Reforesting Faith: What Trees Teach Us About the Nature of God and His Love for Us (Hardcover)
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This groundbreaking walk through Scripture by former physician and carpenter Dr. Matthew Sleeth makes the convincing case that trees reveal more about God and faith than you ever imagined.
“Christians looking to reconnect to the natural world will relish Sleeth’s passionate call to Christian stewardship of the Earth.”—Publishers Weekly
Fifteen years ago, Matthew Sleeth believed that science and logic held the answers to everything. But when tragedy struck, he opened the Bible for the first time and was surprised to find that God chose to tell the gospel story through a trail of trees.
There’s a tree on the first page of Genesis, in the first psalm, on the first page of the New Testament, and on the last page of Revelation. The Bible’s wisdom is referred to as a tree of life. Every major biblical character and every major theological event has a tree marking the spot. A tree was the only thing that could kill Jesus—and the only thing Jesus ever harmed.
Reforesting Faith is the rare book that builds bridges by connecting those who love the Creator with creation and those who love creation with the Creator.
Join Dr. Sleeth as he explores the wonders of life, death, and rebirth through the trail of trees in Scripture. Once you discover the hidden language of trees, your walk through the woods—and through Scripture—will never be the same.
About the Author
MATTHEW SLEETH, MD, a former emergency room physician and chief of the hospital medical staff, resigned from his position to teach, preach, and write about the biblical call to be good stewards of the earth. A highly sought-after speaker, Dr. Sleeth has spoken at more than 1,000 churches, campuses, and events, including serving as the monthly guest preacher at The Washington National Cathedral for a year. Recognized by Newsweek as one of the nation's most influential evangelical leaders, Dr. Sleeth is a graduate of George Washington University School of Medicine and has two postdoctoral fellowships. He is the executive director of Blessed Earth and author of Serving God, Saving the Planet; 24/6; the introduction to The Green Bible, as well as numerous creation care books and articles. Dr. Sleeth lives in Lexington, KY, with Nancy, his wife of nearly 40 years.
“Sleeth is the perfect missionary to American evangelicals for the environmental cause.”—Andy Crouch, author of Culture Making: Recovering Our Creative Calling
“Matthew Sleeth carries a fresh message and unique insights arising from a life of integrity and a vantage point that offers glimpses of the world that most others miss.”—Dr. John Stumbo, president of the US Christian and Missionary Alliance
“Reforesting Faith immediately captures the soul! It awakens a hunger for the vastness of God as well as the immediate presence of God. Matthew has a great gift of taking something as common as a tree and exploding the Scripture before our eyes, resulting in an overwhelming renewed love for our Lord.”—Jo Anne Lyon, general superintendent emerita of the Wesleyan Church
“Somewhere along the line, too many people picked up the notion that loving trees was somehow pagan or Druidic. As this volume makes clear, the Bible is a veritable forest, full of towering cedars and heavy-laden fruit trees. Reading this will help make the Scriptures come more fully alive.”—Bill McKibben, author of The Comforting Whirlwind: God, Job, and the Scale of Creation
“Reforesting Faith is an extraordinary book. Never before have I gone on a ‘nature walk through the Bible,’ so I’m grateful I had Matthew Sleeth as a guide. It’s fascinating to see the Bible through this lens—and to realize the connection has been there all along. I heartily recommend this captivating and beautifully written book that enables us to see Scripture in a fresh way.”—Howard Dayton, founder of Compass—Finances God’s Way
“This is one of those rare books that makes you wonder how you could have read the Bible your entire life and missed so many insights and treasures. Matthew Sleeth invites us on an amazing journey through Scripture with an eye to the special place of trees. In the process he helps us reimagine the world in new ways and awakens parts in us that have been asleep for far too long. Drawing from nearly a thousand references to trees or their derivatives in the Bible, Sleeth reignites our sense of wonder and our love for the majesty of God. This book will help restore our weakened imaginations and remind us of our proper place in the world.”—Timothy C. Tennent, PhD, president of Asbury Theological Seminary
“All of physical creation is an object lesson of spiritual truth. In this wonderful book Matthew Sleeth illuminates the most profound, prolific, and practical object in God’s inventory—the tree. Both spiritual solace and spirited service find meaning in trees.”—Joel Salatin, farmer and author of The Marvelous Pigness of Pigs: Respecting and Caring for All God’s Creation
