The increasing awareness of environmental issues as ultimately moral issues has led to the intersection of religion and environment. Sacramental Commons presents a unique way of looking at this topic by relating the Christian word 'sacrament' (signs of divine presence) to the term 'commons' (shared place and shared goods, among people and between people and the natural world), suggesting that local natural settings and local communities can be a source for respect and compassion. Sacramental Commons uses Earth-oriented biblical teachings, and ideas from such thinkers as Hildegard, St. Francis, John Muir, and Black Elk, to provide insights about divine immanence in creation, human commitments to creation, and human accountability to the Spirit, Earth, and biotic community. It extends the concept of 'natural rights' beyond humans to include all nature, and affirms intrinsic value in ecosystems in whole and in part. Sacramental Commons declares that the Earth commons and its goods should be shared equitably by human communities and individuals living in interdependent relationships with other members of the community of life. It suggests essential values that will stimulate care for the commons, and embodies them in principles of an innovative Christian Ecological Ethics.
Sacramental Commons is itself a sacramental occasion. Through John Hart's religiously and morally sensitive reflections, we can discern the natural signs of the Spirit's creative love and, consequently, our responsibilities to sustain the integrity of Earth's sacred habitats and inhabitants. The keynote in Hart's moral vision is a central demand of the Age: the integration of the social and ecological common goods. -- James A. Nash, author of Loving Nature Sacramental Commons reminds people that Indigenous Peoples' struggles for sovereignty and human rights continue today. John Hart honors the life and teachings of Phillip Deere and David Sohappy, spiritual leaders and healers who promoted justice for Indigenous Peoples and respect for Mother Earth. In their spirit, all people should walk with the Creator and care for our sacred Mother Earth. Mitakuye Oyasin . We are all related. -- William Means, International Indian Treaty Council John Hart has taken a leadership role in bringing Western religious traditions to support a more integral human-Earth presence to each other. In Sacramental Commons , John Hart provides a substantial contribution to the Great Work. -- From the Afterword by Thomas Berry, author of The Dream of the Earth and The Great Work The importance of John Hart's contribution is that he recovers natural sacraments and joins them to social sacraments. Discussing a sacramental vision of the world as John Hart does helps to create a new spirituality, that is, a new experience of the Spirit acting within everything. At the same time, he offers a valuable contribution for a culture to appreciate the sacrality of creation and learn to respect it and care for it as it is in itself and as it is in communion with us. -- From the Foreword by Leonardo Boff, author of Ecology and Liberation and Cry of the Earth, Cry of the Poor Sacramental Commons is a comprehensive vision of Earth as a natural sacrament. Hart produces an ecological systematic theology, or, better, an ecosystemic theology integrated into a sacramental social ecology. It is unexcelled as a genuinely Catholic and catholic (universal) vision of who we are, where we are, and what we ought to do. -- Holmes Rolston, III, author of Environmental Ethics and Conserving Natural Value Sacramental Commons is thoughtful, perceptive and insightful. -- Elie Wiesel, Andrew W. Mellon, Professor in the Humanities, Boston University John Hart is a leading theologian in the field of ecological ethics. Sacramental Commons is an indispensable contribution for deepening the Christian commitment to the flourishing of the Earth community. We are all in his debt. -- Mary Evelyn Tucker, Yale University It comes highly recommended...Hart's apprach is...a fresh update...Hart gives his readers an encounter with process thought unencumbered with obtuse jargon...Hart is to be thanked for providing new, useful, beautifully written exposition of process thought and the ethical outlook that flows from it, blessedly unencumbered by the jargon that is sometimes found among the process thinkers. Hart has written an accessible book for the general reader laying out a framework for understanding our place in the cosmos in harmony with science and a new articulation of a Christian ethical system capable of addressing our accelerating planetary crisis. In a world where one in three human are Christian, such a book is a welcome addition to ongoing ethical reflections. Environmental Ethics, Summer 2008 John Hart has written an invaluable contribution to the field of religion and environmental ethics...A work worthy of careful, reflective, and embodied attention. Journal of Agricultural and Environmental Ethics, October 2008 Sacramental Commons is a creative new call for all faith traditions to forge a common practice of reverence and care for the earth and its inhabitants. Grounded in a Catholic Christian sense of creation's sacramental disclosure of the sacred, it sings with an ecumenical spirituality of amazement, celebration, and transcendence. Hart does not minimize the conflict and suffering that often arise from competition in the natural world. Yet he shows the way to an engaged and participatory politics of reconciliation and change, favoring the just coexistence of all earth creatures. This book ranges widely in theology and ethics and would be suitable for a university or seminary theology or ethics course, as well as for general readers who seek to link faith traditions with the ecological challenges of globalization. -- Lisa Sowle Cahill, J. Donald Monan Professor of Theology, Boston College Sacramental Commons is an important and inspirational contribution to what Thomas Berry has called the Great Work. Working from deep Christian theology and philosophy, it explains the spiritual content not only of our own lives but also of the material world into which we were born, and to which we owe stewardship. This is an important work. -- E. O. Wilson, Professor Emeritus, Harvard University; Pulitzer Prize-winning author of Biophilia; The Ants; Consilience;