One day, Matthew Eaton was walking through an impromptu animal shelter display at his local pet store when suddenly an eight-month-old kitten dug his claws into Eaton's flesh. Eaton recognized that the ""eyes of this cat and the curve of his claw"" compelled a response analogous to those found in the writings of Buber, Levinas, and Derrida. And not just Eaton but a whole community of theologians have found themselves in an encounter with particular places and animals that demands rich theological reflection. Eaton enlisted fellow editors Harvie and Bechtel to collect the essays in this volume, in which theologians listen to horses, rats, snakes, cats, dogs, and the earth itself, who become new theological voices demanding a response. In this volume, the voice of the more-than-human world is heard as making theology possible. These essays suggest that what we say theologically represents not simply ideas of our own making subsequently superimposed onto the natural world through our own discovery, but rather flow from an expressive Earth.
""It is often said in hyperbolic praise of a book that it is 'a revelation.' Encountering Earth is in the most literal way a collection of revelations. At once deeply personal, rigorous, and erudite, there is no other collection like it. Rarely has a scholarly volume elicited such depth of affective response in me, not only provoking questions but evoking tears and laughter and, in their wake, hope.""
--Aaron Gross, Theology and Religious Studies Department, University of San Diego
""The original essays in this outstanding and wide-ranging book deserve a broad and global readership. When we encounter nonhuman animals--aka animals--and are open to the messages they clearly send to us about who they are and what they want from us, the more-than-human world opens widely and we are obliged to help them in all ways possible. Other animals help us to re-wild our hearts and remove us from a narrow and damaging anthropocentric view of the diverse community of beings with whom we are blessed to share our fascinating and magnificent planet.""
--Marc Bekoff, Author of Rewilding Our Hearts
""Our meetings with non-human creatures are both key motivations for academic work about them, and illuminative sites of reflection. The non-human creatures that we encounter in the pages of this volume lead the authors to vivid, engaging, and original insights, which together make an important new contribution to the field.""
--David Clough, Professor of Theological Ethics, University of Chester
Trevor Bechtel is Creative Director of the Anabaptist Bestiary Project. Matthew Eaton is Postdoctoral Teaching Fellow at Fordham University in New York. Timothy Harvie is Associate Professor of Philosophy and Ethics at St. Mary's University in Calgary, Canada.