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Gardening Eden: How Creation Care Will Change Your Faith, Your Life, and Our World Paperback – Mar 17 2009

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 272 pages
  • Publisher: WaterBrook Press (March 17 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0307444996
  • ISBN-13: 978-0307444998
  • Product Dimensions: 15.2 x 1.8 x 22.7 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 340 g
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #794,219 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description


“Firmly one of the most socially relevant topics today, environmentalism elicits a variety of intense reactions. Michael Abbate’s book lifts creation care above the typical debate and gets back to its appropriate starting point — on our knees, in awe of the Creator. His passion for God and affection for creation is evident throughout, while weaving together science, Scripture, and personal experiences, with probing and comfort-squashing questions. As he advocates for worship, he also provides numerous practical, and even easy, tips for caring for creation that has me thinking far beyond energy efficient light bulbs and my stellar compost pile.”
–Tim Osborn, Lead Pastor, Mosaic Church, Portland, Oregon,

"For Christians wondering why we should care for God's creation and how to get started, Mike Abbate's book, Gardening Eden, is a great introduction, with answers from the Bible, terrific stories, and practical tips on how you can make a difference."– Rev. Jim Ball, Ph.D., President and CEO, Evangelical Environmental Network

“This is a book Christians should read! Though our primary task is to carry out the Great Commission while on this earth, we must not neglect the place God created for us to live.”
–Dr. Gene A. Getz, President, Center for Church Renewal, Host, Renewal Radio, Dallas, TX

“Evangelicals will be well informed and morally challenged to tend the garden without being throttled. And, progressives will be thrilled to hear the Christian call to care for the earth. Where was this two decades prior? I give my evangelical and progressive, two green thumbs up!”
–Rev. Leroy Hedman, Georgetown Gospel Chapel, Seattle

“Michael Abbate’s book, Gardening Eden, offers a sound, compelling and practical approach to ‘Creation Care.’ As people seeking to become better ‘gardeners’ ourselves, we appreciated Michael’s style and approach and wholeheartedly recommend this book!”
–-Mike & Danae Yankoski, authors of Under the Overpass

About the Author

A nationally recognized expert in green development strategies, Michael Abbaté is a founder of GreenWorks, an award-winning landscape architecture design firm. He frequently speaks to students and leaders about practical ways to minimize the impact of building and landscape design on natural resources. His works have been featured in national magazines, newspapers, and trade publications. He and his wife, Vicki, have two adult daughters and live near Portland, Oregon.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 12 reviews
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
Reasoned & thoughtful response for Christians on global warming April 21 2009
By Christina Lockstein - Published on
Format: Paperback
Gardening Eden by Michael Abbate is a thoughtful response to global warming and Christianity. Global warming has been a hot topic on the news for the last several years, and the Church's response has varied from disdainful denial to eager embrace of the news. Abbate takes the stance that whether you believe that the world is suffering from major climate change or not, God gave dominion of the earth to mankind during Creation, and that requires us to be good stewards of the earth's resources. He gives weight to the various arguments against environmentalism, and takes a common sense approach to how Christians should act. The world is a beautiful creation on which every single thing belongs to God, and it's our responsibility to take good care of it, and that means making changes in our everyday lives. Abbate includes big and small ways to be more green, including some easy changes. I try to bring reusable bags every time I go grocery shopping, and I've become a lot more careful about how much driving I do in my gas-guzzling van. Abbate offers solutions even for those who may not have a lot of cash to start buying organic food or completely remodel their home. I appreciated Abbate's reasoned response to the issues. Without taking sides in the political debate or making the reader feel guilty, he encourages responsible living as a requirement of faith.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Very Good, Not "Inspirational"! Oct. 11 2009
By Curtis W. Warmington - Published on
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I purchased this book last March, prior to its actual publication date. I was looking for a book to teach a Sunday school class with my wife on Christian environmentalism. I also wanted to start a garden at our church in a grassy area off of a parking lot, and this seemed like the perfect fit. It was a good fit, and I must admit that I enjoyed the book, and, although I consider myself fairly well informed on Christian environmentalism, I did learn a few things.

