Review: Planted: A Story of Creation, Calling and Community by Leah Kostamo

If he wantonly crushes ants for the fun of it, odds are he won’t be too concerned about the suffering and demise of larger species, including, studies have show, his own. – Leah Kostamo
Planted Leah Kostamo

I just finished the book “Planted: A Story of Creation, Calling and Community,” published by Cascade Books. What initially caught my attention about it was Eugene Peterson’s raving forward of the book. He writes,

When I sat down to read the manuscript that became this book, I intended to read for twenty minutes and then go back to working on my manuscript…Five hours later I turned the last page with a sense that I was participating in the remarkable story of people who ventured into seriously caring for creation in a highly unusual way – establishing an Environmental Center for the care of creation, God’s creation.

Peterson is right, this story, for that’s what it is far more than a theology, or a philosophical argument being put forward, is about a Canadian Christian family who felt called to quit their jobs and join the conservation work/ministry of A Rocha. A Rocha is Portuguese for “the rock,” the first environmental farm was located in Quinta da A Rocha (33).

The book covers a broad range of topics all dealing with “creation care.” From the story of the origins of their farm outside of Vancouver, B.C., to life lived in community, educating those who come to learn with them, learning how to farm and eat only what they know the names of or have at least seen the faces of, to thinking about issues related to trying to live with a small footprint, Planted: A Story of Creation, Calling and Community is not meant to be a manual for becoming a Christian environmentalist, nor is it exactly a theology of creation care. Instead, it’s narrative theology. It’s a story of lived experience. It’s pastoral theology where the congregation is plants, bugs, birds and cows and Leah is clergy. And because it’s rooted in lived experience, rather than being high-brow about its theory, it’s not preachy nor is it judgmental.

This book isn’t meant to be an academic treatise on creation care, but if you’re looking for an inspiring story to discuss with a small group about simple ways each of us are called to live out faith and the ripple effects that can have, then this book will be of interest to you. In particular the quiz to get to know your place of living better would be a lot of fun to do with a small group (72). I think you’ll find the hand-drawn images, captivating stories and Kostamo’s down-to-earth writing warm and inviting. If that all sounds up your alley, then check the book out. You won’t be disappointed.

And forget Amazon, you can find the book at [independent retailers such as Powells Bookstore in Portland Oregon](independent retailers such as Powells Bookstore in Portland Oregon) (referral link included).