Mark Clavier is an American living in the U.K. where he serves as Residentiary Canon of Brecon Cathedral. He is a regular contributor to BBC Radio Wales and is the Director of Convivium: an initiative to connect faith with local environments, heritage, and communities. His latest book is A Pilgrimage of Paradoxes: A Backpacker’s Encounters with God and Nature is a theological reflection on his many walks in Wales.
We cannot sustain the rhetoric of conservation and sustainability if our society remains fixated on ideas of economic and technological progress. We cannot become a people who cherish the land and seas if we continue to expect an unsustainable degree of material affluence.
Mark Clavier describes coming to terms with the fact that he is a white Southerner descended from enslaved Africans who subsequently became slave-owners. Reflecting on an ancestry containing triumph and shame, he discovers how closely the commendable and corrupt can be intertwined.
There is much wisdom contained in English Pastoral for suffering churches. If the last fifty years have shown that innovation and modernization aren’t the solution to our ill-health, they have also made a nostalgic return to yesteryear an impossibility.
The world is God’s farm, his flourishing garden. We find ourselves as his workers in his fields, called to cultivate the land and the souls, minds, and bodies of ourselves and our neighbors—in this way all can be “fruitful and multiply.”
Drawing from both Baldwin and Berry allows us to see that the racist and imperial policies of the past continue to do immense social, economic, cultural, and ecological damage around the globe. Racial injustice is among other things an ecological issue.