Margaret Feinberg on Wendell Berry’s “The Gift of Good Land”

December 23, 2009


The Gift of Good Land

Today’s response to Wendell Berry’s essay “The Gift of Good Land” comes from popular writer and speaker, and a keynote at the Flourish 2009 Conference, Margaret Feinberg. “The Gift of Good Land,” was published thirty years ago, and we reprinted it in the Fall 2009 issue of Flourish Magazine to celebrate Mr. Berry’s work, but also to provoke some questions: How has the natural world, and efforts to steward it, changed in these 30 years? How has Christianity changed? What is still relevant about Mr. Berry’s words today? What have been our successes and failures as creation’s stewards in these three decades? Where do we go from here?

We’ve asked a wide variety of Christian thinkers, writers, and leaders to respond to Mr. Berry’s essay, taking into consideration these questions and their own relevant experiences. Here is Margaret Feinberg’s reflection.

The Land is a Gift
By Margaret Feinberg

The smallest shifts in perspective often lead to the most significant changes in lifestyle.

The land is a gift.

If I laid hold of this truth it would transform the way I lived. The land would become more than that which held roads and neighborhoods and property lines, territory to be crossed, or expensive real estate to be owned. The land would become something to be appreciated and respected, nurtured and honored. If the land is a gift, then I’m forced to reflect not only on what I discard but what I purchase. If the land is a gift, then I must thoughtfully care for whatever piece is entrusted to me. If the land is a gift, then the level of mindfulness with which I live must increase.

The land is a gift.

May these four words come alive in me and shift my perspective.
Margaret Feinberg ( is a popular speaker and author of The Organic God and Scouting the Divine, with corresponding 6-Week DVD studies. Become her friend on Facebook or follow her on twitter @mafeinberg!

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