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    detail from an illuminated manuscript showing a parade of animals

    Plough Quarterly 28: Creatures – The Nature Issue

    Summer 2021


    Featured Articles

    All Articles

    From the Editor

    The Book of the Creatures In which Plough’s editor quotes Monty Python and Maximus the Confessor,


    More Fish Than Sauce Beneath Panama City’s gleaming skyscrapers, traditional fishermen still venture out to sea for a hard-won catch.


    Into the Sussex Weald In my corner of England, the labors of people long dead live on in the landscape. The Abyss of Beauty Why do we find it hard to pay attention to nature’s beauty? Let the Body Testify When society pressures women to alter their bodies to meet others’ expectations, who pays the price? Ernest Becker and Our Fear of Death One by one, Becker shoots down various ways humans alleviate their dilemma as too paltry, too cowardly, too self-destructive. The Lords of Nature New medical ­technologies promise to let us mold our bodies at will. Should we use them? Writing in the Sand You can become complacent in faith – and also in doubt. But God is in the world, just as poetry is in a poem.

    Personal History

    Return to Idaho When I went back to Idaho, I connected with more than just the land.


    Singing God’s Glory with Keith Green Keith Green’s singing opened my eyes to the truth of God’s creation and our place in it. The Glory of the Creatures Revisit each of the seven days of creation with Augustine, Francis, Job, Pascal, Mechthild, and others. Why Children Need Nature The inventor of kindergarten says we can’t drive children like sheep, nor lead them like soldiers. Made in the Image of God What does it mean to be made in the image of God? Humans are called to something higher than being an animal.


    Poem: “The Path” It’s not a path that takes you very far. / It only brings you back to where you are. Poem: “The Berkshires” An older mountain’s easier to climb. / What once were jagged peaks are rolling hills, / more welcoming this way, if less sublime.


    Editors’ Picks: The Opening of the American Mind Brandon McGinley reviews The Opening of the American Mind: Ten Years of The Point. Editors’ Picks: Klara and the Sun Joy Clarkson reviews Kazuo Ishiguro’s Klara and the Sun.

    Family and Friends

    Vulnerable Mission in Action Learning indigenous languages and prioritizing local funding, these missionaries follow a humble path of service, and help others do the same. Community-Supported Agriculture in Austria’s Weinland At a new Bruderhof in Retz, Andrew Zimmerman finds himself broadforking beds of brassicas.

    Community Snapshot

    My Forest Education We were a group of unteachable second graders – until our teacher introduced us to the woods.


    Letters from Readers Readers respond to Plough’s Spring 2021 issue, The Violence of Love. Midwestern Logistical Small Talk If only a returned soldier’s relation to society didn’t need to be renegotiated with each conversation.


    City of Bees For an urban beekeeper in Manhattan, the hive is a city within a city.


    Regenerative Agriculture An Amish farmer’s vision of healthy soil, healthy food, and healthy profits is changing the way we farm.


    The Secret Life of Birds A globetrotting bird photographer stalks the elusive mulga parrot and other feathered marvels.


    Sister Dorothy Stang A nun arrives in the Brazilian rainforest around the same time as the agribusiness tycoons.

    Covering the Cover

    Covering the Cover: Creatures We took our cover imagery from the Aberdeen Bestiary, a twelfth-century English illuminated manuscript.

    Featured Authors

    front cover of Plough Quarterly No. 28: Creatures: detail from an illuminated manuscript showing a parade of animals

    About This Issue

    “All things bright and beautiful, all creatures great and small, all things wise and wonderful, the Lord God made them all,” says a well-known hymn. This issue of Plough celebrates the creatures of our planet – plant, animal, and human – and the implications of humankind’s relationship to nature.

    But if nature can be read as a book that reveals the wisdom of its Creator, it also reveals things less lovely than stars and singing birds – a world of desperate competition for survival, mass extinctions, and deadly viruses. Is such a world a convincing argument for the Creator’s goodness? Turns out Christians and skeptics alike have been asking such questions since long before Darwin added a twist. 

    Are we moderns out of practice at reading the book of nature? And if we forget how, will we fail to read human nature as well – what rights or purposes our Creator may have endowed us with? What then is there to limit the bounds of technological manipulation of humankind?

    This issue of Plough explores these and other fascinating questions about the natural world and our place in it.

    The PloughCast logo depicting a microphone against a wheat field

    Plough Quarterly’s Podcast

    The PloughCast

    How can we live well together? What gives life purpose? What about technology, education, faith, capitalism, work, family? Is another life possible? Plough editor Peter Mommsen and senior editor Susannah Black dig deeper into perspectives from a wide variety of writers and thinkers appearing in the pages of Plough.

    front cover of Plough Quarterly No. 28: Creatures: detail from an illuminated manuscript showing a parade of animals

    Live Forum: Plough Quarterly No. 28

    June 10, 1:00 pm – 2:00 pm EDT

    Join Grace Olmstead and Joy Marie Clarkson to discuss Grace’s article “Return to Idaho.”

    June 15, 8:00 pm – 9:00 pm EDT

    Join Ian Marcus Corbin and Brandon McGinley to discuss Ian’s article “The Abyss of Beauty.”

    June 23, 8:00 pm – 9:00 pm EDT

    Join Leah Libresco Sargeant and Marianne Wright to discuss Leah’s article “Let the Body Testify.”