Bill McKibben writes, of Paul Santmire’s 2017 book, Behold the Lilies, “What a lovely small book, and what a powerful antidote to Twitter, Facebook, and all the rest. To be immersed in the world around us is one of the greatest gifts!”
White man with grey sideburns, dark hair, dark coat, standing in front of a snow covered tree.

Since before the first Earth Day, I have been addressing ecological and justice issues from a Christian theological perspective. On this website I provide information about myself, my background, my writings, and themes that continue to be of interest to me. From time to time, I also post about current ecojustice and spiritual issues on my Walking Thoughts blog.

For a short introduction to my longstanding theological passions, see my book of reflections, Behold the Lilies: Jesus and the Contemplation of Nature — a Primer (2017) where I also celebrate my passion for rural Maine. Before Nature:  A Christian Spirituality (2014) was the culminating work of my scholarly and pastoral career.  Informed throughout by the classical Christian tradition, that study brought my  life’s work in ecological theology to a personal, spiritual conclusion. Before Nature has already been celebrated by a variety of theologians and practitioners. It is addressed to two audiences, to the large and growing number of spiritual seekers in our day, on the one hand, and to those theologians and practitioners who are in conversation with those seekers, on the other hand. My most recent book explores some of the contributions of Reformation traditions to current ecotheology and spirituality: Celebrating Nature by Faith: Studies in Reformation Theology in an Era of Global Emergency (2020).

A frequent speaker at church assemblies and in college, university, and seminary settings, I have been an advocate in the field of ecological theology since I published my first book, Brother Earth: Nature, God, and Ecology in a Time of Crisis (1970).

My historical study of Christian theologies of nature, The Travail of Nature: the Ambiguous Ecological Promise of Christian Theology (1985), was praised by critics and leaders in the field such as Lynn White, Jr. and John B. Cobb, Jr. I outlined my own theology of nature in Nature Reborn: the Ecological and Cosmic Promise of Christian Theology (2000).  My next book, Ritualizing Nature: Renewing Christian Liturgy in a Time of Crisis (2008), celebrated by the eminent liturgical scholar, Gordon Lathrop, and by the internationally known ethicist, Larry Rasmussen, explored the ecological meanings of Christian worship practices.

A Harvard-educated teacher and practitioner, I served as Chaplain and Lecturer in Religion and Biblical Studies at Wellesley College in Massachusetts, as the Pastor of an inner-city congregation in Hartford, Connecticut, and as the Senior Pastor of a historic metropolitan church in downtown Akron, Ohio. Ordained in the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, I now live and write in the Boston area.  I celebrate my passion for rural Maine in the aforementioned Behold the Lilies.

For a more extensive description of my work please visit this page: professional trajectory. A partial listing of my publications since 1960 is available here.

Let’s Talk! Paul’s Conversations with Ecojustice Activists

Bill McKibben: A Faith Journey

Phoebe Morad: Lutherans Restoring Creation & Pacific Lutheran Theological Seminary

Pastor Shede Habila: Lutheran Church of Christ (Nigeria) 

(click here to view more of the series)