Love the World – Review
Love the World, by David Adam, 2018. SPCK, ISBN 978028107762, 213 pages. RRP £9.99 (paperback)
Love the World is not a book on ecology, nor a treatise on climate change in the conventional sense, but rather a collection of reflections, meditations, poems and prayers that encourage us to embrace a new reverence for the Creation. The author, David Adam, has previously published books on prayer and meditation in the Celtic tradition and this is evident in this book.
Adam begins the book with an Introduction in which he recollects early experiences of awe in his life and the influence of St Francis’s Canticles of the Creatures on his thinking. These, and his own guide for meditating on aspects of Creation, form many of the ideas in the book. The next section – ‘A New Era’ – reflects on the changes that have occurred in the past seventy years through more industrialised farming practices and their consequences for biodiversity, but also on a changed vision of our world through the Apollo space mission and on the progress in in science – the Big Bang and quantum theory – which has enabled a greater appreciation of the universe. The author believes that these new discoveries reveal the sacredness and connectivity of everything, and he cautions against dualism which prevents us from seeing that this world is also part of God’s kingdom.
The major part of the book is divided into sections composed of sub-sections that each comprise a short factual or reflective piece followed by a poem, an exercise and a prayer. ‘In the Beginning’ looks at the origins of the universe with themes such as No-thing (creation from nothing), Fiery furnace (Big Bang), Quantum mechanics (a fluidity at the heart of things that enables choice), the elements and the galaxy itself. ‘Atmosphere’ has sub-sections on air, clouds and wind, and it is here that the author mentions the harm we might do to the climate and invites us to reflect on this. Our effects on the climate are also emphasised in the section entitled ‘Water’, where we are reminded of the uniqueness of our planet in the solar system. ‘Earth’ takes us on an evolutionary journey, examining soil, trees, grasses and the evolving of creatures, culminating in humans and our own being. Adam then asks us to consider how we are endangering our future and that of all life, in that we now have the capacity to destroy everything. It is little wonder, therefore, that the author then proceeds to detail the human impact on our world, including population growth, intensive agriculture, insect decline and air pollution. However, he also points to areas of hope and change, and states that only through reverence for the world will we be able to continue to live in it.
In the conclusion of this book we are encouraged to open ourselves to receive the gifts of wonder and love through contemplation of the world around us, and to practise attentiveness. The author assists us in this by guiding us through a simple meditation that we can use in our daily lives. Finally, he reminds us that we are created out of love and for love, and the only demand is that we be open to this and share it.
This beautiful and lovingly written book would be suitable either for personal use and devotion or as a series of studies for small groups.
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correcting a small typo: ISBN 9780281077762