The best interfaith books for connecting religion and nature

Why am I passionate about this?

The Rev. Dr. Leah D. Schade is the Associate Professor of Preaching and Worship at Lexington Theological Seminary in Kentucky.  An ordained Lutheran minister since 2000, Leah has written five books, including three focusing on environment and faith. She has served as an anti-fracking and climate activist, community organizer, and advocate for environmental justice issues, She’s also the “EcoPreacher” blogger for Patheos.com. She has recently launched a partnership with the Interfaith Center for Sustainable Development to create a monthly resource called EcoPreacher 1-2-3 for busy pastors wanting to address environmental issues in their sermons.


I wrote...

Rooted and Rising: Voices of Courage in a Time of Climate Crisis

By Leah D. Schade, Margaret Bullitt-Jonas,

Book cover of Rooted and Rising: Voices of Courage in a Time of Climate Crisis

What is my book about?

Rooted and Rising is an edited volume intended for readers who are concerned about the climate crisis and who thirst for the wisdom and spiritual resources of fellow pilgrims grappling with despair. The book has 21 chapters by religious environmental activists from several different religious traditions, including Jewish, Christian, Muslim, Quaker, Indigenous, and post-Christian punk.  Writers represent intersectionalities of different genders, races, LGBTQIA, ethnicities, ages, and geographic locations.  Each of the seven sections has discussion questions as well as spiritual practices, making it ideal for book groups. If you’re looking for inspiration to renew your capacity for compassionate, purposeful, even joyful action for the climate, this is the book for you.  

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The books I picked & why

Book cover of Earth Prayers: 365 Prayers, Poems, and Invocations from Around the World

Leah D. Schade Why did I love this book?

When I’m looking for an Earth-centered devotional for a multi-faith or interfaith gathering, this is where I turn. There are eleven parts with headings such as “A Sacred Place,” “Healing the Whole,” and “Cycles of Life,” that contain readings from nearly every religion, including Indigenous spiritualities. You can also use this as a personal devotional by reading one entry each day for a whole year’s worth of centering on Creation.

By Elizabeth Roberts, Elias Amidon,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Earth Prayers as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

In forest clearings, beneath star-filled skies, in cathedrals, and before the hearth...women and men have always given voice to the impulse to celebrate the world that surrounds and sustains them. Now, as we face a diminished present and an uncertain future, the need to honour the interconnection between people and the planet is heightened. Here is a collection of poems, prayers and writing from bestselling authors, leaders in spiritual thought and traditional offerings from people around the world.


Book cover of Holy Ground: A Gathering of Voices on Caring for Creation

Leah D. Schade Why did I love this book?

I appreciate that a secular environmental organization such as Sierra Club recognized the importance of turning to religious voices to help frame the environmental crisis and how we can respond from a faith perspective. There are thirty-two essays from a wide range of religious leaders, thinkers, activists, and teachers, some well-known and some you’ll be delighted to discover. These aren’t academic essays, but personal reflections on the beauty of Creation and how our religious traditions equip us for protecting this planet. It’s small enough to fit into your backpack so that you can read, meditate, and contemplate on your hike!

By Lyndsay Moseley,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Holy Ground as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Religions worldwide celebrate creation’s gifts of beauty, abundance, and sustenance, and call on humankind to give thanks, practice compassion, seek justice, and be mindful of future generations. In Holy Ground, leaders from the world’s faith traditions, along with writers who hold the Earth sacred, share personal stories of coming to understand humankind’s unique power and responsibility to care for creation. In essays, sermons, and other short pieces written or gathered for this book, we hear from Pope Benedict XVI on the meeting of Heaven and Earth in the stable at Bethlehem, and from Wendell Berry on the Gospel of "abundant…


Book cover of Love God, Heal Earth: 21 Leading Religious Voices Speak Out on Our Sacred Duty to Protect the Environment

Leah D. Schade Why did I love this book?

Sally Bingham founded and served as president of Interfaith Power & Light, one of the most important interreligious organizations addressing climate and environmental crises. For this 2009 book, she invited twenty religious leaders from a myriad of traditions, including Buddhist, Evangelical Christian, Unitarian-Universalist, Muslim, and Judaism, to name a few. Though the book is more than a decade old, their reflections are timeless. And they give us a snapshot of what religious leaders were saying about ecology and faith at a time when environmental awareness was still struggling to gain traction.

