SYNOPSIS: THE BOOK IN A SNAPSHOT
Climate change, Christianity, and... sex. These are three topics not usually brought together or discussed to the same length. But drawing on the provocative oracles of ancient Hebrew prophets such as Jeremiah and John, this book shows the unexpected connections.
Instead of cramming the heavens into his head, A Climate of Desire is a journalistic essay written by a recovering engineer trying to put his head in the heavens. As such, the work moves back and forth between realism and imagination, practice and possibility, analysis and anecdote. At times, one encounters a logician writing, discussing climate stats and connecting the various dots; at other times, one meets a storyteller trying to remember the past as a way to understand our present moment. Some chapters are more research focused, others read more like a piece of creative writing.
However, rest assured, the author recognizes not being any ultimate specialist in the fields he touches upon. We come across, instead, a popularizer of sorts, doing his best to blend and translate, for all of us, the insights of different experts and practitioners. An emerging author, Sasso ventuers into such an task by drawing from seemingly disparate displiclines such as urban ecology, history of civilizations, and agrarian spirituality, even as he unearths the mostly forgotten ecological ramifications of the Hebrew and Christian scriptures.
Chapter by Chapter
In chapter 1, Sasso begins with an explicitly unscientific introduction to the two main tour guides of the book—two protagonists and three supporting characters that pop up here and there throughout its 182 pages. Both Jeremiah the prophet and John the apocalyptic writer serve as the "tour guides" that provide readers with the provocative sexual metaphors that will guide their imaginations all along. Following, chapter 2 gets more analytical, moving on to explore the relationship between faith and science, as well as some of the vital ecological signs of our living home, planet earth. Chapter 3 proceeds by unfolding some parallels between the ancient story of Babel and our contemporary story of globalization and consumerism, aiming to unveil some of the causes of climate change.
In response, the relationship between climate change and the often-ignored ecological vision of the biblical writers is sketched in chapter 4. There the author revisits the sense of cosmic sexuality—of what he believes could be called 'sacred intercourse'—as portrayed in the Apocalypse, the last book of the Bible. Then chapter 5 and chapter 6 outline some concrete responses to the climate challenge, as well as some historical reasons for hope. Such chapters draw inspiration from previous movements of social change spearheaded by faith communities—most notably the nineteenth-century abolitionist and twentieth-century civil rights movements. The book ends with chapter 7, making a call to stretch the horizons of our hopes while embracing a posture of humility and earthkeeping as we enter an increasingly agitated post-secular age.
Grounded in a recent testimonial, the book ends with an Annex, presenting the work and vision of Earthkeepers—a recent network of people of faith seeking to respond creatively to the challenge of climate change in the unceded Coast Salish territories, Vancouver, Canada. There Sasso lays out some of the grounds for what Earthkeepers discerned could be a promising response to the challenge of climate change, itself rooted in the tradition of public love central to some expressions of Christianity.
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