I especially appreciated Abbate's landscape architectural background, and it was nice to read a book by someone from the Pacific Northwest. However, I was a bit disappointed that these two aspects of his background weren't foregrounded a bit more effectively. I would have enjoyed some more detail on the beauty of the Pacific Northwest, and I would have enjoyed more examples of how his profession shaped his love of the natural world.

When I read Annie Dillard, John Muir, or Henry Thoreau, I am awestruck by the passion and sense of place such environmental writers can evoke. Abbate has written a much more general and practical book than Dillard or Thoreau. That's fine, and I do appreciate the practical elements here. Still, I would have liked more descriptive detail and passion in the prose. The high point of the book for me emotionally was an encounter with a pangolin in the Central African Republic. Unfortunately, there were no other points that neared this emotional peak.

The book starts with an engaging interplay between Abbate and a biology instructor who had invited him to speak at her college. The edgy interplay between them on the issue of Abbate's Christian foundations intrigued me at first, but in the end left me a bit disappointed. I liked this way of starting the book, but I must admit that I wish Abbate had gone much further here. It wasn't quite edgy enough, and it didn't delve deeply enough into the uncomfortable ground between science and Christianity. I also wish that he had struggled a bit more with the entire "garden" and "good steward" metaphors/paradigms than he does later in the book.

And perhaps the most disappointing aspect of the book was that the Christian passion wasn't evident either. I am sure that he felt this passion, but it didn't manifest itself in his writing. When I read E. O. Wilson's "Creation," I definitely felt Wilson's passion for the environment and for the study of biology. Abbate didn't do the same thing for Christian environmentalism.

In the end, this is a very measured book, written to bridge chasms between environmentalists and Christians, and in this Abbate is primarily successful. While he doesn't step on the political/religious landmines littered about this topic, he also doesn't inspire his readers' to follow him as strongly as he might. Abbate does, at times, seem to be too aware of the issues here, and is a bit too tentative as a result. I can understand his anxiety; certainly the country's current partisan extremism is frightening at times. However, while he succeeds in answering thorny questions and reconciling conflicts, he doesn't inspire us to see God in nature the way that I would have liked. And I must admit that I felt the same kind of lukewarm disappointment in the recommendations for actions near the end of the book that I did at the end of Gore's "Inconvenient Truth."

This is a good book for those who feel some real emotional conflicts about combining Christianity with environmentalism. However, it isn't a really good book for those of us who have already reconciled many of these conflicts. For me, the book doesn't take the reader far enough into the wilderness and not nearly close enough to God. We are left somewhere closer to a lovely Saturday afternoon in nice city park, remembering that there is church on Sunday. Still, enjoying a city park can be a good way to ease closer to wilderness, and it can be like taking a step closer to God, I suppose.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Garden ( Sept. 11 2009
By Justin Farley - Published on
Format: Paperback
I would highly recommend Michael Abbate's Gardening Eden: How Creation Care Will Change Your Faith, Your Life, and Our World. [...].

David once sang God's praises by proclaiming, "When I consider your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars, which you have set in place, what is man that you are mindful of him, the son of man that you care for him? You made him a little lower than the heavenly beings and crowned him with glory and honor. You made him ruler over the works of your hands; you put everything under his feet: all flocks and herds, and the beasts of the field, the birds of the air, and the fish of the sea, all that swim the paths of the seas. O LORD, our Lord, how majestic is your name in all the earth! (Psalm 8:3-9, NIV).
The author wrote, "We strive to be liberal in love, conservative with resources" (Abbate, 217). The environment should not be a political issue - but one of worship to our God. We have been entrusted with his creation - we have been given dominion (not domination). This world is not about me, it is not about more, and it is not about now. I appreciate the author's biblical instruction and practical ideas. He does not approach the subject as an environmentalist (who often focus too much attention on the art and can resort to blaming others) but instead as a conservationist (who focuses on the Artist and thus takes responsibility personally). My hope is that the church would join in celebrating Earth Day - not in honor of the dirt that we walk on but instead by using this day to remind others of our Creator and his gift to us.
Official Description: Before the snake, the apple, and the Ten Commandments, God created a garden, placed humans in it, and told them to take care of it. "Spiritual environmentalism" did not start out as an oxymoron--it was an invitation. Yet today, many believe God's original job description for humankind has been replaced by other worthier pursuits. So when did this simple instruction become so controversial? How does one sort through all the mixed messages? Is making the world a healthier place for the next generation really a responsibility--or even possible? Gardening Eden is a new understanding of how the spiritual dimensions of life can find expression and renewal through caring for our incredible planet. Empowering, simple, and never polemical, Michael Abbaté outlines the Bible's clear spiritual benefits of caring for creation, exploring new motivations and inspired ideas, and revealing the power of our basic connection to all people and living things through the growing interest in spiritual environmentalism. Green living is no longer a fad--simple lifestyle solutions are now available to everyone. Gardening Eden shows readers how this shift transforms not only our world, but their very souls as they're drawn into deeper harmony with the Creator. This book invites them to discover the powerful spiritual satisfaction of heeding the call to save our world.

