Comments on Shalom and the Community of Creation from Across the Theological Spectrum

Woodley precisely describes the lethal social situation we have created for ourselves:

Coupled with the western myth of historical progress, western influences such as Augustine’s just war theory, and the Calvinistic myth of divine blessing, the Euro-western educational process sets up wealthy white Americans (and those from other races who “buy” into the system) to believe that in some very tangible ways they can and should exert their power over others.

And then, in bold, imaginative, and compelling ways, he exposits an alternative way for an abundant life. His book is a winsome presentation of Native American (Cherokee) perspective woven into the biblical narrative. The outcome is a recovery of shalom (harmony) that amounts to a perspective now urgently required among us. Woodley’s book effectively testifies that there are intellectual, moral resources available out of which to redirect our political-economic imagination.

— Walter Brueggemann, Columbia Theological Seminary

Randy Woodley has given us a beautiful and timely meditation on Shalom.  He reminds us of the breadth of human responsibility as it relates to all Creation and he encourages us to inhabit the kinds of practices that fosters biblical reconciliation.  Through personal story and rigorous scholarship, Woodley paints a picture of a holistic way of living, a way that nurtures connection, hope, and harmony.  But the greatest gift to us here is the invitation to view scriptures, humanity, and all Creation through his particular Indigenous lens.  We would do well to catch this vision of creation care for the sake of the next seven generations.

Matthew Sleeth, MD, Executive Director, Blessed Earth

This book is like a breath of fresh air. Randy Woodley draws deeply not only on his native American heritage, but also weaves in vital biblical resources in order to set forth a vision of Shalom, a community approach to ecological living. However, he also manages to avoid the temptation to idealize one tradition by being respectfully critical of his sources, leading to a lively and fascinating account of how his particular approach to theology can inform environmental responsibility. Readers will find themselves on a journey of discovery, carried into ways of perceiving the world that will be both challenging and inspiring. Woodley’s innovative and thoughtful approach is bound to provoke and awaken environmental consciousness that is so vitally needed in today’s world.’”

 — Celia Deane-Drummond, University of Notre Dame

My native friends constantly remind me that the biblical concept and hope of shalom resonates deeply with the sensitivities of most Native American or First Nations cultures. This key truth underlies Randy Woodley’s prophetic new book. Biblically based and culturally sensitive, Shalom and the Community of Creation presents an essential corrective for today’s church. We will be wiser and live a more faithful discipleship if we come to see how far today’s technological society has journeyed from the biblical shalom visiona vision that speaks directly to today’s ecological dysfunctions and looming disasters, yet echoes deeply with the native cultures around us.

-Howard A. Snyder, Professor Wesley Studies, Tyndale Seminary, Toronto

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