Cooking Mac and Cheese in Solar Oven

In an essay about developing the virtue of earth-keeping, theologian Elizabeth A. Johnson proposes three responses we might make in a program of extending respect for life to all of creation. Today, the ascetic response:

In light of Earth as God’s beloved creation now being ravaged…there are whole new ways to engage in traditional ascetic practices such as fasting, retreats and almsgiving. We can fast from shopping, contribute money and time to ecological works, endure the inconvenience of running an ecologically sensitive household and conduct business with an eye to the green bottom line as well as the red or black. We do these things not to make ourselves suffer and not because we’re anti-body, but so that we can become alert to how enslaved we are by the marketplace and its effect on the planet. Our economy is structured to make us over-consume, with dire effects upon the earth. This is such a deep structural power that we are barely conscious of it—as if it were one of the principalities and powers ruling the world. An Earth-sensuous asceticism that is part of an Earth-affirming spirituality is one response that sets us on the path of Earth-keeping virtue. It enables us to live more simply, with greater reverence for the earth and its creatures, out of religious conviction.

—Elizabeth A. Johnson
“God’s Beloved Creation”
Food & Faith. Justice, Joy and Daily Bread
ed. Michael Schut