The tributes are starting to come in for Thomas Berry, Catholic ecotheologian (or “geologian,” as he sometimes referred to himself), scholar, and spiritual/deep ecological visionary, who passed away at age 94 yesterday. Berry is best known for books including The Dream of the Earth, The Universe Story (with physicist Brian Swimme), and The Great Work, in which he articulated the idea that the universe is not a collection of objects but a communion of subjects. Berry wrote:
“If the dynamics of the Universe from the beginning shaped the course of the heavens, lighted the sun, and formed the Earth, if this same dynamism brought forth the continents and the seas and atmosphere, if it awakened life in the primordial cell and then brought into being the unnumbered variety of living beings, and finally brought us into being and guided us safely through the turbulent centuries, there is reason to believe that this same guiding process is precisely what has awakened in us our present understanding of ourselves and our relation to this stupendous process. Sensitized to such guidance from the very structure and functioning of the Universe, we can have confidence in the future that awaits the human venture.”
A few of the more interesting tributes are from the National Catholic Reporter and Drew Dellinger, whose tribute to Thomas is shared on Gus DiZerega’s blog. But I’m sure there will be much more about him in the coming days.
Berry’s vision is completely in synch with the views I’ve described on this blog under the terms “immanentism,” “immanent naturalism,” et al. His passion and writing will continue to nourish many.