My rating: 4 of 5 stars
I have both delighted in and argued with this book while reading through it, and you can find some of those posts on my blog. Clearly it was an engaging work of theology.
Lane works to uncover the writing on desire and beauty in the Reformed tradition, especially as it celebrates nature and can lead to a Reformed environmental ethics for our time.
I have spent much of my adult life and intellectual development reacting against Reformed thought. Process theology is almost diametrically opposed (though interesting touchstones have recently developed). When I have read Edwards and Calvin (stars of this book), I have been drawn to some of the same things that Lane is drawn to. Edwards has much to say about beauty and pleasure once you look past his awful statements about God. I did find elements of Calvin's delight in nature in my own reading of him, but Lane will have awakened me to more.
He also has engaging sections on Puritan views of sexual desire which are akin to James McClendon's treatment of the same topic, but advancing and expanding it in ways that I think could resonate with theologians like Gerard Loughlin (whose own writing is queer positive). This has sparked my imagination to do some work on desire in the next year or so in a sermon series or something.
I still find elements of Lane's God very troubling. Reformed theology fails, for me, most clearly at the point of theodicy. I recently blogged about this here: http://escottjones.typepad.com/myques...
At the end of the book Lane envisions that all theologies and faiths must work to renew theologies of ecological vision. He is looking for partners and touchstones, and this could become a touchstone for dialogue between Process and Reformed thought.
Yet, I still think that Process thought gets you to this discussion much more quickly and easily and without the theological baggage of Reformed theology.
That said, this book will allow me to communicate some things more effectively to my congregation, many of whom are far more deeply steeped in the Reform tradition than any other congregation I have served.
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