The Elusive Utopia : Exploring the Spirit of the Pacific Northwest

Book - 2008
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This book will appeal to anyone who wants to understand the unique culture and spirituality of the fast-growing Pacific Northwest, which includes British Columbia, Washington and Oregon. Envied by people around the world, Cascadia, as it is known, is remarkable for its famed mountains, evergreens, eagles, beaches and livable cities. Most people, however, do not realize that Cascadia, named after the region's "cascading" waterfalls, is also home to the least institutionally religious people on the continent. Despite their unusual resistance to old ways of doing religion, Cascadia: The Elusive Utopia argues that most of the 14 million residents of this rugged land are eclectically, informally, often deeply "spiritual." One could not ask for more insightful Canadians and Americans to explain in lively detail how people in the Pacific Northwest get a sense of belonging out of finding fresh ways to experience the sacred. They do so particularly through the land, which in Cascadia, unlike in most parts of North America, is untamed and spectacular. Many find it overwhelming, humbling. In this original book, 15 leading writers, historians, bio-regionalists, pollsters, scholars, economists, philosophers, eco-theologians, literary analysts and poets explain how the Pacific Northwest is nurturing a unique "spirituality of place, ." which could become a model for the planet. Brought together by critically-acclaimed Vancouver Sun spirituality writer Douglas Todd, the gifted contributors to this book highlight Cascadians' unusually strong attraction to personal freedom, do-it-yourself optimism, "secular-but-spiritual" nature reverence and envisioning a healthy future that's never before been realized: an elusive utopia. Contributors include noted historian Jean Barman, Canadian poet laureate George Bowering, political philosopher Philip Resnick, religion scholar Patricia O'Connell Killen and American-Canadian eco-theologian Sallie McFague.

Book News
Historians, social scientists, writers, theologians and others explore the spiritual dimension of the west coast of North America from Oregon through Washington to British Columbia. They cover religion, spirituality, and values; history; nature; and culture. Among the topics of the 14 essays are the promise and limits of secular spirituality in Cascadia, secular utopia versus religious credos, sustainability and spirituality, magic realism, and the prospects and pitfalls of nature-based spirituality. Annotation ©2009 Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (

Publisher: Vancouver : Ronsdale Press, c2008
ISBN: 9781553800606
Branch Call Number: 204.09795 CAS
Characteristics: 326 p., [36] p. of plates :,ill. (chiefly col.), maps (chiefly col.), ports. ;,23 cm.
Additional Contributors: Todd, Douglas 1953-


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