Is there a place where people of diverse religious and philosophical beliefs can work together on healing the planet we share? How can Christians help create such a place, and what changes of mind and heart would doing so require? Caroline Fairless is an Episcopal priest who has the courage to ask these questions and risk answering them, despite the fact that the answers challenge the way Christians think, believe and live. If that kind of courage became widespread among us, we would have more reason to hope for the future of the planet, humankind and the church. I hope this book will be widely read, understood and acted upon: we, our children, and grandchildren will be the beneficiaries.
— Parker J. Palmer (A Hidden Wholeness, Let Your Life Speak, and The Courage to Teach)
The place in which a galvanizing, Earth-loving faith can find safe haven, Reverend Caroline Fairless tells us, is “in the space between church and not-church.” What a balm, amid the ongoing travesties (of our industrial complex) , to hear a woman of the cloth quietly ask: What if the people who love the Earth and fear for its future begin to meet in a space that is neither church nor not-church���a space where ideas, living experience, and “the sacred unspeakable” would be exchanged and celebrated to deepen human to human and human to nonhuman contact? Reverend Fairless’s efforts to unite believers and nonbelievers in admiration and service of planetary life is not new. It is for this very reason that I so trust it.
Why is it time for Christians to surrender their exclusivity and join the rest of humanity in such service? Because there is an impasse between rote religiosity and living spirituality and this impasse forces a choice. Caroline Fairless’s embrace of the living Earth, and of the spirituality of those who unify rather than divide, is a fresh imagining of the meaning of the word “faith,” an imagining that heals the old wounds between Christians and nonChristians.
–David James Duncan (God Laughs & Plays, The Brothers K, and The River Why)
As I read Caroline Fairless��� new book, I could scarcely contain my excitement. Caroline has put into words what I have been yearning to find a way to name and to claim. She brings together for me my passion as a teacher and lifelong learner with my knowing as an ecofeminist that hierarchy is in direct conflict with community. Caroline’s profound ideas allow me to name as both/and what my culture has been telling me was either/or. She makes it possible for me to claim my spiritual Self without having to find a church or synagogue to legitimize my Being.
— Sally Z. Hare, Ph. D. Singleton Distinguished Professor Emerita, Coastal Carolina University President, still learning, inc. www.stilllearning.org
With our old patterns of living laying waste to the Earth community and new paths only vaguely seen, receive as a gift this courageous, visionary, provocative and ultimately hopeful book. While providing enough of a roadmap for us to begin the journey to reclaim the heart of the sacred, Fairless challenges church people and not-church people with a stirring call to engagement; the call to discover an intersection where we can put aside the belief systems that divide us, reclaim the sacredness of the Earth and join together in new rituals that promote the healing of the Earth and of ourselves.
— The Rev. Canon Charles P. Gibbs, Executive Director, United Religions Initiative
Many of us feel distraught over the environmental degradation that is consuming our planet, and most of us feel powerless to do much of anything about it. In this book, Caroline Fairless urges us to name out loud the extent of our anguish, overcome our anthropocentric view of the world and join in a revolution of bio-centric healing for our planet and our souls. She invites us to re-engage our broken hearts and join together at the intersection of our common longings and consciousness so that, as we re-connect with the well being of this world, we will cease being unwilling and silent co-conspirators in its destruction.
This is a book that urges us to reclaim our deep spiritual impulses, not necessarily in a “religious” way, but in an enlightened, human way – there at the intersection where there is no longer an in-group and an out group, but rather our single, shared earth community and the profound interdependence which defines our lives.
Fairless envisions a world no longer separated into “human and non-human but rather a single, bio-centric web in which we recognize that everything on this planet is interconnected. The question, ���How might we find a way to live in the light of such understanding?” is the question that this book provocatively asks and seeks to answer. Our very survival revolves around reclaiming as sacred this earth and all the things thereof. The Sacred Space Between Church and Not-church is a wake-up call of challenge and hope. It carries within it the seeds of both reconciliation and transformation. This is a voice that needs to be heard.
— Dr. Michael S. Glaser Poet Laureate of Maryland 2004-2009
–From Carol Kortsch
Just to let you know a few ways that your book has continued to inspire me … (and confirm what we as a family have been doing for many years) … We are actively setting up our suburban Main Line property which has two old PA farmhouses as a day retreat center .. getting a web site done etc — we have already been operating sort of like this for ever … always on the fringes of institutions – churches, academia, mission organizations, national politics etc. …all things we deeply care about but always seem to be edge-walkers. We are Canadians and are now Americans, but I was raised in Angola and my husband in Germany. We have lived and traveled all over the world so the global web is our reality. All this to say our place – Stonehaven – has never been “our own” … We are identifying it as a “commons” property – I am planning ‘Awakening’ day retreats, Sabbath ‘conversations’, solstice rituals, even Oktoberfest -which has been a community fun party … all of these I am planning with fresh sense of purpose and connectedness to healing ourselves, the ‘stranger’ and the land.