and the Ecumenical Patriarch released on the preservation of the environment, I figured it was high time for me to start learning about the subject.
Why does this book matter to you?
The natural world is very dear to me. As a child, I loved playing in fields and rivers and forests. As an adult--particularly as an Orthodox adult--I appreciate the natural world as being God's handiwork. It physically pains me to see that handiwork trashed, pillaged, and disrespected. While passionate arguments for conservation abound, without the context of the created world belonging it Christ, they mean nothing. This book illuminates an appropriately Christian love for the world without veering into dominionism or idolatry.
What about this book did you find surprising?
To be honest, I wasn't expecting much of spiritual substance here--perhaps a theological argument for recycling or something like that. What I found instead was a thorough, reasonable overview of the Fathers, scripture, and the liturgical and hymnographical traditions of the church. In each chapter, Theokritoff asks, "What does our tradition have to say about our relationship to the natural world?"
I was also surprised to find so much about St. Maximos in this book--and Theokritoff discussed him in a way that was easy to understand. His idea of the "Logos" is so beautiful.
Who should read this book?
Anyone interested in theology, conservation, and the role of beauty in our lives.
You can find Living in Creation (and so much more) here at Holy Cross Bookstore.