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Tending to Eden: Environmental Stewardship for God's People Paperback – February 15, 2010

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Editorial Reviews

Review

After reading this very readable book with its powerful storytelling and its accessible survey of best practices in creation care, for the rest of your life you will see a bigger picture than you've ever seen before when it comes to matters of human poverty, health, prosperity, and security. --author, speaker, and pastor Brian McLaren

This is a highly personal approach to educating and inspiring today's evangelical church to think biblically, locally, and internationally about environmental stewardship. Using conversational narrative, Scott weaves together hard data and personal experience to highlight the issues and to present solutions. Easy to read and practical to implement, Tending to Eden offers a fresh vision of how Christians in this new century can love our neighbors, especially 'the least of these,' by caring for God's creation. --Rev. Jim Ball, PhD, senior director, Climate Campaign, Evangelical Environmental Network

In sharing his own journey, Scott Sabin shares important theological principles, shows how science can be applied effectively, and demonstrates how successful a comprehensive program like that of Plant With Purpose can be. This is must reading for anyone who wants to really make a difference in the world today. --Edward R. Brown, author of Our Father s World: Mobilizing the Church to Care for Creation and Director of Care of Creation Inc.

This is a highly personal approach to educating and inspiring today's evangelical church to think biblically, locally, and internationally about environmental stewardship. Using conversational narrative, Scott weaves together hard data and personal experience to highlight the issues and to present solutions. Easy to read and practical to implement, Tending to Eden offers a fresh vision of how Christians in this new century can love our neighbors, especially 'the least of these,' by caring for God's creation. --Rev. Jim Ball, PhD, senior director, Climate Campaign, Evangelical Environmental Network

In sharing his own journey, Scott Sabin shares important theological principles, shows how science can be applied effectively, and demonstrates how successful a comprehensive program like that of Plant With Purpose can be. This is must reading for anyone who wants to really make a difference in the world today. --Edward R. Brown, author of Our Father s World: Mobilizing the Church to Care for Creation and Director of Care of Creation Inc.

About the Author

Scott Sabin, MA, is executive director of Floresta, a nonprofit Christian environmental organization with operations in seven countries. Sabin has been published in various periodicals including The New York Times and San Diego Union-Tribune. He is currently a contributing editor to Creation Care magazine and a national speaker in the creation care movement.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 174 pages
  • Publisher: Judson Pr; Original edition (February 15, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0817015728
  • ISBN-13: 978-0817015725
  • Product Dimensions: 8.4 x 5.4 x 0.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #506,813 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Eric Kaiser on February 23, 2010
Format: Paperback
What is the best way to help the rural poor in the neediest parts of the Earth? Start with the earth itself. This book shows how poverty is rooted in broken relationships: people and the soil, people and institutions, people and their community, people and God. The people we meet in the book, the rural farmers and business owners are warm, witty, talented and frequently, desperate. Scott Sabin and his organization, Plant with Purpose, come alongside and walk the eroded hillsides with them. As the people are empowered to care for their land an amazing thing happens: as the land heals, it begins to produce enough for families to meet their needs in a sustainable way. As relationships are healed, communities become healthy and people's faith comes alive. The writing is warm and personal, very easy to read and engaging, technical without being intimidating.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Scott A. Williams on March 12, 2010
Format: Paperback
Interestingly Tending to Eden begins not with a lengthy proof for creation care, but with a call to justice. Scott walks the reader through part of his journey into Guatemala and how that helped him understand God's concern for the world. It was not his intention to work in an environmental area. In fact, he was uncomfortable with it at first. He wanted to help the poor, the hungry. However, through his own journey Scott helps the reader to understand how caring for God's creation is caring for the poor. He employs "upstream thinking" to address root causes rather than mere symptoms. He demonstrates this connection clearly using the example of deforestation.

Scott then spends some time talking about reversing the vicious cycle that often traps them in their circumstances and exchanging it for a virtuous cycle of reforestation and economic empowerment. In this he emphasizes the importance of helping the poor understand their own value. He notes, "but if we do for others what they can and should do for themselves, we rob them of their dignity and reinforce the lie that they have nothing to offer. We create dependency." He then brings the reader into a couple ways that Plant With Purpose and others are able to help while allowing the poor to utilize their gifts, namely through sustainable agriculture and helping businesses.

Scott then focuses on the importance of sharing the gospel in the process. He highlights the idea that without God there will not be transformation. Sharing the gospel is a key part of loving and caring for the poor.

He then steps back to take a more global perspective on all this. Here some of the key ecological issues (such as deforestation, biodiversity, and climate change) are discussed with exceptional clarity.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Joshua Hopping on June 22, 2010
Format: Paperback
Scott Sabin "messed up".

Yep. I think he should have titled his new book "Thinking UpStream: Fighting The Causes Of Poverty" instead of "Tending to Eden: Environmental Stewardship for God's People".

Why? Because Scott's book isn't just about being good stewards of God's creation - it is a book geared towards getting past the symptoms of rural poverty and focusing on the root causes. It is a fantastic book showing the holistic nature of poverty and all the factors attributing to it.

For example, farmers in Haiti can no longer grow crops on their land due to the land being depleted, which leads them to cutting down trees to make charcoal to sell in town. The removal of the trees weakens the soil, leading to erosion that further destroys the land which washes downstream to the ocean, where it becomes a `hazard to fisheries and coral reefs.'

Meanwhile, the deforestation of the area leads to a decrease in rainfall and changes in precipitation - not to mention the fact that if there are no trees, then the water in the ground cannot get filtered properly, leading to polluted drinking water. Polluted water in turn causes sickness and disease which places more pressure on the farmer to find some kind of income in order to buy food and medicine for his family. Putting us right back to the beginning of the cycle.

The crazy part is that these farmers know what they are doing. They know that by cutting down the trees they are causing long term problems. But they also have a proverb, "Either this tree must die, or I must die in its place" (Haitian proverb).
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Dan Panshin on March 8, 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
In Tending to Eden Scott Sabin presents a compelling primer covering the insights and experience he has acquired during his eighteen years at Plant With Purpose. Sabin tells us why "in many ways rural poverty is worse than urban poverty" and how--in a vicious cycle--deforestation and poverty are inextricably linked.

In response Sabin sets forth a comprehensive, long-term approach, starting with reforestation (leading to soil stabilization and cleaner water), proceeding through sustainable agriculture, community development, and micro-loans, all of which is centered around our right relationship with God. In this way the vicious cycle is transformed into a virtuous and victorious cycle. He points out that many well-intentioned gifts of the American church address only the symptoms of poverty and quickly fail. They illustrate the devastating effects of unintended consequences: "We bring used clothes that put local tailors out of business and give away free food that undercuts the local farmers."

Tending to Eden is an inspiring and important book, theologically based and also candid and eminently practical. Sabin writes with great clarity, passion, respect, and humility. All in all, the book puts forth the challenge to us of the Creole proverb, "God says to you: do your part, I'll do My part."
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