Super natural living

In The Travail of Nature, Paul Santmire invites us to imagine that we are climbing a mountain. There are two alternatives that we are asked to consider as we make our way up the mountain: either we keep our gaze firmly fixed upwards, unaware of all around us as we journey towards the transcendent light above . . .

On the other hand, we may choose to look around us as we make the journey, our eyes drinking in the beauty and glory of the mountain scenery …
look up or look around.

The first perspective – which Santmire describes in the metaphor of ascent – implies a form of spirituality that takes us not just towards God, but away from nature, away from the physical world around us. The second metaphor, that of fecundity (or lush fruitfulness), invites us into an awareness and appreciation of the rich goodness of creation. The second alternative suggests that, in the words of Sally McFague, we need to be not just supernatural Christians, but ‘super, natural’ Christians!

–Graham Buxton

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