“When it comes to biblical knowledge and divine insights, I can read Matthew Sleeth all day. In Reforesting Faith he has given us a curiosity-driven tome telling the grand story of God through the trees of Scripture. Don’t be lost in the woods; read this book, discover the thicket, and reforest your faith.”—Kyle Idleman, senior pastor of Southeast Christian Church and author of Not a Fan: Becoming a Completely Committed Follower of Jesus and Don’t Give Up: Faith That Gives You the Confidence to Keep Believing and the Courage to Keep Going
“The intricate symbolism of trees is woven through the Bible from the beginning to the end in a way that is incredibly obvious to me now after reading Reforesting Faith. Thanks to this book, I will never look at a tree the same way again. If you care about nature at all, this is a must-read.”—Angela Correll, author of the novel Grounded
“Matthew Sleeth is gifted at pulling out truths in Scripture the rest of us read over. He did it with the Sabbath, and now he’s done it again with trees. Read this book!”—Jess Correll, chairman of First Southern National Bank and UTG Life Insurance
“In Reforesting Faith Matthew Sleeth reveals his core identity as a conservationist both in calling us to conserve trees and in inviting us to conserve an often-forgotten core metaphor of the Old and New Testaments. Through lively narrative grounded deeply in Scripture and in the concrete experiences of his personal journey, the author constructs a sort of tree-centric theology. Like a seasoned gallery docent, he invites us to notice the pervasive scriptural use of trees as sacramental signs in our world revealing God’s presence, his activity, and his eternal purposes. The book—like its subject, the tree—is a gift, pointing us to the triune God whose daily generosity sustains us and our world.”—Shirley A. Mullen, president of Houghton College
“Matthew again connects us to the essential: God, the planet, the Sabbath, a tree. God’s breath that gave life to man is being shared daily by all that breathes, including trees. This reminder brings hope and enormous joy. Reforesting Faith is a must-read.”—Lisa Renstrom, former president of the Sierra Club
“I never knew until reading Reforesting Faith how bountiful and significant trees are in God’s story of the Creation, the Fall, and redemption. Before reading this book, I loved the beautiful trees of God’s world and the power of the Bible’s rich symbols, but I never saw how many connections there were between them. This book has deepened my love for God’s Word and his world even more.”—Karen Swallow Prior, author of On Reading Well: Finding the Good Life Through Great Books and Fierce Convictions: The Extraordinary Life of Hannah More—Poet, Reformer, Abolitionist
“The intrinsic and life-sustaining value of trees has long been neglected. Sleeth proves God’s love for trees and draws the reader into the realization that we need to not only reforest faith but also literally reforest our forests. This timely book is an almanac describing the importance of sustainable farming at a time when it is sorely needed.”—The Rev. Canon Sally Bingham, founder and president emerita of Interfaith Power and Light, a religious response to climate change
“Readers of the Bible will be refreshed and quickened to see the sensible and intentional way God uses trees as blueprints for godly living and as key players in major events, including the stories of Adam and Eve, Moses, Gideon, Jonah, and Christ. Even if you are unfamiliar with the Bible, this book will be a reminder of how important trees are to every living thing on this planet.”—Grace Ju Miller, PhD, professor of plant biology and dean of the School of Natural and Applied Sciences at Taylor University
“Dr. Matthew Sleeth is a stimulating thinker who came to Christ later in life and consequently looks at Scripture with fresh eyes. He sees biblical truths most of us who grew up in the church have overlooked. This exceptional book reflects Matthew’s keen insight, his love for God’s Word, and his passion for creation care. (PS: Hey, preachers… This is great material for a unique sermon series on the trees of the Bible!)—Bob Russell, retired senior minister of Southeast Christian Church
“Matthew Sleeth takes us on a wonderful journey along a trail of trees into a deeper and richer hope for life—eternal life through faith in Jesus and thriving life for the Father’s world in which we live. This is a fun, inspirational, and provocative read.”—Mark Liederbach, PhD, professor of theology, ethics, and culture at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary
“Matthew inspires us to celebrate the powerful nature of the trees that share the earth with us. The book transports me to the forest floor. As I gaze at the shimmering leaves above, I always feel my spirit rise toward the heavens. Reforesting Faith affirms that trees play a central role in the teachings of many religions around the world. The book is a fascinating journey into our past that teaches us what we must do to ensure a future full of beauty, life, and purpose.”—Dan Chu, executive director of the Sierra Club Foundation