Book: Shalom and the Community of Creation: An Indigenous Vision by Randy Woodley

Book: Shalom and the Community of Creation: An Indigenous Vision by Randy Woodley June 6, 2012

From the Publisher, William B Eerdman’s Publishing: In this book, Randy Woodley draws parallels between the Native American “Harmony Way” and the biblical concept of shalom, arguing that cultivating an appreciation of those parallels can help to bring reconciliation between Euro-Westerners and indigenous peoples, a new connectedness with the Creator and creation, an end to imperial warfare, the ability to live in the moment, justice, restoration, and a more biblically authentic spirituality.

From the Forward

Randy Woodley’s voice needs to be heard…Randy brings the power of his wisdom shaped by his many years of experience. A combination of an academic with impressive credentials — a former pastor, ministry leader, and social action–oriented grassroots organizer — Randy brings his life, his story, his experience, culture, education, and creativity to bear in offering shalom theology applicable to every context.

This book provides a thoroughly biblical account. Revealing a profound immersion in the Word of God and a serious reflection on Scripture, Randy generates a fully biblical theology. This theological depth is coupled with cultural sensitivity. Without question, Randy’s reflections are applicable to the broader context — in fact, I would deem his reflections to be an absolute necessity at this historic moment in American Christianity. Randy offers truth from his particular context, but with relevance and application to all.

Shalom theology and the Harmony Way suggest what the world should be, reflecting the fullness and wholeness of God’s creation. This book offers the great possibility as never before — that the North American church could reflect the reality of God’s shalom, a shalom that is fully embodied rather than merely referenced or abstracted. The book offers an important challenge to western cultural captivity, revealing its deficiency. But Randy does not simply point fingers at what’s wrong with the world. In the true spirit of the prophets, he asserts the truth and calls us to a particular faithful pursuit of that truth. He expresses the ultimate act of trust in extending to us a hospitality that invites us to journey with him toward a shalom theology.

I trust the direction that Randy Woodley leads me. As you are led on this important journey through this book, trust the gift from God that is this journey.

Soong-Chan Rah, North Park Theological Seminary


Woodley precisely describes the lethal social situation we have created for ourselves:

Coupled with the western myth of historical progress, western influences such as Augustine’s just war theory, and the Calvinistic myth of divine blessing, the Euro-western educational process sets up wealthy white Americans (and those from other races who “buy” into the system) to believe that in some very tangible ways they can and should exert their power over others.

And then, in bold, imaginative, and compelling ways, he exposits an alternative way for an abundant life. His book is a winsome presentation of Native American (Cherokee) perspective woven into the biblical narrative. The outcome is a recovery of shalom (harmony) that amounts to a perspective now urgently required among us. Woodley’s book effectively testifies that there are intellectual, moral resources available out of which to redirect our political-economic imagination.

— Walter Brueggemann, Columbia Theological Seminary


“As I read Shalom and the Community of Creation, I kept thinking that I could give away half of my library and wouldn’t lose too much because so many books simply rehash the same things. But this book offers so much that is fresh and unique – and forgotten and under-appreciated too. I wish that first every seminarian and then every thoughtful Christian on the continent could read it, because this wise and well-written book leads to a different and better future than we are driving towards now. Enthusiastically recommended.”

— Brian McLaren, Author/speaker


“Randy Woodley has given us a beautiful and timely meditation on Shalom.  He reminds us of the breadth of human responsibility as it relates to all Creation and he encourages us to inhabit the kinds of practices that fosters biblical reconciliation.  Through personal story and rigorous scholarship, Woodley paints a picture of a holistic way of living, a way that nurtures connection, hope, and harmony.  But the greatest gift to us here is the invitation to view scriptures, humanity, and all Creation through his particular Indigenous lens.  We would do well to catch this vision of creation care for the sake of the next seven generations.”

–Matthew Sleeth, MD, Executive Director, Blessed Earth


“This book is like a breath of fresh air. Randy Woodley draws deeply not only on his native American heritage, but also weaves in vital biblical resources in order to set forth a vision of Shalom, a community approach to ecological living. However, he also manages to avoid the temptation to idealize one tradition by being respectfully critical of his sources, leading to a lively and fascinating account of how his particular approach to theology can inform environmental responsibility. Readers will find themselves on a journey of discovery, carried into ways of perceiving the world that will be both challenging and inspiring. Woodley’s innovative and thoughtful approach is bound to provoke and awaken environmental consciousness that is so vitally needed in today’s world.’”

— Celia Deane-Drummond, University of Notre Dame


“My native friends constantly remind me that the biblical concept and hope of shalom resonates deeply with the sensitivities of most Native American or First Nations cultures. This key truth underlies Randy Woodley’s prophetic new book. Biblically based and culturally sensitive, Shalom and the Community of Creation presents an essential corrective for today’s church. We will be wiser and live a more faithful discipleship if we come to see how far today’s technological society has journeyed from the biblical shalom visiona vision that speaks directly to today’s ecological dysfunctions and looming disasters, yet echoes deeply with the native cultures around us.”

Howard A. Snyder, Professor Wesley Studies, Tyndale Seminary, Toronto

For more information of the book, please visit the website at:

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