DEVOTIONALS AND OTHER daily readings can set and solidify intentions in a new year, enrich liturgical seasons, or serve as a spiritual touchpoint during hectic days. Two new books set out to root such soul work in a deepened relationship with creation. Christian theologian and scholar Randy Woodley is a Cherokee descendant recognized by the Keetoowah Band. He and his wife, Edith, an Eastern Shoshone tribal member, develop and teach sustainable Earth care based on traditional Indigenous practices in North America. Along with skill-sharing, they “hope to help others love the land on which they live.” In Becoming Rooted: One Hundred Days of Reconnecting with Sacred Earth, Woodley notes that even those of us who are not Indigenous have ancestors who likely lived somewhere for generations in community with the soil, water, plants, and animals around them.
Woodley has written 100 short daily meditations, each with a suggestion for reflection or action, to encourage all of us to “recover or discover” these values of living in harmony and balance with creation. He draws on Indigenous thought and practice, past pastoral experience, lessons from the natural world, and insightful critiques of the so-called American Dream. Through beautiful descriptions, such as how American violet seeds are dispersed by slugs and ants—“Then in the spring, another field adorns itself with food, medicine, and beauty”—and more somber reflections on the physical and spiritual toll of destructive systems, Woodley models a humble, prophetic invitation: “To accept our place as simple human beings—beings who share a world with every seen and unseen creature in this vast community of creation—is to embrace our deepest spirituality.”