Fortress Press

Refugia Faith: Seeking Hidden Shelters, Ordinary Wonders, and the Healing of the Earth

Refugia Faith

Seeking Hidden Shelters, Ordinary Wonders, and the Healing of the Earth

Debra Rienstra (Author)


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Refugia Faith: Seeking Hidden Shelters, Ordinary Wonders, and the Healing of the Earth explores how Christian spirituality and practice must adapt to prepare for life on a climate-altered planet.

Refugia (reh-FU-jee-ah) is a biological term describing places of shelter where life endures in times of crisis, such as a volcanic eruption, fire, or stressed climate. Ideally, these refugia endure, expand, and connect so that new life emerges.

Debra Rienstra applies this concept to human culture and faith, asking, In this era of ecological devastation, how can Christians become people of refugia? How can we find and nurture these refugia, not only in the biomes of the earth, but in our human cultural systems and in our spiritual lives? How can we apply all our love and creativity to this task as never before?

Rienstra recounts her own process of reeducation--beginning not as a scientist or an outdoors enthusiast but by examining the wisdom of theologians and philosophers, farmers and nature writers, scientists and activists, and especially people on the margins.

By weaving nature writing, personal narrative, and theological reflection, Rienstra grapples honestly with her own fears and longings and points toward a way forward--a way to transform Christian spirituality and practice, become a healer on a damaged earth, and inspire others to do the same.

Refugia Faith speaks to people securely within the faith as well as to those on the edge, providing a suitable entry for those who sense that this era of upheaval requires a transformed faith but who don't quite know where to begin.

  • Publisher Fortress Press
  • Format Hardcover
  • ISBN 9781506473796
  • eBook ISBN 9781506473802
  • Dimensions 6.25 x 9.25
  • Pages 269
  • Publication Date February 22, 2022


"Rienstra's idea of 'refugia' offers some combination of solace, realistic hope, and inspiration. One prays that, in particular, people of faith will use this as a goad and a help to take the actions we all know we must. This book is a small classic."

Bill McKibben, author of The Flag, the Cross, and the Station Wagon

"Filled with beauty, wisdom, and a vision for how things might be, this book itself serves as a refuge for the weary, discouraged, and disheartened. Imaginatively conceived and gorgeously written, it is a work of profound insight and deep goodness."

Kristin Kobes Du Mez, author of Jesus and John Wayne

"For most of us, a crisis like climate change is cause for panic and withdrawal. Rienstra beautifully, winsomely invites us to flip this script. Rather than viewing it as an insurmountable challenge, she argues that the climate crisis is an opportunity for transformation--if only we have the courage, imagination, and resiliency to seize it."

Kyle Meyaard-Schaap, vice president, Evangelical Environmental Network

"I highly recommend this book for people of faith as we live in the tension between our current climate-related suffering and the hope for what is possible for our planet."

Karyn Bigelow, co-executive director at Creation Justice Ministries

"Refugia Faith offers actionable hope for those who have become discouraged or even fatalistic about our ecological future. Get ready to rediscover your sense of wonderment!"

Randy Woodley, author/activist and co-sustainer, Eloheh Indigenous Center for Earth Justice


"Because Rienstra is not an ecologist or any other kind of nature expert, her fledgling efforts feel relatable to me. Her tender and humorous accounts make the work approachable to those of us who haven't been trained (by our education or by our communities) to pay attention to the startling "beingness" of the lifeforms just outside our back door."

Christian Century