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The best stories in the volume offer Cather-esque explorations of the links between place and people. The stories are remarkable for their dense layers, for their social, psychological, and emotional intricacies.
Is only the life of the busy and bustling place, the place of mergers and acquisitions, worthy of story and song and canvas?
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.
Even in the midst of this sad era of cold, objective ambition, the possibility of grateful participation in the cosmic life of creation remains for each of us.
There are second chances for some of us, but even second chances bring new losses. For me, it is the grace and hope of these stories and others like them in the work of Berry and Berger that has earned them pride of place on my shelves and in my life.
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.
Berry wrote in one of his letters to Merton that “you are one of the few whose awareness of what I’m doing here would be of value to me.” He is acknowledging that he and Merton lead lives of similar mission, lives shaped by work and silence.