The theology of the desert fathers and ecotheology

So some early church fathers (the desert fathers) would use the wilderness as a place of retreat, where they would be free of human distractions and could focus on God. I was wondering if their theology could have relevance today, as an environmentalist ethic. Could we like them, see the wilderness not as a foe to be conquered, but as a place of peace, where God can be focused on?


Yes, this is also the place I go to escape materialism and get closer to God’s Spiritual World. Jesus took any chance He could to go out into the desert, away from other people so that He could speak with God’s angels. This is where He was taught about HIs mission and the soft voices could not be heard in the town and around others. He went to the desert for revelation, not the synagogue. I would suggest following His example.


The Desert Father’s seemed to remind me of an echo of Adam and Eve and their relationship with God in the Garden which was peaceful and meditative. I always find myself inspired by the Desert Fathers and monasticism altogether when it comes to prayer and spirituality.

Many contemporary Christian writers who focus on spiritual formation draw on the Desert Fathers and advocate silence and solitude in nature. Have you ever read Richard Foster, Dallas Willard, or Richard Rohr?

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The “Celebration of Discipline” is a good book - and even though it’s been many years since I read it, I do recall having very well-grounded benefit from it. One of the thrusts of his message was that these things don’t automatically bring you closer to God. What they do is help clear away rubbish so that we become more sensitive, receptive, and ready to listen when God does speak.

[I tried reading Dallas Willard, but with less success - and the fault for lack of connection at the time may have been entirely mine. And I’ve only recently come to appreciate Rohr, while also keeping in mind that many have written him off. I don’t know if that is because of his mystic-minded critique of late western culture, or just because he’s too liberal on some social issues (likely either or both I guess, as we need very little ground for dismissal these days.) In any case it is somewhat enlightening for me to hear you mention those three in the same sentence. …the contemporary “trinity of mysticism” are they? Sorry. I guess I shouldn’t use the word ‘trinity’. But imagine the ensuing blood bath if I had capitalized it!]

Ha! Yeah, you got to be careful.

“Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone.” -Colossians 4:6

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