Ravished by Beauty: The Surprising Legacy of Reformed Spirituality

Ravished by Beauty: The Surprising Legacy of Reformed Spirituality by Belden C. Lane

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In this novel exploration of Reformed spirituality, Belden C. Lane uncovers a green theology that celebrates a community of jubilant creatures of all languages and species. Lane reveals an ecologically sensitive Calvin who spoke of himself as ravished by the earths beauty. He speaks of Puritans who fostered a lusty spirituality in which Christ figured as a lover who encouraged meditation on the wonders of creation. He presents a Jonathan Edwards who urged a sensuous enjoyment of Gods beauty as the only real way of knowing God. Lane argues for the double irony of Reformed spirituality, showing that Calvinists who often seem prudish and proper are in fact a people of passionate desire. Similarly, Reformed Christians who appear totally focused on divine transcendence turn out at times to be closet nature mystics, exulting in Gods glory everywhere. Lane also demonstrates, however, that a spirituality of desire can be derailed, ending in sexual excess and pantheism. Ecologically, holy longing can be redirected from a contemplation of Gods splendor in the earths beauty to a craving for land itself, resulting in disastrous misuse of its resources. Between the major chapters of the book are engaging personal essays drawn from the authors own love of nature as a Reformed Christian, and providing a thoughtful discussion of contemporary issues of species diversity and the honoring of an earth community.
Publication Date:
24 / 03 / 2011

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