Ecologically, holy longing can be redirected from a contemplation of God's splendor in the earth's 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 author's 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.
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Belden C. In addition to rich quotes from others, Lane offers his own memorable thoughts, his words elegant as brocade in color and texture, scholarly but never stultifying.
Rereading Calvin and Edwards, he finds neglected and surprising resources in the Reformed tradition for seeing creation as a rich and wild theater of fulfilled desires. In the process he teaches the reader to share creation's passionate and conflicted yearning for God, and to join its praise of God's loveliness. Christianity's ecological phase requires Earth-honoring retrieval and recasting of its deep traditions.
Lane brings to the task a good historian's unflinching honesty as well as the pilgrim's personal passion. The result is Reformed spirituality transformed by its own strong sense of God's presence amid streams of earthly beauty across 'landscapes of desire. A nature lover, hiker and camper as well as a first-rate scholar, he combines a passion for sensitive stewardship of creation with profound insight into the nature perspectives of Reformed spirituality and into the interconnections between Reformed spirituality and the broader stream of world spirituality as they both relate to creation.
Extensively researched and elegantly written, it asks important questions and refuses easy answers. By Belden C.
Ravished by Beauty: The Surprising Legacy of Reformed Spirituality – By Belden C. Lane
Lane Who would think to find a green theology, celebrating the earth's startling beauty, in somber, Calvinist Geneva? Who would expect lusty commentaries on the Song of Songs, delighting in sex and natural beauty, in the austere meeting houses of Puritan New England? Who would imagine a vibrant nature mysticism in the writings of Jonathan Edwards, author.
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Belden Lane weaves autobiographical essays that illuminate his own experience of nature into a "green theology" drawn from the unexpected resources of Reformed Christian spirituality. He offers a surprising new portrait of the Reformed tradition, revealing a Calvin who spoke of himself as "ravished" by the earth's beauty and a Jonathan Edwards who urged a sensuous enjoyment of God's beauty as the only real way of knowing God. Lane explores the apparent paradox of Reformed spirituality, arguing that Calvinists who may seem prudish are in fact a people of passionate desire.
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