North Dakota educator learns with Wendell Berry

What is clear to me now in a way that was not before I found Wendell Berry is that the placelessness of modern industrial thinking has failed us—culturally and ecologically. And it has failed us educationally. When I began the doctoral program, I thought data analytics and greater efficiency would save higher education. By the time I completed my dissertation, I could see that what my students need is not big data. What they need are small gestures—gestures of kindness and encouragement, gestures of interest and individual care. Placeless, generic education does not serve. Like any human endeavor, education should be something more aligned with agrarianism and less with industrialism.
 
Moreover, in a time when our political rhetoric has become both divisive and derisive, when our differences are too easily defined and dismissed as a split between urban and rural—a divide of our very places—Berry’s thinking finds the connections through our shared humanity. In his analysis and portrayal of his place, he enables us to understand our own places in a fresh way. Just as each school or each classroom is made up of uniquely individual students, Berry’s writings remind us that even the large places of the world are made up of small places that need to be loved and defended. In this, we can find what connects us.

Read all of "Finding My Place by Finding Wendell Berry" by Jane M. Schreck at On Second Thought Magazine.


Wendell Berry and Tim DeChristopher converse In Orion Magazine

In the summer of 2019, the climate activist Tim DeChristopher sat down with Wendell Berry. Berry is a poet and activist, author of over forty books, a recipient of the National Humanities Medal, a 2013 Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and a celebrated advocate for localism, ecological health, and small-scale farming. DeChristopher, as Bidder 70, disrupted a Bureau of Land Management oil and gas auction in 2008 by outbidding oil companies for parcels around Arches and Canyonlands National Parks in Utah. Imprisoned for twenty-one months for his actions, he has used his platform to spread the urgency of the climate crisis and the need for bold, confrontational action to create a just and healthy world.

TD: OK, now we’re recording.

WB: Have we got a limit on this thing?

TD: Eventually.

WB: You mean it’ll wear out eventually?

TD: It’s a big limit.

See "To Live and Love with a Dying World" in Orion Magazine.


Podcast inspired by Wendell Berry's "Health is Membership"

The first episode of "Health is Membership: 25 Years Later" consists of "a conversation with Duke University professor, agrarian, and theologian Norman Wirzba on parenting, the erosion of attention, and relationships that cultivate the potential of every person."

Professor Wirzba has published several books, including The Paradise of God: Renewing Religion in an Ecological Age, Living the Sabbath: Discovering the Rhythms of Rest and Delight, Way of Love: Recovering the Heart of ChristianityFrom Nature to Creation: A Christian Vision for Understanding and Loving Our World, Food and Faith: A Theology of Eating (in its 2nd Edition), and (with Fred Bahnson) Making Peace with the Land: God’s Call to Reconcile with Creation. He also has edited several books, including The Essential Agrarian Reader: The Future of Culture, Community, and the Land and The Art of the Commonplace: The Agrarian Essays of Wendell Berry.

Listen to "Health is Membership: 25 Years Later."