Oxford University Press, 2016
In the early twentieth century, many Americans were troubled by the way agriculture was becoming increasingly industrial and corporate. Mainline Protestant churches and cooperative organizations began to come together to promote agrarianism: the belief that the health of the nation depended on small rural communities and family farms. In Baptized with the Soil Kevin M. Lowe offers for the first time a comprehensive history of the Protestant commitment to rural America.
Christian agrarians believed that farming was the most moral way of life and a means for people to serve God by taking care of the earth that they believed God created. When the Great Depression hit, Christian agrarians worked harder to keep small farmers on the land. They formed alliances with state universities, cooperative extension services, and each other's denominations. They experimented with ways of revitalizing rural church life-including new worship services like Rural Life Sunday, and new strategies for raising financial support like the Lord's Acre. Because they believed that the earth was holy, Christian agrarians also became leaders in promoting soil conservation. Decades before the environmental movement, they inspired in their congregations an ethic of environmental stewardship. They may not have been able to prevent industrial agribusiness, but their ideas have helped define significant and long-lasting currents in American culture.
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"No Child Left Inside on the Holy Earth: Liberty Hyde Bailey and the spirituality of nature study" - OUP Blog, October 2, 2015
"Soil and Soul: Our Protestant Agrarian Past" - Christian Century 132:19 (Sep 16, 2015)
"Ignoring the Pope on Climate Change is Not Like Using Contraception" - Religion Dispatches, June 18, 2015
"Protesting the Pope’s (Not Yet Released) Environmental Encyclical? Check Your Doctrine" - Religion Dispatches, June 8, 2015