In these skeptical and disillusioned times, there are still groups of people scattered throughout the world who are trying to live out utopian dreams. These communities challenge the inevitability and morality of dominant political and economic models. By putting utopian religious ethics intopractice, they attest to the real possibility of social alternatives. In Seeds of the Kingdom, Anna L. Peterson reflects on the experiences of two very different communities, one inhabited by impoverished former refugees in the mountains of El Salvador and the other by Amish farmers in theMidwestern U.S. What makes these groups stand out among advocates of environmental protection, political justice, and sustainable development is their religious orientation. They aim, without apology, to embody the reign of God on earth. The Salvadoran community is grounded in Roman Catholic socialthought, while the Amish adhere to Anabaptist tradition. Peterson offers a detailed portrait of these communities' history, social organization, religious life, environmental values, and agricultural practices. She discovers both practical and ideological commonalities in these two comparativelysuccessful and sustainable communities, including a strong collective identity, deep attachment to local landscapes, a desire to preserve non-human as well as human lives, and, perhaps unexpectedly, a utopian horizon that provides both goals and the hope of reaching them.
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Oxford University Press, Incorporated
November 16, 2005
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