Many of you have heard me speak of all that I have learned from Jim Corbett, who was a mentor to me and to so many others. Most of what I understand about how "the Church must be Church" has been a gift from Jim. His last book is finally published, due mostly to the tireless commitment of Jim's friend and mine, Daniel Baker.
Jim's book is not easy, and the better one understands his thinking the more difficult the book's message becomes. I especially recommend this book to those who love the land, and who are committed to protecting God's creation.
What follows is an email promo, and it includes information about how to buy the book.
Please, buy it. Read it over and over again, slowly and with care. (I'm on my fourth reading in the last six months.) Write with your own ideas about it. Let me know what you think.
The posthumous publication of Sanctuary for All Life: The Cowbalah of Jim Corbett is now available in a beautiful edition from the always provocative and visionary Howling Dog Press.
Jim Corbett is renowned as the co-founder of the sanctuary movement and author of Goatwalking. Here in this book from the last decade of his life, completed on his deathbed, Corbett expands upon his work in human rights into what he terms "earth rights."
Speaking from his experience as a "cowman" and "practical mystic" in the wildlands of the desert Southwest, he ranges widely across a philosophical and religious landscape. As both a deep thinker and uncompromising activist, the profundity of his thought and life become evident in this prophetic vision of a "Peaceable Kingdom".
This 328 page book is a homegrown labor of love. It begins with a foreword by Jim's compadre in the sanctuary movement, Fr. Ricardo Elford, and a preface by the renowned Quaker peace poet, David Ray. Daniel Baker, who worked with Corbett during the final decade of his life, provides a richly textured introduction to the work. Corbett's Letelier-Moffit address affords a reflective transition between the sanctuary movement and his earth rights work. The main text, which Corbett playfully called "Cowbalah", is followed by his extensive obituary in The New York Times. The cover art is painted by Jim's cousin, Virginia Moyer, an award winning water colorist, who integrates a portrait of Corbett sitting on his bull with a cosmic-like tree of life.
¨ Jim Corbett was one of the few completely original, prophetic thinkers I have had the honor to know personally… Sanctuary for All Life is the most cohesive vision of Jim's domain of care-giving, and the one which feels most like those conversations out in the desert heat among kindred souls long ago. - Gary Nabhan, author of Coming Home to Eat and Cultures of Habitat
¨ Sanctuary for All Life may well be one of the most pragmatic and profound stories of human-earth healing to emanate from the American landscape in the past two decades. - Stephen B. Scharper and Hilary Cunningham, University of Toronto, co-authors of The Green Bible
¨ In this brilliant book of high wisdom, Jim has shown us the way to redeem the land and restore our soul as a covenant people. -- John Fife, Co-founder with Jim Corbett of the sanctuary movement, retired pastor of Southside Presbyterian Church
¨ Sanctuary for All Life is an extraordinary work, a Walden for today’s West. - Nathan F. Sayre, University of California-Berkeley, author of The New Ranch Handbook
¨ As a child of the Civil Rights movement, I had almost given up on a concrete manifestation of the “beloved community” until I read Jim Corbett’s new book. Sanctuary of All Life is an accessible and passionate call for the spiritual and moral reclamation of an interspecies community that is “beloved” in the best sense of the word. - Barbara A. Holmes, V.P. of Academic Affairs/Dean, Professor of Ethics and African American Studies, Memphis Theological Seminary
¨ Jim Corbett's life and work will inspire anyone who tilts towards the knight errantry of compassion, healing and peace between land and people in the new century. Sanctuary for All Life provides a prophetic vision for those of us engaged in the particular errantry of the 'radical center'. - Courtney White, Co-Founder of "The Quivira Coalition"
¨ Its uniqueness in crossing the usual boundaries of ecology, spirituality, Bible, rabbinic exegesis, and "theology/anti-theology" will probably not make it easy….. But it is worth the try because of the remarkable range and depth of wisdom displayed throughout." - Norman Gottwald, Professor Emeritus of Biblical Studies, New York Theological Seminary
Proceeds from the sale of this book go to Jim Corbett's widow, Pat, and the Cascabel Hermitage Association, a non-profit which he helped found. A few hardback copies of Goatwalking are also available.
