‘These mountains are what my Beloved is to me’

The Revd Dr Richard Tiplady’s recently published Grove Book is well travelled, having been up to the summit of Gulvain (Gaor Bheinn) near Kinlocheil recently. But this is not the only height it has achieved; several reviewers have praised it warmly, affirming its pro-environmental ethos.

Here we are pleased to offer one such appreciation from the Rt Revd Ian Paton, Bishop of St Andrews, Dunkeld and Dunblane, and Convener of the Provincial Environment Group (PEG) . Bishop Ian writes:

It is such a pleasure to commend my friend and colleague Dr Richard Tiplady’s Grove booklet “Following Jesus in the Great Outdoors,” in which he brings together his love for the mountains and his love for God. Those who know Richard understand how clearly he has lived this himself, but in this booklet he both communicates it and begins to explore a theology of meeting God in the outdoors.

Richard is helping us to understand a spiritual tradition that we need to recover in a world facing environmental crisis. The climate emergency is a spiritual crisis for humankind, as much as it is a scientific and political crisis – we have to re-learn our relationship with our environment and all life, and with God as Creator of all things. As he writes, “Can we not, therefore, look at creation as a way of initiating us into a sense of the deep generosity of God? For the very continuity of creation is itself a sign of God’s grace and mercy and therefore a starting point for a relationship with God.”

You don’t have to be a mountaineer to appreciate from Richard’s insights in this booklet. Speaking as someone who has never been a Munro-bagger, Richard still helps me to think how my daily walks in the gentle hills near my home are moments of encounter with God and God’s Creation, as well as healthy exercise for me and my dog. Indeed, he shows how closely these are related to each other. As Richard writes in the Introduction, “The mountains, the wilderness and nature are places to encounter God and to encounter his healing.”

Copies of the book were bought eagerly by the students at the recent Residential Weekend in Kinnoull, and Richard kindly signed each one of those with a personal message. This was, however, a book signing with a difference – as the photo indicates!

Photos courtesy of Richard Tiplady and Godwin Chimara
Title from St John of the Cross, Cántico Espiritual, XIV, 5.