Theologian Thursday: Wendell Berry

With the release of comments by Wendell Berry in support of gay marriage last week, I've been revisiting some of his work and thought and, man, is it inspiring! So I thought I'd spotlight him for Theologian Thursday today.

Wendell Berry isn't really a theologian. He is more precisely a writer, a poet, and a farmer. But his activism and language  (surely influenced by his friend, Thomas Merton) has a mystic, spiritual resonance that makes you believe that he sees something in the world--God, I guess--that most people miss.

I'll be first to admit that I don't really get "spirituality." I love ritual and myth, but most of my religious understanding is academic. That's just how my brain works. But Wendell Berry makes me wish I was a mystic.

Berry is a sixth-generation farmer and a highly-educated academic. He farms a 125-acre piece of land in Kentucky, and he has taught writing at Stanford and  NYU.

He has engaged in several nonviolent protests against the industrialization of farming and food, the death penalty, and war.

He teaches that love, life, and nature are sacred, and believes that a simple and humble life, shaped by community and honest work is the truest form of living.

Seriously, read his stuff. I challenge you to not be completely blown away.

What you should read:

(To read more about my rating system, click HERE.)
Gender Equality: 
Wendell Berry is certainly an egalitarian, but as far as I know isn't explicitly passionate about women's issues.
Environmental Sensibility: 

Creation is clearly Berry's number one priority. His work and life revolve around a natural agrarian mindset and a focus on both the redemptive qualities of nature and its need for redemption in light of humanity's treatment of it.
Heretical Tendencies: 
I don't think Berry's theology is very suspect to heresy, although I'm sure plenty of people give some side-eye to mysticism as a whole (which is a shame) and he's probably been accused of nature worship or pantheism or something.

General Badassery: 
By now I think I've made it clear that I think Wendell Berry is frickin awesome. The farmer/academic/activist combo is so spot on. I think what's so badass about it is that he has these educated, informed beliefs, he advocates for them (to the government, etc.), but he also actually lives them day to day in real life.

It was so hard for me to pick one quote from this exceedingly quotable man, but here you go:
“Better than any argument is to rise at dawn and pick dew-wet red berries in a cup.”