Contact Daniel Baker, 6146 N. Canyon Rd., Benson, AZ 85602, (520) 212-2473, firstname.lastname@example.org. Cost is $24.95; $2.50 for shipping. Make checks payable to CHA.
~ EXCERPTS from SANCTUARY FOR ALL LIFE ~
¨ Tradition has it that Torah reveals Herself in no-man’s land in order to be accessible to all the peoples. …One needn’t know why torah comes out of wildlands in order to go out to look and listen. However, to hear and do torah as wildland stewardship, which is where and how the reign of the Peaceable Kingdom can begin to take root in a human homeland, civilized humanity does need to become desegregated; mutual bonding into the wildland community must naturalize our presence.
¨ Cease to eat anything defiled by violence; make your table the high altar of your daily religion; serve nothing that is produced by harming the land and its life or by any kind of cruelty; then the rest follows.
¨ ...high wisdom is rooted in wildland stillness. One must cease searching for human guidance and listen to the earth. If ungrounded in eremitic wisdom, even altruistic love disorients, guiding its practitioner toward an ethic of self-sacrifice that denatures cocreativity. If ungrounded in wisdom and lovingkindness, a nature-centered ethic also disorients, degenerating into adversarial politics. And politics, if ungrounded in wisdom, lovingkindness, and a Nature-affirming morality, degenerates into a violent struggle to take directive control.
¨ I avoid eating anyone I haven’t known and cherished.
¨ If our bedrock reality is all-inclusive communion, then God is Nature, but not the object nature invented to relegate the sacred to an imagined realm out beyond the sky. If communion is reality’s bedrock, then God is also Love, but not just the nurturing love of a mother. Natural communion includes the devouring love of the wolf.
¨ I don’t intend to argue here against personal, political, or cultural efforts to reduce the violence, but I do want to emphasize that active allegiance to the Peaceable Kingdom begins with land redemption that lays the foundation for a covenant community’s practice of true justice. In exile where we belong to no wildland community, we remain inextricably entangled in technocratic civilization’s global war of conquest, which means we can only choose to reduce the damage. No amount of resistance to our warmaking way of living will institute and cultivate a way to live peacefully, in community with untamed life. The fundamental obligation of the community that gives its allegiance to the Peaceable Kingdom is to redeem a home in the land where it can walk the covenanted way.
¨ The task at hand is not to abandon or deconstruct civil society but to establish our civilization on a foundation of justice.
¨ Whatever our addictions and enslavements, there’s still hope for humanity, not because we’re likely to become self-sacrificing saints but because our greatest joy and fullest liberty comes from cocreativity. As active communion, power redeems.
¨ Prophetic revelation always moves toward redemptive transformation, not an idealistic expurgation or a dualistic extermination of evil.
¨ The ability to live by fitting into Nature rather than a human hierarchy is still the foundation of freedom, because freedom is personal cocreativity that is born of harmonious wholeness.
¨ For me, personally, allegiance to the Peaceable Kingdom is guided by torah that is written on the heart and is enacted as cocreative communion that includes everyone, regardless of religion or even species.
¨ …one’s life is the offering (which inner wisdom knows as the real meaning of prayer).
¨ [T]he restoration of the earth as a human homeland, not the mystic’s escape to heavenly bliss… requires that humanity learn to see 'that of God' in every other.
¨ …Instead of wanting to go to heaven, the practical mystic wants heaven to come down to earth.
¨ Whether wildland-nurtured communion is best centered for us by a cow, goat, buffalo, mescal, or mesquite is a matter of exploration rather than argument--and unideologically inclusive, in any case.