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.
Douglas Todd is one of the most honoured spirituality and ethics writers on the continent. He has won more than 60 journalism honours and educational fellowships. Working for the Vancouver Sun and other newspapers, he is a two-time winner of the Templeton Religion Reporter of the Year Award, which goes to the top spirituality writer in North America's secular media.
“A well-conceived and important work. The contributors, many of whom have deep personal attachments to Cascadia, offer critical, perceptive insights on the problems and possibilities of this ‘elusive utopia.’ The result is a compelling collection which is recommended reading for all those interested in the subjects of religion, place, and Pacific Northwest identity.” —British Columbia History“Cascadia: The Elusive Utopia is an excellent compendium of thought and reaction, of idealism and caution.” —Crosscut.com“Todd’s book has something for everyone, offering many different perspectives, and illuminating our place in Cascadia.” —Cascadia Weekly, Bellingham, WA“Students of British Columbia should have this book in their personal libraries.” —BC Studies“Cascadia: The Elusive Utopia challenges mind and spirit alike. It is a must read for everyone who longs for a cosmic understanding of what it means to be truly human and fully alive at this crucial, historic hour.” —Tom Harper, author of The Pagan Christ“In a compelling and original way, the talented contributors to this book probe the cultural, ecological and spiritual richness of this remarkable green corner of the continent. I wholeheartedly support the book’s authentic vision.” —Alan Durning, founder of Sightline Institute in Seattle and co-author of the Cascadia Scorecard book series“Douglas Todd has assembled some of Cascadia’s best thinkers and essayists to show how the Pacific Northwest’s stunning wilderness and intricate ecology have inspired modern environmental movements, a self-reliant secular spirituality, ethnic pluralism and rugged independence. As this volume reveals, something special is going on in Cascadia.” —Rex Weyler, author of Greenpeace: The Inside Story and The Jesus Sayings.