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

Ravished by Beauty: The Surprising Legacy of Reformed Spirituality

byBelden C. Lane

Hardcover | May 5, 2011

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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 earth's beauty. He speaks ofPuritans 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 God's 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 God's 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 God's splendor in the earth's beauty to a craving for land itself, resultingin 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.

About The Author

Belden C. Lane is Professor of Theological Studies, American Religion, and History of Spirituality at Saint Louis University and the author of The Solace of Fierce Landscapes: Exploring Desert and Mountain Spirituality.

Details & Specs

Title:Ravished by Beauty: The Surprising Legacy of Reformed SpiritualityFormat:HardcoverDimensions:328 pages, 6.42 × 9.41 × 1.1 inPublished:May 5, 2011Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0199755086

ISBN - 13:9780199755080

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Table of Contents

Prologue: Ring Lake Ranch, Wyoming1. The Double Irony of Reformed Spirituality: Nature, Desire and the Easily-Diverted Quest for God's BeautyLandscapes of Desire: The Whole World Singing: A Journey to Iona and Taize2. John Calvin on the World as a Theater of God's GloryLandscapes of Desire: Can We Chant Psalms with All God's Creatures?3. Nature and Desire in Seventeenth-Century PuritanismLandscapes of Desire: Open the Kingdom for a Cottonwood Tree4. The Schooling of Desire: Nature's Purifying Role in AfflictionLandscapes of Desire: Biodiversity and the Holy Trinity5. Jonathan Edwards on Beauty, Desire, and the Sensory WorldLandscapes of Desire: On Pilgrimage with Jonathan Edwards6. Transformed by Beauty: Environmental Ethics and the Wildness of GodEpilogue: Dead Creek, East Saint Louis