Official Biography: A nationally recognized expert in "green" development strategies, Mike Abbaté is a founder of GreenWorks, an award-winning landscape architecture design firm. He frequently speaks to students and leaders about practical ways to minimize the impact of building and landscape design on natural resources. Abbaté's work has been featured in national magazines such as Metropolis and Landscape Architecture and in many local newspapers and trade publications. He and his wife, Vicki, have two adult daughters and live near Portland, Oregon.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Spiritual Perspective on Being Environmentally Friendly April 24 2009
By Janis Rodgers - Published on
Format: Paperback
I have always thought that it was our responsibility as stewards of the Earth to take care of the environment and this book shows me that it has spiritual ramifications as well. Michael's writing was easy to understand and appreciate to allow you to see how God sees us and the world that He created for us.
2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
Environmentalism for the Political Conservative and Religious Right April 14 2009
By Connie Y. Mishali - Published on
Format: Paperback
Although environmentalists want to conserve the environment, political conservatives generally don't. That is the problem Michael Abbate tackles in his book, Gardening Eden, How Creation Care Will Change Your Faith, Your Life and Our World. Abbate speaks to the political conservative, to the Christian, to the conservative Christian, with the argument that God intends and desires us to be good stewards of all He has given us, including the earth. As such, believers should be motivated to care for the environment. He discusses why we should care about environmental issues from a spiritual and practical standpoint, refutes "Christian" arguments against environmentalism and gives 50 practical suggestions on life choices that will make a difference.

Because Gardening Eden is targeted toward the environmental "skeptic", I feel some of the positions he takes are weak. I feel like he's giving more credence than is due to the "unbelievers" that our environment is in grave trouble. I don't think Abbate actually believes the anti-eco arguments, but he softens his approach by arguing why, even if those arguments have some merit, one should still take care of the environment. However, I guess I can swallow his pandering to the skeptics if he's able to convince them they need to take care of Planet Earth in spite of their reservations. The ends justify the means if, in the end, more people who didn't care about environmental issues do after reading this book.

One of my favorite comments to come out of the book was this:

As Reverend Richard Cizik told Bill Moyers in the 2006 documentary, "Is God Green?": "I happen to think that to be biblically consistent means you have to, at times, be politically inconsistent."

Climate change, species extinction, pollution, destruction of our natural resources, etc., are NOT political statements; they are scientific facts. I thank Michael Abbate (and Reverend Cizik) for saying so!

Another favorite comment from the book was Abbate's quote of a bumper sticker:

God's original plan was to hang out in a garden with some naked vegetarians.

I have no doubt Michael Abbate cares about the environment and desperately wants to see the Christian community ban together to advance to cause of eco-stewardship as a group and as individuals. The religious right cares about unborn babies and has made a lot of political hay out of that issue. But in my opinion, if they don't care for the environment, ALL babies -- and adults -- aren't going to survive very long without a world in which to live! Since conservatives are his target audience, he can't very well sound like me, an unabashedly rabid environmentalist! For what it's worth, as a believer I agree wholeheartedly that God didn't intend for us to destroy His creation and is heartsick when He sees what we have done:

"Because of this the land mourns and all who live in it waste away; the beasts of the field and the birds of the air and the fish of the sea are dying." Hosea 4:3

Overall, I would recommend Gardening Eden, especially for the political and religious conservative in your life.