The Lost Gospel of the Earth: A Call for Renewing Nature, Spirit and Politics

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Sierra Club Books, 1996 - Nature - 280 pages
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From Tom Hayden - a 1960s radical and longtime progressive California legislator - here is an impassioned plea for reclaiming our spiritual bond with the earth. Hayden argues that the basis of our present environmental crisis was laid long ago, when tribal systems of belief were replaced by formal religions. Nature-based mysticism gave way to human-centered theologies that desanctified the earth and taught people to see themselves as dominant over nature. If we want to heal the destructive divide that exists between the human spirit and the natural world, we must retrieve the "lost gospel of the earth" by which people live in kinship with a sacred natural world. Hayden finds that Christianity, Judaism, and Buddhism have defaulted on the environmental crisis, but believes that their earlier currents of native mysticism can be restored and applied to the present. Technical fixes and economic incentives will not cure our pathological addiction to making progress at the expense of the earth. Hayden blends personal spirituality with concrete political vision into a new politics that is grounded in environmental economics with a moral core. This new "politics of the spirit", drawing on the tradition of participatory democracy as well as the theories of ecotheology, calls for nothing less than the transformation of our entire political culture.

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THE LOST GOSPEL OF THE EARTH: A Call for Renewing Nature, Spirit, and Politics

User Review  - Kirkus

California state senator and former radical activist Hayden's (Reunion, 1988, etc.) prescription for our environmental malaise calls for a reinfusion of the spiritual to heal the divide between humans ... Read full review

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - pansociety - LibraryThing

A longtime activist, environmentalist, and politician argues that the displacement of tribal religions by monotheism contributed to the environmental crisis. Hayden explores ways people can again live in kinship with a sacred natural world. Read full review

Contents

Recovering the Lost Gospel
1
Overcoming the Divide of Soul from Nature
17
The Default of Organized Religion
45
Copyright

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About the author (1996)

Thomas Emmet Hayden was born in Royal Oak, Michigan on December 11, 1939. He received a bachelor's degree in sociology from the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor in 1961 and did graduate work there in 1962 and 1963. While a student, he was a co-founder of the Students for a Democratic Society, participated in sit-in protests and voter registration drives in the South, and joined the Freedom Riders on interstate buses in the South. In 1968, he helped plan antiwar protests in Chicago to coincide with the Democratic National Convention, which resulted in a riot. He was a defendant in the Chicago Seven trial. He was a peace activist who went to Hanoi and escorted American prisoners of war home from Vietnam. In 1974, he and his then wife Jane Fonda traveled across Vietnam and talked to people about their lives after years of war. They produced a documentary film entitled Introduction to the Enemy. He eventually became a politician and author. He was an assemblyman in the California Legislature in Sacramento from 1982 to 1992 and a state senator from 1993 to 2000. He wrote several books including The Other Side, Rebellion in Newark, Trial, Reunion, and Listen Yankee!: Why Cuba Matters. He died on October 23, 2016 at the age of 76.

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