Soil and Sacrament

“This is a very moving as well as a wonderfully intelligent meditation on what is involved in care for our earth.  Fred Bahnson succeeds in showing how our practices of cultivating the environment and producing our food can become an integral part of a ‘gospel for all creation’.  In a culture obsessed with both growth and control, his spiritual insight is a gentle but clear challenge.”

–Rowan Williams, former Archbishop of Canterbury


“This book is profoundly, beautifully down to earth, which is almost certainly where we all need to spend more time on a planet in crisis.”

–Bill McKibben, author Oil and Honey: The Education of an Unlikely Activist


“This is a spiritual memoir with real dirt under its fingernails, as deep and gritty and rich as well-tended soil––or Holy Scripture. Fred Bahnson’s vision matters, and the work he writes so beautifully and unsentimentally about has the power to change communities. An important and moving book.”

–Sara Miles, author of Take This Bread and City of God


“There is a faith called “Christianity” and a faith we might call “Industrial Christianity” and they are not the same. Industrial Christianity claims to offer humanity an abstracted, insurance-policy-like “eternal life” even as it participates in the ravaging of biological and human life. Fred Bahnson’s Soil and Sacrament is a journey of return toward the founding Christian fact: spiritual life is not divorced from natural life, it is natural life bowing to an extra-natural, life-giving, never-ending miracle.”

—David James Duncan, author of The Brothers K and The River Why


“Fred Bahnson believes that faith is expressed in the work of our hands as well as our minds and hearts, and that in community we can meet the needs of a hungry world. After reading his beautifully written book, I believe these things, too, and see new ways to put my beliefs into action. Soil and Sacrament is about new life—for ourselves, our descendants, and the earth on which we all depend. Read it, let it move you, and shelve it next to Wendell Berry, Annie Dillard, and Kathleen Norris.”

—Parker J. Palmer, author of Healing the Heart of Democracy and A Hidden Wholeness


“Fred Bahnson had me at the hairy vetch and crimson clover. He bumped me off the couch and into the garden even before I could finish the book. I’m all for seekers who sit around asking, ”What does it mean to be fully alive?” But it’s even better when they stop asking and start doing.  Faith, it turns out, is not unlike a hand-cranked spreader. Works on all kinds of soil. Plants where you put it. Amen.”

–Rhoda Janzen, author of Mennonite in a Little Black Dress


“Written from lived experience, Fred Bahnson’s Soil and Sacrament reminds us that among the most necessary recoveries that may serve to heal a splintered personhood and a splintered community is the essentially agnostic—the not Gnosticreturn to a love for and the care of the stuff of creation.  As we are wooed away from false and debilitating dichotomies—of body and spirit, of substance and essence—we find before us a people and a land laden with spirit.  We know now that our hunger is not for transcendence, but for immanence.”

–Scott Cairns, author of The End of Suffering and Compass of Affection


“About once in a generation, an American writer delivers a memoir that unites the spiritual longing of every soul with the particular challenges of their day. I think of Merton’s Seven Storey Mountain or Dillard’s Pilgrim at Tinker Creek. These books resonate because they are a distillation of one person’s hope, which echoes in the heart of every reader. I realized this book may be one of them when I not only couldn’t put it down but also couldn’t stop thinking of all the people I wanted to give it to when I was finished.”

–Jonathan Wilson-Hartgrove, author of Strangers at My Door




3 Responses to Soil and Sacrament

  1. I am the Food Service Coordinator for a Soup Kitchen and Food Box Pantry. We ate a homeless shelter covering additional services to those in need. We just started our excited. I heard you speak in Sylva, NC in March. Looking forward to your book.

  2. Pingback: Hazon « July 3, 2013 Newsletter

  3. Pingback: TEDxManhattan Speaker Update: Fred Bahnson | Guide to Good Food

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