This is a re-post from The Ecozoic Review, April 2019, a publication of the Center for Ecozoic Studies in Chapel Hill, NC.
The essay by Herman Greene is called “The Long View: Thomas Berry’s Instruction on the Reform of Religion, Law, and Culture in His Later Books” (Evening Thoughts, The Christian Future and the Fate of Earth, The Sacred Universe) and can be read here in full.
I share the essay with you because of my experience while reading it: Herman’s synthesis activated new rooms of understanding and expanded awareness in my heart/mind/soul/psyche for what Thomas was trying to express and the way forward that he was pointing, the same way a first reading of Thomas can open you up and blow your mind. There are many quotes from Thomas but Herman’s voice adds important insights. He writes:
These later books, I had thought, were a recapitulation of those ideas, with the exception of the part on Earth jurisprudence. I hadn’t given these later books much attention.
I have a different view of them now. They do largely concern ideas covered in the earlier books, but they do so in a substantially different way. The later books are not just afterthoughts, an archive of additional materials of Berry. They were and are needed for the completion of his work. They are passionate appeals to the religious and legal communities, indeed to all of us, to take action with specific instruction on what they and we are to do. I felt like Berry said in these books, “This is what I meant. You must understand what I’m writing here and do what I say here or the Great Work will fail!”