Christians and Jews alike find special meaning in Wilderness. The Israelites were in the wilderness for forty years. Moses and the prophets were in the desert wilderness, not the town square. In the Christian era, John the Baptist began in the wilderness. Jesus spent forty days, not in the temple, but the wilderness. The first monks went to wild desert places to better practice their faith. The saints speak often of the unique lessons of wilderness. Despite this legacy, the spiritual values of wilderness are poorly articulated by modern religion. A direct consequence is that church and synagogue members understand little of the role which wilderness historically exercised in shaping their faith and how it can help us to grow spiritually today.
For almost ten years the Religious Campaign for Wilderness, a branch of the NRCCC, has conducted special programs to articulate the spiritual values of wilderness. This can bring new constituency and political advocacy to the challenge of preserving public lands as federally designated wilderness.
A sampling of previous explorations of wilderness areas and the statements that have resulted follow in the sections below.
Otero Mesa Advisory Statemement on Wilderness (New Mexico, 2004)
Bishop's Statement on Otero Mesa
Epic Poem on Wilderness (Otero Mesa)
The Spiritual Values of the Trap Hills, Michigan, Wild Area (October 2004)
Peace With God: Peace with the Land (Trinity River, Texas. March 2005)
A Christian Reflection on the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness (Minnesota 2005)
God's Gift of a Beautiful and Bountiful Land (Cherokee National Forest Wilderness Proposal)
History of the Cherokee National Forest (Eastern Tennessee)