Cuttino introduces a new, ecologically conscious Christianity in this theological work.
Both the planet and Christianity are in a precarious state in the 21st century, according to the author: nature is in flux due to human-generated climate change and unsustainable resource-gathering practices, and he says that fundamentalist American Christians are, by and large, failing to address them. In the face of scientific and economic progressivism, many Christian churches, he says, have fallen into reactionary stances that defy logic and the teachings of their religion. Cuttino laments the rise of this conservative, human-centered Christianity and calls for a return to what he believes is an older one: a comprehensive “ecotheology,” centered on the primacy of the system (societal and ecological) over the primacy of the individual. The brief volume offers comprehensive coverage of Cuttino’s targets, from problematic trends in contemporary Christianity, to the limits of capitalism (“Capitalism is not an unqualified Good”), to the parameters of good and evil (“Is America good?”), including textual support from the Bible. He also provides a basic outline for implementing ecotheology in the real world, and its implications for institutions as varied as higher education, the media, and charities. Cuttino’s points are well-argued, although readers’ faith will likely determine how compelling they find them. The author seems to have aimed this book mainly at a nonbelieving readership, so it’s not nearly as devout as one might expect—it gives ecology much greater weight than theology. This could perhaps limit its effect: Christian readers may not see enough of Christ in its pages, while secular readers will likely already agree with many of Cuttino’s assertions, but have no interest in his religious beliefs. The author is at his most convincing when he’s unmasking the inherent failures of our institutions. However, readers may be less engrossed when he begins to offer his own alternatives. Even so, his points are solid, his concern is real, and the world he imagines sounds, in many ways, preferable to our current one.
A spirited argument that challenges what the author sees as the hypocrisies of contemporary American Christian faith.