The gospel of Luke presents an ecological symphony that reveals a Jesus connected to Earth. His ministry touches all aspects of creation, human and non-human, and invites disciples into an ecological asceticism. This same spirit continues in the Acts of the Apostles. In this Earth Bible Commentary on Acts, Michael Trainor allows our environmental concerns to shape his interpretative approach, and thus ecological nuances emerge.
Luke’s household of disciples, imbued with the spirit of the risen Jesus, to embrace the world and bring to it a word of reconciliation, embark on this mission. This formally begins at Pentecost with their reception of God’s creative and renewing Spirit that empowers them as Earth’s children. From this moment an explosion of activity moves them over Earth’s lands, beginning in Jerusalem, Earth’s navel (Acts 1.1-8.1), into Samaria, the space in-between that navel and Galilee, the garden of God’s earthly delights (Acts 8.2-11.17), to the ends of Earth, Rome (Acts 11.18-28.33). As we trace Luke’s vast geographical journey around the Mediterranean, key moments highlight fresh environmental insights that offer new hope for contemporary disciples seeking ecological affirmation at this particular time in world history.
Using intertextuality to interpret basileia-ecotopia units in Acts, Michael Trainor exhibits the voice and presence of Earth in the foundational account of the spread of the Jesus movement "to the end of the earth." Acts moves beyond the focus on wealth produced by Earth's gifts in Luke to the creation of inclusive social and cultural groups by the Spirit of God's agents on Earth. God's Spirit and tasks are open to all in this ecological mission, no matter where they live or whatever their circumstances of daily life might be. A new interpretation of Acts that contains breath-taking moments of interpretation! * Vernon K. Robbins, Professor Emeritus of Religion-Winship Distinguished Research Professor in the Humanities, Emory University, USA * What does one expect of a new reading of a biblical book? My answer is that I want my eyes to be opened to see familiar things afresh, to have new experiences, and to have my heart quickened. In this challenging book Michael Trainor powerfully opens eyes, stimulates the mind, and warms the heart. He clearly presents his new readings and fully illustrates them, providing helpful conclusions after each major section. What a marvelous book! * Robert Karris, St. Bonaventure University, USA * In this wonderful book, Michael Trainor combines an intertextual approach to the Bible with sensitivity to Earth's presence in both Acts and the everyday context of the contemporary reader, in order to discern God's ecological intent to include the whole creation - and not just humankind - in the coming Kingdom. Attracted to the reality-transforming imagination of Jesus, the ultimate Earth's Child, readers of today can also become Earth's children, sharing their Master's passion for God's inclusive reign of justice and peace. Clearly written, convincingly argued, and thoroughly dialogical, Trainor offers us a gift that will be appreciated by all those interested in biblical interpretation and caring for God's creation. * Pavol Bargar, Protestant Theological Faculty, Charles University in Prague, Czech Republic author of Narrative, Myth, Transformation: Reflecting Theologically on Contemporary Culture * At a pivotal moment of environmental catastrophe, Michael Trainor listens for Earth's voice in the Book of Acts, offering biblical scholars and preachers a way to engage Acts to help us to respond faithfully to the most pressing challenge of our time. While his previous commentary on Luke focused on engagement with 'Earth's Child', Trainor now considers the disciples, 'Earth's Children', to reveal a way to biblically inform ecological scholarship. His ecological reading of Acts is a sophisticated complement to existing literary and historical exegetical treatments, that could not come at a more timely moment. * Harry Maier, Vancouver School of Theology, Canada *