By Sally G. Bingham,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Love God, Heal Earth as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Foremost religious leaders from diverse faith communities respond to the most controversial question of our time: Can we save the earth? The answer could hinge on the phenomenon of the fast-growing interfaith religious environmental movement. The author makes the case for environmental stewardship that cuts across old divisions of faith and politics. She presents 20 fellow religious leaders and eminent scholars (from rabbis to evangelicals to Catholics, Muslims and Buddhists) each contributing an original essay-chapter, with personal stories of awakening to the urgent need for environmental awareness and action. From all parts of the religious and political spectrum, they come…


Book cover of Earth's Echo

Leah D. Schade Why did I love this book?

This is a perfect book to take on a hike in the woods, a walk along the beach, or a stroll down a country lane. The author combines his own poetic reflections with those of sages from many different religious traditions across the millennia. There are six sections and a set of readings for each day of the week. This book would be ideal for church camp devotionals, a Lenten devotional, or for your summer reading to get you centered and attentive to God’s Creation.

By Robert M. Hamma,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Earth's Echo as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

"My profession is always to be alert, to find God in nature," Henry David Thoreau wrote. Or as the Buddha once said, "If you wish to know the divine, feel the wind on your face and the warm sun on your hand." Earth's Echo is a book for people who love nature and find spiritual meaning in it. Using brief excerpts from the work of nature writers as touchstones for meditation, the book leads the reader to reflect on the sacred reality of nature as found in different settings: the seashore, the river, the forest, the desert, and the mountain.…


Book cover of Earth Gospel: A Guide to Prayer for God's Creation

Leah D. Schade Why did I love this book?

This is an ideal book for a church camping retreat, youth group devotions, or an Earth Care team looking for ready-made readings and prayers to orient and ground their work. There are four weeks of devotions with readings for morning, midday, and evening each of the seven days. So there are actually 84 options to choose from! Each day includes hymns, scripture readings, reflections, and prayers. Though this is not an interfaith book per se, the author includes “Another Voice” reflections from a wide range of Christian ecumenical voices.

By Sam Hamilton-Poore, Jane Wageman (illustrator),

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Earth Gospel as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Do something for the environment - pray. The icecaps are melting. The air we breathe and water we drink are polluted. Forests are being cleared of oxygen-making trees and ecosystem-integral wildlife. Our daily lives impact our earth - mostly leaving negative footprints. The environmental challenges we face are real and almost out of control. We're free to enjoy the earth's bounty and beauty, but that privilege brings responsibility. How are Christians to respond as stewards of God's creation? Explore through prayer the interconnecting love that binds God, humankind and creation - forming a sacred trust. Hamilton-Poore found himself thinking about…


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I Am Taurus

By Stephen Palmer,

Book cover of I Am Taurus

Stephen Palmer

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Why am I passionate about this?

Author Philosopher Scholar Liberal Reader Musician

Stephen's 3 favorite reads in 2023

What is my book about?

The constellation we know as Taurus goes all the way back to cave paintings of aurochs at Lascaux. This book traces the story of the bull in the sky, a journey through the history of what has become known as the sacred bull.

Each of the sections is written from the perspective of the mythical Taurus, from the beginning at Lascaux to Mesopotamia, Ancient Egypt, and elsewhere. This is not just a history of the bull but also a view of ourselves through the eyes of the bull, illustrating our pre-literate use of myth, how the advent of writing and the urban revolution changed our view of ourselves, and how even bullfighting in Spain is a variation on the ancient sacrifice of the sacred bull.

I Am Taurus

By Stephen Palmer,

What is this book about?

The constellation we know as Taurus goes all the way back to cave paintings of aurochs at Lascaux. In I Am Taurus, author Stephen Palmer traces the story of the bull in the sky, starting from that point 19,000 years ago - a journey through the history of what has become known as the sacred bull. Each of the eleven sections is written from the perspective of the mythical Taurus, from the beginning at Lascaux to Mesopotamia, Ancient Egypt, Greece, Spain and elsewhere. This is not just a history of the bull but also an attempt to see ourselves through…


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